Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 7, 2007
Smith sees hope for future of Church
- WCR photo by Ramon Gonzalez
Archbishop Smith addresses reporters May 1.
By GLEN ARGAN
Archbishop Richard Smith sees great hope for the future of the Church and religious vocations.
The number of seminarians is growing and the World Youth Days of the last 20 years have transformed the lives of millions of young people, Smith said at a May 1 press conference.
Asked about the declining number of priests and churchgoers, Smith responded those issues "would be a concern for any bishop."
"In terms of the issue of vocations, in my experience, there are some very encouraging signs for the future," he continued.
In his five years as bishop of the small Pembroke Diocese, "I've seen, proportionally speaking, a huge outpouring of interest in priesthood and religious life."
In Edmonton, he had already visited St. Joseph Seminary and some of the 18 seminarians for the archdiocese.
"That is an extremely encouraging number," Smith said. "The seminarians I had the opportunity to meet are young men of great quality, great enthusiasm for the Church and the priesthood."
The archbishop also spoke highly of the effect of World Youth Days.
"In the discussions I have had with young people who have been to World Youth Days, they have found their lives transformed and they do want to serve.
"They want to know the Lord, they want to grow in their love for him and the Church, and to serve the Church. . . .
"Do we have challenges? Yes. But there are some wonderful encouraging signs that are giving me hope to face the future."