On January 5th, in conjunction with the Centennial Celebrations of the Archdiocese of Regina, fifteen of the faithful of the Archdiocese were presented with awards granted by Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI in recognition of outstanding service to our Diocesan Church. These members of our diocesan church have exhibited model examples of Stewardship, sharing their gifts, talents and time in service to Christ and His Church.
We are especially grateful to the Holy Father for his kindness and generosity to our diocese in granting these awards of the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (For the Church and the Pope) and the Medal Benemerenti (To a well deserving persion.)
The ceremony was carried out during the Liturgy of Evening Prayer. I will share with you my homily that evening and some pictures of those who received these honours that evening:
In this season of Christmas, we have welcomed the Angel’s message to the shepherds: Do not be afraid; for see – I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Christ, the Lord. Jesus has saved us from the darkness of the great destruction of sin and death. St Paul reminds us that Jesus saved us, not because of good deeds we may have done, but because of God’s mercy that is given to us out of God’s goodness and loving kindness. Paul teaches us that this salvation has come to us through the “water of rebirth,” in other words our Baptism, and through renewal by the Holy Spirit, in other words in our Confirmation.
There is no human deed that we can do which would enable us to say to God, “I have done this, now you must give me salvation.” No human deed has that worth or value. No human deed has the power to give us eternal life. Therefore God in his goodness and loving kindness towards us gives us the gift of Salvation because God is merciful and God loves us.
Robert Waldegger, MB
If our good deeds do not bring about our salvation, then why does Paul say we must insist on this teaching so that those who believe in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works, which Paul says are excellent things and are profitable to everyone?
Gordon Stopanski, MB
We who are disciples of Jesus because of our baptism and confirmation, do good deeds to show our gratitude to God for his love, his forgiveness, his mercy and his presence in each of our lives. Do you remember the sinful woman in Luke’s Gospel who washed Jesus feet with her tears? Jesus said of her: “I tell you, her sins which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love.”
And that is why we strive to do good deeds: it is the way we show our love for God who has saved us. In this Christmas season we recall once again how Jesus by his birth in Bethlehem became Emmanuel, a name that means “God with Us.” God’s presence in each of our lives is God’s gift of love to us. That gift strengthens us in times of difficulty, it gives us hope and consolation, it shines light into those dark times in life and it gives us hope for our future. And so we do good deeds to show our gratitude and to show our love for God because we recognize all that God has done for us in our Saviour Jesus Christ.
We are grateful to our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI for accepting our recommendations for these honours and bestowing them on those who will now receive them this evening.