Archbishop calls for the Gospel to permeate every corner of our lives during parish visit

18 April 2024

Appears in: Archdiocesan News

“Religion is not just a certain number of hours in the week, limited to the classroom. In this broader sense, it is everything.”

A call to permeate every corner of life with the Gospel was at the heart of Archbishop Richard Smith’s Sunday homily during his parish visit to St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church and the surrounding community, April 12-14. 

Archbishop Smith with Fr. Dean Dowle, pastor for St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church.

“From the Eucharist, we are sent into the world to permeate it with the truth of the resurrection,” Archbishop Smith said. 

“‘Go forth! The Mass has ended.’ The Lord whom we meet in the Eucharist, sends us from the Mass on mission, as he sent the apostles from the Upper Room.”

During the weekend, Archbishop Smith visited St. Rose of Lima Junior High School and St. Paul Elementary School, alongside Father Dean Dowle, pastor for St. John the Evangelist parish. 

Archbishop Smith shares a time of games with students at St. Paul Elementary School.

Archbishop Smith spoke with students at both schools, visiting with them during class time. He recounted what brought a smile to his face during his time at both schools. 

“Whenever I go into a classroom, I’ll always ask: ‘What are you studying right now?’ Usually, the answer will vary: math, English, science, and so on. In these schools, however, I noticed that the answer was always the same: ‘Religion!,” Archbishop Smith said in his homily.

“It did not matter at what time of day I walked into the classroom, which school it was, or the grade level; the answer was always the same: ‘Religion!’  Afterwards I thought, ‘Either this is the only thing these children are learning, or I had just witnessed a rather well-orchestrated conspiracy on the part of the schools!” 

At St. Paul Elementary School, the students asked questions about the Archbishop’s vocation story. They also discussed the meaning behind different elements of the Easter liturgies including components of the Easter candle and what it means when God is referred to as the  “Alpha and the Omega.” 

Archbishop Smith with members of the St. Rose of Lima Junior High school social justice group.

It was mentioned that His Grace knows sign language, so the Archbishop taught the students some phrases. The visit concluded in the gym with Grade 3 students and Archbishop Smith playing a “Loaves and Fishes”-themed game, which is part of the student’s preparation for First Communion. 

At St. Rose of Lima Junior High School, the Archbishop met with the student social justice group to discuss some of their projects. Archbishop Smith encouraged the group to continue on their path of becoming confident Catholic leaders who adhere to authentic Catholic teaching. 

The Grade 9 students also shared conversations with the Archbishop about his various international travels, his academic experiences in Rome, and the universality of the Church. 

During his Sunday homily, Archbishop Smith encouraged the Catholic schools to continue permeating every avenue of education with the light of Christ. 

“The life of the Catholic school is supposed to unfold according to the principle of permeation. We expect that all aspects of the school, both curricular and extra-curricular, will be fully permeated by the faith of the Church. Everything is to be received, understood, and lived in the light of what we believe.”

The Archbishop spends time with a patient at Misericordia Hospital.

Over the weekend, Covenant Health staff hosted Archbishop Smith and Father Dowle at the Misericordia Hospital. A new emergency room opened at the hospital in November 2023. The Archbishop also met with staff and patients, speaking with them and giving them blessings. 

During his time at St. John the Evangelist parish, Archbishop Smith met with various ministries, parish council, and finance council. He shared meals with parishioners and celebrated the Sacrament of Confirmation for 55 youth during Sunday Mass. 

With the newly confirmed youth of St. John the Evangelist parish.

Archbishop Smith encouraged the confirmands  – and the entirety of the parish community – to be bold witnesses to the truth and beauty of the Gospel. 

“The need for our witness will grow increasingly urgent,”  Archbishop during his homily. “In the midst of many disturbing societal and global trends, the world needs convinced and joyful witnesses to Jesus Christ

With Father Dean Dowle and altar servers for Sunday Mass with the Archbishop.

“As we thank Almighty God for the gifts He pours out upon us, let us ask for the grace always to be renewed in our faith . . . so that  . . . we will go forth boldly and joyfully to permeate our world with the truth and beauty of the Gospel.”

Read Archbishop Smith’s full homily from the Third Sunday of Easter

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Jenny Connelly, Bea Tobias-Punzalan – Archdiocese of Edmonton