(September 2019) – Archbishop of Edmonton, Richard W. Smith sent this holiday message to the Jewish Community of Edmonton.
Dear Friends in the Jewish Communities of Edmonton:
The arrival of Rosh Hashanah in your calendar gives me occasion to send my personal best wishes, and those of our entire Catholic community, to the Jewish Federation of Edmonton, to your rabbis and synagogue congregations, and to all members of the Jewish communities residing here in the Edmonton area.
Shana Tova! – Happy New Year!
The themes of your High Holy Days serve as reminders to Christians as well as to Jews, that human beings are frail creatures in daily need of repentance, divine mercy and the life-giving sustenance of divine love. It is a blessing to reflect with you upon these realities at this time of year and to reset our lives accordingly. This, for me at least, is the real value of marking spiritual moments, like the High Holy Days, in the overall course of our lives.
At a recent meeting with Jewish leaders at the Vatican, Pope Francis spoke about human frailties and the challenge that each one of us has to promote the well-being of everyone. He said:
“In a world where the distance between the many who have little and the few who have much grows every day, we are called to take care of the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters: the poor, the weak, the sick, children and the elderly.”
How, I wonder, shall we meet this challenge in our local circumstances?
Already, Catholics and Jews in Edmonton enjoy many positive and life-giving initiatives through our schools and educational forums, through social and civic engagements and through mutual associations with various interfaith organizations in our city. I think we can be very proud of the positive interactions that we have achieved between our two communities, along with many others, in the name of interreligious understanding and cooperation here in Edmonton.
Still, I wonder sometimes what more we might do together to address the needs of these “most vulnerable” sectors in our society.
Perhaps we could work more closely together to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked or to shelter the homeless in our city. Perhaps we could organize together a series of educational sessions on elders as pillars of family life. Perhaps we could work together on an ecological rehabilitation project. I can only think that such a witness would give glory to the Lord and contribute to the well-being of everyone living here in the Edmonton area.
May the Eternal One bless and enlighten your communities and our cooperation, so that together we can accept and carry out ever better his plans in our world; and may this message from our community to yours add to the joy of your celebrations at this sacred time of the year.
With warmest regards,
Richard W. Smith Archbishop of Edmonton