Youth group investigates questions of sin and faith with Archbishop during Beaumont parish visit

16 May 2024

Appears in: Archdiocesan News

It’s rare that you have an opportunity to ask a bishop questions directly, so the youth group at St. Vital Catholic Church took every opportunity during Archbishop Richard Smith’s May 10-12 visit to the Beaumont parish. 

The Rock sees 15 to 20 youth attending each week at St. Vital parish, and the name of their group reflects their mission. 

“We draw our [Catholic] faith from the Scriptures, from the apostles, and Peter, the head of the Apostles, was known as ‘Petros,’ ‘the rock,” said Tim Morris, who leads The Rock youth group with his wife, Renee. They are also supported by Louis Kloster and several other young adult leaders

 “We want to strongly emphasize both faith formation and community formation in our youth, and in doing that we want to build “the rock” of our parish and that of the wider Archdiocese,” Tim said.

Archbishop Smith discusses questions of the Catholic faith with the youth group.

As Archbishop Smith met with the youth group, they asked him:  “What if I keep confessing the same sin, over and over again?” 

 “He said that if somebody is really struggling with habitual sin there may be a chance that they’re not taking their faith seriously enough,” Tim Morris recalled.

“If they keep finding themselves in the same situations, with the same struggles, they should meditate and focus on what’s leading them to that recurring sin, and ask themselves if they take their faith seriously?” 

In speaking to the youth group, Archbishop Smith noted there can be many reasons why someone may be caught in sin – addiction, for example.

Still, Morris said the Archbishop “wanted to convey a message of gravity and help the youth address sin in their life early on, so that they don’t get caught in habits that are hard to break.” 

Archbishop Smith and parish pastor Fr. Les Drewicki with “The Rock” youth group.

Along with the question of sin, Archbishop Smith spent time in lively discussion with the group on a variety of questions, including the question of “how does someone become a bishop?”

Along with visiting the The Rock youth group, Archbishop Smith shared meals with parishioners, visited with residents of the Chateau Vitaline senior care home, and celebrated the sacrament of Confirmation or offered a blessing for 25 young parishioners. 

Archbishop Smith celebrated Confirmation or offered a blessing to 25 youth at St. Vital parish.
Archbishop Smith with the youth, who he confirmed, at St. Vital parish.

Archbishop Smith’s visit to St. Vital parish coincided with the Feast of the Ascension. During his Sunday homily, he spoke of the Ascension as a “landmark” moment of the Catholic faith. 

“On this Solemnity of the Ascension, the Church proclaims Jesus Christ as the world’s landmark, indeed, the one necessary signpost for all of humanity,” shared Archbishop Smith. 

“(Jesus) is the reliable reference point that properly situates us on our earthly pilgrimage, enabling us to find our bearings. Moreover, he not only points the way toward our ultimate destination – eternal life – but also is himself that way.”

The Archbishop also spoke of the significant historical legacy of St. Vital Church building, established in 1895.  

“Since it was dedicated, this building has been a landmark in Beaumont. I have always enjoyed traveling south on 50th Street out of the city and having my first glance of it.  .  . As this beautiful edifice stands out against the horizon, people can take their bearings and determine their direction.”

St. Vital Catholic Church, Beaumont.

St. Vital parish  was established with the support of Monsignor Vital Grandin, Bishop of St. Albert and Fr. Albert Lacome, OMI. In 1918, the parish building was destroyed by a fire and determined parishioners rebuilt the structure with the equipment of the day. The St. Vital website notes that in 1915 “as no machinery was available, the church’s basement was hollowed out by horses pulling scrapers.” 

In 1921, the St. Vital parishioners added a 2,000-pound bell to the bell tower on the church building. It was blessed and named “Marie Vitaline” in recognition of the church’s patron saint, St. Vitalis, a first-century martyr. 

Archbishop Smith called on parishioners – and the faithful at large – to strive for the same self-sacrificial love that marked the life of St. Vital. 

“[We often] testify to Christ through silent witness by the way we live, doing that which is commanded by Christ, and refusing to do that which is contrary to the Gospel,” said Archbishop Smith. 

“I think, here, of your patron saint, St. Vital, the first-century martyr. He laid down his life rather than worship false gods. Well, there are many erroneous and illusory deities in our day. We point to Christ whenever, out of fidelity to our Lord, we refuse to bow down to them. In our country, this will not likely involve martyrdom, but it does call for self-sacrifice.”

To become involved with “The Rock” youth group in Beaumont, contact Tim and Renee Morris

Read Archbishop Smith’s full homily from The Solemnity of the Ascension

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Jenny Connelly – Archdiocese of Edmonton