Archbishop Richard Smith of the Archdiocese of Edmonton was unable to attend our Fall Celebration that was held on September 22, so he pre-recorded a message of affirmation for our staff and supporters who attended the event.
During his message, Archbishop Smith touched on this year being the Year of Mercy, and tied it into the mission of Catholic Social Services to serve society's most vulnerable.
To begin the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis opened a holy door at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome -- a gesture that was followed at cathedrals worldwide – including St. Joseph’s Basilica in Edmonton.
Opening doors, the Archbishop said, is what Catholic Social Services does as well.
"The doors that we open at Catholic Social Services are precisely doors of mercy that enable an all-important transition for the people we serve. A transition from what can be very tough places into a space of welcome, of love, and of assistance," Archbishop Smith said.
He also noted that the people we serve open doors for us: "They're opening the doors of their lives to allow into their hearts... the message of love, the message of hope, the message of new beginnings."
With a nod to a new Agency logo that he had not yet seen – that of a well whose shelter is held aloft by a cross – Archbishop Smith also called Catholic Social Services an oasis of mercy.
"The people that we serve very often are living in lands, in spaces, that they would experience as rather dry, arid, desecrated; the arid land... of indifference,” he said. “But when they come to Catholic Social Services, we want them to experience the people and our services as a true oasis -- a place of refreshment, a place of nourishment, a place of receiving new strength, new vigour in order to continue the journey of their lives."