Installation of Archbishop Thomas Collins,
10th Archbishop of Toronto - January 30, 2007
Click here for photos
Address of the Apostolic Nuncio
H.E. Archbishop Luigi Ventura
Your Eminences, Dear brother Bishops, Community Leaders and Representatives of Faith Communities,
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
I am pleased to be with you today, in St. Michael’s Cathedral, as the Church of Toronto welcomes the Most Rev. Thomas Christopher Collins as her new Archbishop.
My presence, as the representative of Pope Benedict XVI, expresses the closeness of the Holy Father to this particular Church, and the communion of the ecclesial community of the Archdiocese of Toronto with the Universal Church. As Universal Pastor, with a responsibility to care for all the Churches, the Successor of Peter, as the Bishop of Rome, is the servant of that unity for which Christ prayed, and he presides in charity and solicitude over all the particular churches.
Today we celebrate the new call of the Lord to Archbishop Collins, to put to use and good service the qualities and energies and – I would say - his entire life, to the pastoral care and leadership of the Church of Toronto, entrusted to him by the Holy Father in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
I wish to acknowledge the presence of His Eminence, Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic, and to thank him publicly, in the name of the Holy Father, for his firm and exemplary service. For almost 31 years, he has served in the episcopal ministry in Toronto, first as Auxiliary Bishop, then as Coadjutor Archbishop and since 1990, as Archbishop. I am sure that I am reflecting the sentiments of all, when I say that we are appreciative and grateful for the leadership and pastoral care he has given these past number of years. We know that he will continue to offer his presence and support within the Archdiocese, to the Church in Canada and, as a member of the College of Cardinals, to the Holy Father and the Universal Church.
Dear Archbishop Collins, having served as Bishop of St. Paul and Archbishop of Edmonton, you have been called back to Ontario to assume responsibility for this, the largest English speaking diocese in Canada. Your ministry as a Bishop is a sign and source of ecclesial communion and a guarantor of the deposit of faith. This was given symbolic expression when, in the name of the Holy Father, I handed you the Crozier, which is the sign of your pastoral service.
You bring to this new ministry the gifts that you have clearly demonstrated as a priest and as a bishop. As Metropolitan Archbishop of Toronto with a special link with the particular Churches that comprise the ecclesiastical province of Toronto, you will, on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, June 29 th, receive another important sign both of your pastoral office and of the permanent communion with the universal Church: the pallium, made of sheep’s wool, placed at the Tomb of St. Peter and blessed by the Holy Father on the Feast of St. Agnes, this past January 21 st. The pallium is a symbol of Christ the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10.11)
Speaking of the mystery of the Church, especially as it is reflected in the life and ministry of a diocese, Pope Paul VI (1963-1978), shared the following reflections:
“It is in the local Church ... where we can recognize the point of effective contact, where human persons meet Christ, who opens for them access to the concrete plan of salvation: here there is the ministry, here the faith, here the community, here the Word, here the grace, here Christ offers himself to the faithful inserted in the universal Church. The local Church is therefore in the Catholic religious life, the starting and final point; like the fruit in relation to the roots, the tree, and the branches.” (Homily, 16 September 1972)
In this local church, the bishop is the cornerstone, and the image of Christ, priest and pastor, giving solidity to all the living stones that make up the household of God. (Eph. 2: 19-22)
Dear Archbishop Collins, the responsibilities entrusted to you may seem at times overwhelming but the Lord repeats to you as he did to Peter: “have no fear”. (Luke 5:10) And St. Paul assures us: “We are poor and weak but we count on the grace of God.” (2 Cor. 12:9) This grace will be the object of the prayer that is offered daily in the celebration of the Mass when, in the heart of the Eucharistic Prayer, these words are pronounced:
“Strengthen in faith and love your pilgrim Church on earth; your servant, Pope Benedict, our bishop Thomas, and all the bishops, with the clergy and the entire people your Son has gained for you.” (Eucharistic Prayer III)
* * *
My greetings and wishes go with those of the Holy Father and the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, whose message I now have the honour of reading:
“The Holy Father warmly imparts his Apostolic Blessing and extends it through you to His Eminence Cardinal Ambrozic, Archbishop emeritus of Toronto, the Auxiliary Bishops and to the priests, religious and laity of the Archdiocese. His Holiness thanks you for your willingness to undertake this Office, and he wishes you all the best with the assurance of his prayers.
For my part, I too would like to extend my congratulations to you, trusting that Almighty God will bless your new episcopal service. May Christ, the Good Shepherd, fill you with love for his flock and pour out upon you the riches of his grace, so that your ministry may bear fruit in plenty.”