January 11, 2024

Verbatim: Introduction to Archbishop Leo's Pastoral Letter


Below is the introduction of Archbishop Francis Leo’s Pastoral Letter to the Archdiocese of Toronto. The complete pastoral letter is available archtoronto.org.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, May Jesus through Mary reign in your hearts

At the beginning of this new year, I thought it opportune to write to the entire Church of God in Toronto, to you all, members of our beloved archdiocese, in an effort to share a few thoughts as we embark upon yet another year of intense and grace-filled pastoral, spiritual, sacramental, educational, social and administrative activities — all intent, naturally, on building the Kingdom of God…. I wish to offer you a theological, spiritual and pastoral meditation on this very important tenet of our Catholic Christian faith, in the hope that my reflections on the Kingdom of God in our midst will accompany and perhaps inspire you throughout the year. The spiritual and social renewal of our lives and communities requires that we deepen our understanding of and appreciation for the Church’s perennial teachings of our faith and let ourselves be challenged and formed by the Words of Christ which are eternal and forever life-giving.

It is now over nine months since I began my ministry as Archbishop of this extraordinary portion of the People of God and it has been a time of discovery, community outreach, personal encounters and of palpable fraternity. The Mass of Installation of 25 March last, Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, was the beginning of a new phase in my ministerial life as well as in the life of our particular Church — to which I am committed wholeheartedly. These months have provided for me very numerous occasions to visit and to celebrate, to listen and to learn so as to “discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” for our local Church.

I continue to make myself available as much as I can to the entire archdiocese, naturally within the limitations of time and commitments. As disciples of Christ, we experience and live out our Catholic faith, in our Toronto archdiocese, within the framework of a very extensive, diverse and complex ecclesial and societal reality, but one which offers us many opportunities to be mutually enriched and to witness with Gospel boldness to the truth that sets us free, namely Christ Himself.

I have been extremely busy traveling around the large archdiocesan landscape, committed to meet the array of different communities, listen to their needs and get to know people personally, namely the priests and deacons, parish teams of lay staff and volunteers, administrative personnel at the pastoral centre, men and women religious, seminaries, homes for the elderly and the infirm, academic institutions, health care and social services, cultural and ethnic communities, youth, families and many others.

Numerous liturgical celebrations and several informal get togethers have made for enjoyable and inspiring months and have deepened my understanding of the episcopal ministry needed in the GTA....

I give thanks and praise to the Lord and to each of you for the warm welcoming I received and the enthusiastic gatherings we shared, be it at the regional Masses, different parish visits and all the other celebratory events at distinct venues and pastoral and fraternal settings. I intend to continue visiting, meeting, speaking with and listening to the People of God — clergy, consecrated and laity — so as to better grasp the intricate and yet graced reality we know and love across this vast archdiocese; prayer, consultation, dialogue and authentic encounters will allow me to appreciate even more the beauty as well as take note of the areas of growth of our archdiocese so as to be a more effective spiritual guide and father and dedicated shepherd, striving to serve with the heart of Jesus, the “shepherd and guardian of our souls.”

Our gaze is always fixed on Christ the Saviour who alone can bring to fruition the spiritual and social transformation so much needed in our archdiocese and indeed the world.


Jan. 1, 2024

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