April 4, 2016
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

At Easter, we celebrate the reason for hope real hope. Hope is something we need at all times, of course, and I find that these days we need it with particular urgency.

I meet many people, including students in our schools, who talk quite openly about the stress they feel, even bordering sometimes on depression, which comes from the normal pressures of school, perhaps from difficulties at home, or for many other reasons.

There's a need for hope in our whole society today. We know that this province of Alberta is experiencing an economic downturn, and that is causing much financial hardship for families.

Internationally, too, we see many refugees struggling for a new future, many of whom have recently come to our country, looking for hope.

What the Church proclaims in the Easter season is that there is a reason to have real hope. That reason is the response of God the Father to the self-offering of his Son, Jesus.

As we know, Jesus is the Son of God who came to us, who took on our humanity with all of its challenges, all of its burdens, all of its fears and anxieties, and through the cross, offered it to his heavenly Father on behalf of all of us.

His resurrection from the dead is the response of God the Father to this offering of his Son, Jesus.

What this means for us is that when we offer our lives - through, with and in Jesus to the Father, he hears our prayers. He is not indifferent to our needs, and he responds. He responds with the gift of the fullness of life.

The love of the Father, his willingness to hear our prayers, and his promise to respond with the gift of life: that's the reason for real hope, and that's the reason we rejoice in this Easter season.

Happy Easter!

Yours sincerely in Christ,
Richard W. Smith
Archbishop of Edmonton