Since 2000, Ottawa Archbishop Marcel Gervais has expressed his opinion on a variety of faith topics. These texts were initially published in the "Ask the Religion Experts" column which appears every Saturday in The Ottawa Citizen. As of June 2005, Msgr. Patrick Powers, Vicar General, will be taking on the responsibility of the weekly articles.

If you had one message to impart throughout your ministry what would it be?

Above all else, I would hope to be able to communicate most clearly that we are loved by the God who created, redeemed and sanctified us. I have always been touched when people, who return to the Lord after having cut themselves off from him, are astonished to discover that his great love for them had never stopped. Throughout history, our God, who is love, has wanted to share his life with us. Through the prophets, even when we refused it, he continually offered his love. Finally, in the fullness of time, he sent his Son to us. Throughout his life, he showed us how to love his Father and one another. Ultimately, through the cross, he showed the depth of his love, revealing his life to be longer than earthly life and stronger than death.

It is impossible for us to live our lives to the full, to be faithful to our vocation, without being mindful of the driving force of each of our lives. We can tap into that divine life and love through prayer, the scriptures and the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. Here, we are more closely united to Christ who, in turn, unites us into one body.

He strengthens and renews and brings us more deeply into the Church - and at the same time, profoundly commits us to the poor. St. John Chrysostom wrote that we "dishonour the table of the Lord when we receive the body and blood of the Lord yet do not recognize him in the poorest of our brothers and sisters". I think this cornerstone of our faith is what I hope to communicate through my ministry: Gods love reverses the separation and loneliness caused by sin and makes us whole! He loves us, gathers us in prayer and worship and sends us forth to do his work.