REGINA — Archbishop Donald Bolen invited his New Year’s Day congregation to let go of the past year, to look forward and do something new. He quoted a poem by G. K. Chesterton, one of his favourite writers, illustrating this sentiment. The archbishop issued this invitation as part of his homily for the Jan. 1 mass at Holy Rosary Cathedral.
He reminded everyone that New Year’s Day is really three celebrations: the Octave of Christmas, the Feast of Mary the Mother of God; the World Day of Prayer for Peace; and New Year’s Day.
Bolen spoke of Mary “pondering in her heart” the things the shepherds saw and heard that prompted them to come to the manger. He noted the contrast of the quiet scene in the manger that gives us hope and joy with the insecurities and struggles of the world today, and perhaps with struggles in our own lives as we look to a new year.
The start of a new year, Bolen said, is a time to give thanks and express gratitude. Looking back, he said, there are many blessings we have received as a community and as individuals, but pain and insecurity come to mind as well.
“We all have wounds in our lives and there are societal wounds as well,” he said. “We lament how the dignity of human living and dying is eroded in the world, and we see in so many ways the need for healing and reconciliation.”
He quoted from Pope Francis’ message on the World Day of Prayer for Peace that focused on the millions of refugees around the world fleeing from wars, genocide, and ethnic cleansing, and also the millions who migrate looking for a better life.
“Pope Francis invites us to view (migration) not as a threat, but with confidence as an opportunity to build peace. So, on this World Day of Prayer for Peace, we have before us the challenge to be artisans of peace and reconciliation.”
He suggested to let go of the past year and begin anew. “The Incarnation points us to the future, to what God is doing anew in our midst,” he said, and referred to Revelations where God says he is making something new, “and with Jesus coming to us, God is doing something new. I invite you to consider starting the New Year with some act of letting go and beginning anew.”
He concluded his homily by quoting from the Book of Numbers, and bestowed a blessing on those in attendance: “May the Lord bless you and keep you, may the Lord let his face shine upon you and be gracious to you, may the Lord show you his face and give you peace. Sisters and brothers, may we know anew God’s blessing and daily extend that blessing to others.”