WCR PHOTO | RAMON GONZALEZ
Archbishop Richard Smith blesses the oils at the Chrism Mass April 18 at St. Joseph's Basilica.
EDMONTON — As members of the Church, we are a people anointed and sent, the archbishop of Edmonton said April 18.
“As Jesus was anointed and sent to the poor, the prisoner, the blind and the oppressed, so too are we,” Archbishop Richard Smith said at the annual Chrism Mass at St. Joseph’s Basilica.
Smith said he is well aware of the real poverty that afflicts people in Edmonton and across Canada: Those who cannot find affordable housing or the working poor who find it almost impossible to make ends meet.
He is also aware of the poverty of loneliness and isolation, especially among immigrants and of the debilitating poverty that is engendered by the lack of meaning and direction in the lives of many.
“To this, we are sent to announce the good news of the wealth of God’s mercy and love revealed in Christ,” he said.
Disciples of Jesus are also sent to announce freedom and release to the many who inhabit the prisons and detention centres in the archdiocese and those locked behind walls of fear and anxiety in the face of life’s many challenges, Smith told the congregation.
We are called, he said, to restore the sight of the many who suffer from blindness to moral truth and are unable to discern right from wrong, which causes them to present one as the other.
“Nor can we fail to notice that the mystery of transcendence is eclipsed from the view of many who insist that only what is empirically verifiable qualifies as real,” Smith said.
“To this darkness we are sent with the announcement that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the light that enables humanity truly to see the beauty of God, the mystery of creation and the divine saving plan for humanity.”
In his homily, Smith reminded lay people that their mission is nothing less than the transformation of the world.
“To all dimensions of life, our lay people are sent with the good news of the Gospel, convinced that it has the power to transform humanity from within and make it new,” he said.
Smith thanked those present for striving to be living witnesses to the truth and beauty of the Gospel.
He also offered encouragement to priests from across the archdiocese who gathered for the Chrism Mass, an occasion where the Church thanks the Lord for the gift of the priesthood and priests renew their priestly commitment.
“Fathers, allow me to take this opportunity to offer words of thanks to you in the presence of the people you serve.
“You are surrounded tonight by parishioners who deeply appreciate the gift you make of yourselves in order to lead them to Christ and to help them follow him faithfully.”
During the Mass, which marks the start of Holy Week liturgies, Smith blessed the sacred oils that will be used in sacraments celebrated across the Edmonton Archdiocese.
After the Mass, he warmly greeted representatives from each parish in the archdiocese and passed on to them small vials of the Oil of Catechumens, Oil of the Sick and Oil of Chrism.