Archbishop Smith Issues a Warm Welcome to the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars to Alberta

Archbishop Richard Smith Issues a Warm Welcome to the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Conference coming to Alberta on October 21-22.
October 4, 2022
Dear friends,
It is my great pleasure to welcome you all to Edmonton and to our Archdiocese for this
gathering, the first Conference since 2019, of the Canadian Chapter of the Fellowship of
Catholic Scholars.
The Archdiocese of Edmonton traces its roots to the 19th century, when French
missionaries (Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Grey Nuns and others) were sent to accompany
employees of the Hudson's Bay company, and to minister among the First Nations and
M├ętis peoples of Western Canada. Originally erected as the Diocese of St. Albert (1871),
covering a vast territory that is today Alberta and much of Saskatchewan and the Northwest
Territories, the See was apportioned in 1912 to new diocesan boundaries, transferred to the
provincial capital of Edmonton and elevated to the status of an Archdiocese.
Today, the Archdiocese covers some 150,000 square kilometres in central Alberta,
stretching from the Rocky Mountains in the west to the Saskatchewan boundary in the east,
within a region touching three treaty territories (Treaties 6, 7 and 8). It includes 61 parishes
with resident priests and serves an additional 64 missions. Within its boundaries are 10
Catholic school districts, 10 Catholic health facilities and a vast network of Catholic Social
Services assisting persons in need throughout central and northern Alberta.
The theme chosen for your conference "Religion in the Public Square - the Gifts, the
Challenges," is especially relevant to the history and contemporary context of our 
Archdiocese. Catholicism has always been handed on here in concert with public discourse:
with Indigenous, ecumenical and interreligious partners, with secular powers, and amidst
an ever-growing, ever diverse populace. Essential to evangelization within such a setting is
the key value of religious freedom that respects and honours the good and holy within all
traditions, peoples and identities. In this, all churches, all communities of faith or of no
faith have a role to play in discerning and forging both the gifts and the challenges of
right relationships into the future.
I am delighted to know you will be present with us, and although other commitments this
weekend will prevent me from joining you in person, Fr Matthew Hysell (Professor of
Systematic Theology at Newman Theological College), has graciously accepted to
represent me and offer Mass at your Conference. I pray for the success of your deliberations
and for the work of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars in the strengthening of Catholic
higher education in Canada.
Yours sincerely in Christ,
Richard W. Smith
Archbishop of Edmonton