.- The new archbishop of Canada’s largest diocese was installed yesterday at St. Michael’s Cathedral in downtown Toronto, reminding the faithful that life in this world is aimed at the reality of heaven, the “New Jerusalem,” but that all Christians can work towards creating the Kingdom of God on earth.
Archbishop Thomas Collins, 60, succeeds Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic, 76, who retired after reaching the canonical age of retirement. Archbishop Collins presided at his own installation mass, attended by more than 50 bishops, 300 priests and 1,000 faithful.
Archbishop Luigi Ventura, Apostolic Nuncio to Canada, also attended the mass. The primate of Canada, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, and the archbishop of Montreal, Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte, were also present.
Cardinal Ambrozic offered a few remarks, thanking Toronto’s Catholic community and wishing his successor well.
Archbishop Collins recalled in his homily, that the present world draws its meaning from a greater World. The image of the New Jerusalem, the City of God, gives us insight into that greater world, he said.
However, he noted, “As we disciples of Jesus confront this world of violence and of all too frequent disregard for the dignity of the human person, the New Jerusalem is not, however, simply a future goal.”
“To the degree that we love God and love neighbor, and act with integrity as disciples of Jesus, to that degree the New Jerusalem is already present, as it will be in its fullness at the end of time. Heaven begins on earth, in our daily lives, when we live in generous love, in the image of the Blessed Trinity, in the imitation of Christ.”
The archbishop challenged his people to choose the path of heaven by acting in a social just manner, participating in the life of the Church, participating in civil life, and entering worthily into the Divine Liturgy.
Archbishop Collins was appointed to Toronto on Dec. 16. He comes to the archdiocese after serving as Archbishop of Edmonton for seven years. Edmonton has about 350,000 Catholics—very few compared with Toronto’s 1.6 million.
Archbishop Collins was born in Hamilton, Ont. He studied theology in London, Ont., and in Rome at the prestigious Pontifical Gregorian University. He was ordained a priest in 1973 for the Diocese of Hamilton, and went on to serve in various posts, including rector of St. Peter Seminary in London, Ont., where he had studied.
In 1997, he was made an auxiliary bishop. He was appointed Archbishop of Edmonton in 1999.
Archbishop Collins is the 12th ordinary to lead Toronto since the diocese was established in 1841.