Archbishop Thomas Collins pointed out that Cardinal Ambrozic chose as his motto the ancient Christian proclamation: 'Jesus is Lord.'

Farewell to Cardinal Ambrozic, a ‘disciple, pastor and apostle’

By  Catholic Register Staff
  • August 31, 2011

TORONTO - Cardinal Aloyisus Ambrozic was a faithful disciple whose love of Jesus and dedication to the Lord marked a life of selfless dedication, Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins told a packed funeral Mass.

An overflow crowd of bishops, priests, family, dignitaries and friends filled St. Michael’s Cathedral on Aug. 31 for the Mass of Christian Burial for Toronto’s ninth archbishop. Approximately 200 people, unable to get into the cathedral, stood outside and followed the Mass on loudspeakers.

Cardinal Ambrozic, 81, died Aug. 26 at Providence Healthcare following a lengthy battle with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy.

Among the attendees were Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte, archbishop of Montreal, and Msgr. Luca Lorusso, representing the Vatican in Canada, as well as hundreds of priests from the archdiocese of Toronto and more than 20 bishops.

Politicians in attendance included federal Finance Minister James Flaherty, Ontario Lt.-Gov. David Onley, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion and Ontario Environment Minister John Wilkinson.

Collins read a telegram from Pope Benedict XVI that said: “I recall with gratitude the cardinal’s dedication and service to the Church in his adopted country. I join you and all who mourn him, including the members of the late cardinal’s family, in commending his noble soul to the infinite mercy of God our loving Father.”

A priest for 56 years, bishop for 35 years and archbishop of Toronto for 16 years, Cardinal Ambrozic “was called not only to be a disciple, but also an apostle and a pastor to God’s people,” Collins said in his homily.

Collins pointed out that Cardinal Ambrozic chose as his motto the ancient Christian proclamation: “Jesus is Lord.”

The mayor of Toronto Rob Ford was among the dignitaries in attendance.“One who lives by the motto ‘Jesus is Lord’ is given a perspective that makes it possible to see clearly what is real and what is not,” Collins said. “All the stormy waves on the surface of the sea cannot overwhelm one who is governed by the deep conviction that ‘Jesus is Lord.’

“From that conviction comes the wisdom to see the truth and the courage to proclaim it. Life, even a long life by earthly standards, is too short for any of one of us to waste it on what is superficial. The cardinal was deep, not superficial, because of his simple dedication to Jesus, the Lord.”

Collins said that at a solemn time, when the tendency is to reflect more deeply on what is profound and what is superficial, “we do well to ponder the guiding principle of Cardinal Ambrozic’s life: ‘Jesus is Lord.’ He lived according to that as a disciple and proclaimed that as an apostle and pastor.”

Referring to the vision and stewardship that marked Cardinal Ambrozic’s ministry, Collins praised the “mission of spiritual leader which Cardinal Ambrozic so faithfully exercised for so many years in his vocation as priest and bishop.”

Collins reflected on the many honours Cardinal Ambrozic received during his life and his important contribution to the universal Church. In particular, he pointed to Cardinal Ambrozic’s participation in the conclave that elected Pope Benedict and his welcoming of the world to Toronto in 2002 for World Youth Day.

“But the vision of hope that he lived and proclaimed was expressed more quietly and more profoundly through a life of daily fidelity to his mission as disciple, pastor and apostle,” Collins said.

Cardinal Ambrozic was interred in the Bishops Mausoleum at Holy Cross Cemetery.

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