Archbishop Richard Smith leads Evening Prayer during the Feb. 16 session of Nothing More Beautiful at St. Joseph's Basilica.


Archbishop Richard Smith leads Evening Prayer during the Feb. 16 session of Nothing More Beautiful at St. Joseph's Basilica.

February 27, 2012

EDMONTON – A life enriched by the sacraments "has the possibility of being radiant," the bishop of Saskatoon told the Feb. 16 session of Nothing More Beautiful.

Life itself has a sacramental nature, said Bishop Donald Bolen. God's "holy and redemptive presence" lives within us even before we receive the Church's sacraments.

But when life is enriched by the sacraments of the Church, "it is life in abundance, . . . life in Christ," Bolen said at the session at St. Joseph's Basilica.

"The sacraments are not an external imposition on human life; they speak its deepest truths," he said.

Bolen was the catechist at the session on the Wonder of the Sacraments, while Teresa Kelendonk, associate director of pastoral care for the Edmonton Archdiocese, gave the witness presentation.

Nothing More Beautiful is an archdiocesan program for the new evangelization. Now in the fourth of its five years, its sessions are broadcast across Canada on Salt + Light TV. This year's five sessions focus on the Beauty of Discipleship. Each evening is centred around the celebration of Evening Prayer.

In his presentation, Bolen said the sacraments of the Church are related to the key events of Jesus' life "as leaves to a branch." They are an extension of Christ's ministry on earth.

In Jesus, God came to be with humanity at a specific time and place, he said. In the sacraments, "God continues to come to us in the particulars of our time and place.

"In the sacraments, God finds us where and as we are, and draws us into something larger through grace."

They communicate the mystery of the Incarnation, life, death and resurrection of Jesus, "and they make present the grace which flows from it," he said.

Kelendonk spoke of her experiences as a prison chaplain at the maximum security Edmonton Institution.

She described washing the hands of the inmates in a Holy Thursday ritual after reading the Gospel account of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. She poured water over the hands of each man present and then each dried his hands with a towel. One of the inmates then washed Kelendonk's hands.

After the ritual, all sat silently and tears ran down the cheeks of some of the men.

Then, one inmate said, "Teresa, that was real. I mean, I've never felt like that before. That was like, well, like we're human."

It was one example, she said, of how God is present in prison.

(Kelendonk's talk is presented on Pages 10 to 13 of this week's WCR. Bishop Bolen's presentation will be included in next week's edition of the newspaper.)