Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 2, 2004
On Pope Benedict XVI
The Shepherd Speaks
By ARCHBISHOP THOMAS COLLINS
April 19, 2005
Dear People of the Archdiocese of Edmonton,
Jesus said: "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven" (Matthew 16:18-19).
We have mourned our beloved Holy Father, John Paul the Great, and now the Lord has entrusted the keys of the kingdom to Pope Benedict XVI.
As we rejoiced for the last three decades in the gift of the pope we have lost, and his extraordinary teachings and personal sanctity, so now we rejoice in the gift of the pope we have gained. Pope Benedict is a humble and loving servant of God, richly blessed with intelligence, learning, and spiritual wisdom, which he has throughout his life offered with total devotion in the service of the People of God.
Most of all, we rejoice in the wondrous gift of the ministry of Peter in our midst. As each successor of Peter steps into the shoes of the fisherman, the Lord renews his promise of trustworthy guidance in a world so often confused.
We know that we can rely on the rock of Peter. In the pope, Jesus gives us a visible sign of the unity of the Church, and an assurance of life-giving spiritual nourishment.
"Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you love me more than these? He said to him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my lambs." A second time he said to him, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Tend my sheep." He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?
Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, "Do you love me?" And he said to him, "Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep" (John 21:15-17).
The mission of Peter and his successors is rooted in love for Jesus, and bears fruit in the spiritual labour signified by the pope's most important title: servant of the servants of God.
At each Mass throughout the world Catholics pray for Pope Benedict. He needs our prayers, for his responsibility is great as he fulfils the mission entrusted to him, but the Lord always sustains those who seek to serve him faithfully.
We do not fear the storm, for Christ is in the boat. In his first words as pope, the Holy Father asked for our prayers. Each day we offer him our love, our loyalty, and our prayerful support.
Archbishop of Edmonton
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