Cardinal says thanks to all those who served the church

  • December 17, 2006

Cardinal Aloysius AmbrozicCardinal Aloysius Ambrozic presided over his last noon Mass at St. Michael’s Cathedral as archbishop of Toronto Dec. 17, using the occasion to thank all those who had worked with him and for him.

“I have been privileged and truly blessed to have served as a bishop for 30 years and as archbishop of Toronto for 16 years,” he said in a statement to the congregation before giving the homily.

“In this time, I have come across many wonderful and faithful Catholics who have given of themselves for the love of the church. . . . On a day like today, I wish to give thanks to those around me, who have faithfully served the diocese and supported me in my ministry.”

Ambrozic will hand over the keys to the archdiocese to Archbishop Thomas Collins of Edmonton, whose transfer to Toronto was announced Dec. 16 by Pope Benedict XVI. Collins, 59, will be installed early in the new year.

In the meantime, the archbishop’s seat is considered vacant. A meeting of the College of Consultors of the Archdiocese of Toronto will be held Dec. 18 to elect an administrator to govern church affairs for the interim.

The cardinal said he had not yet begun to think about what he will do in his retirement. Ambrozic handed his resignation to the Pope, as required by church law, when he turned 75 in January 2005, but Pope John Paul II asked him to stay on for a couple of years.

“People have asked me what I will do, I just want to get used to being retired,” he said.

The cardinal expressed his gratitude to everyone from his auxiliary bishops, to priests, permanent deacons and all the lay people “who continue to be the hands of Christ among us.”

“Finally, I give thanks to God for entrusting me, your humble servant, as archbishop of Toronto. The greatest reward one can experience in one’s life is to serve Jesus,” he said. “For this, I will be eternally grateful.”

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