Archbishop Richard Smith delivers his homily at the Oct. 11 Mass launching the Edmonton Archdiocese`s centennial year as well as the Year of Faith.

WCR PHOTO | RAMON GONZALEZ

Archbishop Richard Smith delivers his homily at the Oct. 11 Mass launching the Edmonton Archdiocese`s centennial year as well as the Year of Faith.

October 22, 2012
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

The act of faith is a surrender of the self to God and an acceptance of all that he has revealed and taught – a movement born of awareness of God's love and trust in his providence.

Archbishop Richard Smith made this statement at a Mass marking the opening of the Year of Faith and the 100th Jubilee of the Edmonton Archdiocese Oct. 11.

Hundreds of people filled St. Joseph's Basilica for the event, including many of the priests and deacons of the archdiocese.

"Tonight the Archdiocese of Edmonton formally inaugurates the Year of Faith in this local Church," the archbishop announced in his homily.

"This period of reflection upon the wonder of faith is God's special gift to us by means of an initiative of the Holy Father."

A display to be erected in Edmonton City Hall highlights aspects of the Archdiocese`s history.

WCR PHOTO | RAMON GONZALEZ

A display to be erected in Edmonton City Hall highlights aspects of the archdiocese`s history.

Smith also noted that Oct. 11, 2012 was the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, which Blessed John Paul II described as "the great grace bestowed upon the Church in the 20th century."

Pope Benedict, the archbishop said, has invited all the faithful to mark the 50th anniversary of Vatican II by pondering anew the beauty and mystery of faith, "whose meaning and breadth finds magnificent articulation in the council documents."

In his homily, Smith also described faith as a collective act, which unites us as a people in both worship and service.

"For more than 100 years the people of this archdiocese have lived from the act of faith," he said.

"Having begun as the Diocese of Saint Albert, we are now celebrating our centenary as the Archdiocese of Edmonton. Together with our inauguration of the Year of Faith, we also launch tonight our Year of Jubilee."

The simultaneous occurrence of these two events is providential, Smith said.

"In the midst of the many activities directed in the Year of Faith toward knowledge of the (Second Vatican) Council documents and the catechism, the Holy Father asks us also to remember that the wellspring of the entire life of faith is a personal encounter with the living Christ.

"Such an encounter must be continually renewed and deepened. Therefore, he invites us to open our hearts to a new conversion to Christ."

This conversion will be the heart of the Year of Faith, he said. "Let it also be the essence of our own jubilee year. In the months ahead we shall celebrate the remarkable legacy bequeathed to us by our forebears."

It was a response in faith to the love of Christ that gave rise to the many apostolic works of the past that have fashioned this archdiocese, Smith said at the Mass.

"It is our faith response to the Lord that will strengthen us now and impel us into the future with new apostolic activity."