Archbishop's New Year's Message

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By Frank Flegel


REGINA……Archbishop Donald Bolen invited his New Year’s Day congregation to let go of the past year, to look forward and do something new.  He quoted a poem illustrating this sentiment of not dwelling on the past, by a favourite writer of his, English writer and poet G. K. Chesterton. The Archbishop issued this invitation as part of his homily for the January 1 mass at Holy Rosary Cathedral.

He began by reminding everyone New Year’s Day is really three celebrations: It is the Octave of Christmas, the Feast of Mary the Mother of God; the World Day of Prayer for Peace; and New Year’s Day.

Bolen painted a picture of Mary “pondering in her heart” the things the shepherds saw and heard that prompted them to come to the manger; she noted the contrast of the quiet scene in the manger that gives hope and joy to us, with the insecurities and struggles of our world today and perhaps with our struggles in our own lives as we look to a new year.

The start of a New Year, Bolen said, is a time to look back, give thanks and express gratitude. Looking back, he said, there are many blessings received as a community and as individuals, but pain and insecurity come to mind as well. “We all have wounds in our lives and there are societal wounds as well. We lament how the dignity of human living and dying is eroded in our world and we see in so many ways in our society the need for healing and reconciliation.”  He quoted from Pope Francis’ message on the World Day of Prayer for Peace that focused on the millions of refugees around the world who flee from wars, genocide and ethnic cleansing and also, the millions who migrate looking for a better life. Bolen reminded the parishioners, “Pope Francis invites us to view it (migration) not as a threat, but with confidence as an opportunity to build peace. So, on this World Day of Prayer for Peace, we have before us the challenge to be artisans of peace and reconciliation.” He suggested to let go of the past year and begin anew. “The Incarnation points us to the future, to what God is doing anew in our midst,” and he referred to Revelations where God says he is making something new, “and with Jesus coming to us, God is doing something new,” said the Archbishop.

“I invite you to consider starting the New Year with some act of letting go and beginning anew.” He finished his homily by quoting from the Book of Numbers and bestowing a special blessing on the people in attendance, “May the Lord bless you and keep you, may the Lord let his face shine upon you and be gracious to you, may the Lord show you His face and give you peace. Sisters and brothers, may we know anew God’s blessing and daily extend that blessing to others.”