REGINA — In a chaotic world filled with violence, suffering and death, as people of faith we dare to believe that life is fundamentally good — a blessing — and there is reason to live in hope, “and in this holy season,” Archbishop Donald Bolen continued in his New Year’s homily, “that hope is centred on the birth of a child who came to us in poverty and humility with a message of love and forgiveness.
“We live in a time of political instability and confusion,” said Bolen. “To flourish on this earth, we need to reach a maturity — reflected in economic and political priorities and decision-making — that would correspond to our technology and the ways in which our world is changing, becoming more interconnected.”
He quoted Pope Francis’ message: “All of us want peace. Many people build it day by day through small gestures and acts; many of them are suffering, yet patiently persevere in their efforts to be peacemakers. In 2017, may we dedicate ourselves prayerfully and actively to banishing violence from our hearts, words and deeds, and to becoming non-violent people and to building non-violent communities that care for our common home. ‘Nothing is impossible if we turn to God in prayer. Everyone can be an artisan of peace.’ ”
New Year’s Day is also a time to look at the past year in order to prepare for the new, and Bolen asked everyone to take some quiet time in their day to reflect on the many blessings of the past year for us and our communities, noting particularly the violence existing in other parts of the world.
The traditional Archbishop’s New Year's Levee followed in the Holy Rosary Cathedral auditorium. The mass and levee attracted lay people, consecrated men and women from all over the archdiocese who came to meet and greet the archbishop and welcome his return to his home diocese where he grew up and began his journey in the priesthood.
The levee has its roots in the 1600s when Louis XIV greeted his male subjects in his bed chambers shortly after rising. The practice spread throughout Europe but became a formal court practice in England. It spread to Canada where Governors General and Lieutenant Governors made the levee a New Year’s Day tradition. It has since become a military tradition and has been adopted by other community leaders.