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.

What is the most sacred site in the world for your faith group and why?

Thomas Aquinas wrote "There are many things to be meditated on in Him, but especially the resurrection, because everything is ordered to it". Because no event in the life of Jesus or in the history of the Christian Church was more significant than the resurrection of Jesus from the dead after his tragic death, we have a special reverence for the Holy Land where it all happened. The resurrection was not only an escchatological event for Jesus and the early Church. It was an invitation to faith for all of us as well. In that sense, each time we celebrate the Easter Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil) we are brought back to relive these events which are at the heart of the pascal mystery.

We certainly have great respect and reverence for the place where these historical events happened. But it is more about a person than a place. The most sacred thing is how that resurrection power is still at work in us - and that happens everywhere - and at all times. This ultimately points all believers to the power of Gods Spirit to animate our human potential. This hope, grounded in the events of the cross and resurrection of Christ, repeatedly witnesses to God: His transformative power leads us, individually and communally, to the poor, the abandoned, the outcast and those deprived of justice and human dignity.

We believe many things, including numerous other inspirational sites and writings, can help us to tap into Gods salvific power. However, at the end of the day, it is our dying and rising with Christ in baptism - and all the graces that flow from that, which leads each of us to proclaim his mighty wonders, in word and deed, to the ends of the earth!