Archbishop Richard Smith

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Archbishop Richard Smith

July 11, 2011
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

LAC STE. ANNE — The family today should be the subject and the first object of the new evangelization, said Archbishop Richard Smith.

"This is a historical moment and we are all as members of the Church becoming increasingly aware of the urgent need for the new evangelization," Smith said during a homily at the family life conference July 2.

The archbishop said it's time to turn things around in a society where "an awful lot" is going in the wrong direction.

"You know as well as I do the great challenges that family life faces in our society today as we live in a society which is increasingly allergic to the Gospel, which has eclipsed the question of God and that has arbitrarily chosen to redefine marriage," he pointed out.

"We are in a society where family is under increasing pressure and going off in all directions."

The family is also called to be the subject of the new evangelization.

"Through the family we need an evangelization of our society which is new in method, character and expression," Smith said.

He called on the families at the conference to play a role in announcing the Gospel as the only source of hope for the world.

The feasts that the Church celebrated July 1 and July 2 - the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary respectively - teach how the family is to be the subject of the new evangelization, he said.

"Today we honour Mary, celebrating and thanking God for her Immaculate Heart. The Sacred Heart of Jesus, her son, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, taken together, teach us in wonderful fashion how the family is to be the subject, the agent, of the new evangelization," Smith said.

The Sacred Heart, he said, is the place we encounter God's unconditional love made visible and active in Jesus.

"In the Immaculate Heart of Mary we see the perfect response of love to love."

Mary's Immaculate Heart also reveals a heart that is lived in communion with the heart of Jesus, the archbishop said.

What does it mean for the family? "It means first of all that the heart of the family must be the heart of Christ. It means that in the family we seek each and every one of us to know and to be transformed by this love," he said.

Smith urged the families to ask Mary for her prayers. Mary's intercession "is a great, great power."

"The more we entrust ourselves to her intercession, the more we will be transformed by the grace of her son into the subjects of the new evangelization."