Archbishop Smith preaches at parish visit on the witness of St. Dominic Savio as an answer to cultural division

21 March 2024

Appears in: Archdiocesan News

In his short life, the teenage St. Dominic Savio has provided a profound, lifetime witness to the reconciling power of the Cross of Christ.

“Saint Dominic understood instinctively, and reminds us, that the only sure way to have people put down the stones is to lift up the crucifix,” Archbishop Richard Smith shared in his Sunday homily as part of his March 16-17 pastoral visit to St. Dominic Savio Catholic Church in Edmonton.

Archbishop Smith preaches at St. Dominic Savio parish, March 2024.

Archbishop Smith encouraged the community of St. Dominic Savio – and the entire Archdiocesan community – to lift high the self-sacrificial love of Jesus Christ on the Cross as an antidote to division and cultural “stone-throwing,”

“Two friends of Dominic were quarreling, and decided they would meet on a certain day and fight by throwing stones at one another,” Archbishop Smith shared during his homily.

 “Dominic had tried to reason with them so that they would not do this, but to no avail. So, on the appointed day he stood between his two friends and held up his crucifix. He then asked that the first rocks be thrown at him, which shamed the two other boys into releasing their stones and ending the fight. He then encouraged them to go to Confession,” Archbishop Smith continued.

Archbishop Smith celebrates Mass alongside Fr. Paul Kavanaugh and Rev. George Atok SDB, pastor for St. Dominic Savio Catholic Church.

“Empowered by the love of Christ, may we be ready at all times to lift up the crucifix, as  [St. Dominic] did and lead people to our Lord, so that, in him, the many forms of stone-throwing can end.”

During his visit to St. Dominic parish, Archbishop Smith celebrated the Holy Mass on both Saturday and Sunday, met with various parish groups, parish council and parish volunteers, and joined parishioners for both a St. Patrick’s Day potluck meal and a Sunday morning pancake breakfast. 

Founded as a formal parish community in 1970, St. Dominic Savio Catholic Church is a Salesian parish, which means the parish is primarily served by priests who are members of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB). St. Dominic Savio – the parish namesake – was an Italian student of St. John Bosco, the founder of the Salesian order. 

Read Archbishop Smith’s full homily from the Fifth Sunday in Lent

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Jenny Connelly – Archdiocese of Edmonton