WCR PHOTO | GLEN ARGAN
Archbishop Richard Smith anoints the new altar with holy chrism.
Studying theology helps Christians “to appreciate ever anew the wonder of the faith,” says Archbishop Richard Smith.
It also helps them “to share their faith, their hope and their joy with others,” the archbishop said Jan. 4.
“In an age when so many of our baptized do not know the mysteries of the faith and when a great number of our contemporaries question even the relevance of faith, a well-educated laity and clergy . . . is of supreme importance for the Church.”
The archbishop made his comments during a homily at a Mass dedicating the altar and blessing the new John Henry Newman Chapel at Newman Theological College.
The blessing took place on the first day of classes in the new college. The public will be able to tour the new college and St. Joseph Seminary on the afternoons of Jan. 29 and Feb. 12.
The small chapel, which seats a congregation of about 35, was filled to overflowing for the celebration. Students and staff of the college were seated outside the chapel walls to mark the inauguration of the worship space.
The chapel is intended as a place for reflection and Eucharistic Adoration with Mass being celebrated approximately once a week. Two other chapels are located in the new seminary, a brief walk away.
Following his homily, the Profession of Faith and the Litany of the Saints, the archbishop and Father Paul Kavanagh deposited relics of Sts. Maria Goretti and Francis Xavier in the altar.
WCR PHOTO | GLEN ARGAN
Assisted by Fr. Paul Kavanagh, the archbishop lights incense on the altar.
Then, the archbishop anointed the altar with sacred chrism, pouring the oil on the altar’s four corners and in the centre, then spreading it until it ran down the altar’s sides. Finally, the altar was incensed and candles lit before the Mass continued.
Smith said the chapel’s stone altar witnesses to the permanence of faith. “Its immobility speaks of the unshakeable foundation of our lives, which is Christ the Lord.”
Blessed Cardinal Newman, he said, “dedicated himself permanently to knowing and appropriating the full truth of Christ.”
Newman pursued the truth “painstakingly” and that pursuit caused “many painful separations and confrontations in his life,” he said. “Through it all, his one sure foundation and support was Christ.”
Like its patron, Newman College must be “an institution dedicated to the service of the truth,” Smith said.
“Cardinal Newman has taught us by example that discipleship is inseparable from a self-consecration to plumbing the depths of this truth and being obedient to its claims.”