But it was a bit of a surprise — and a good one — when before the final hymn the cardinal took to the podium at the invitation of Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron to address the congregation.
“You (synod members) are God’s gift to the Archdiocese of Detroit,” Cardinal Maida said. “Through the Holy Spirit, you’re forming the Church for the future, and I pray that you’re successful.”
Cardinal Maida noted that there had been 10 synods since the Diocese of Detroit was formally established in 1883, with each and every one having its own specific purpose and impact on Catholicism in southeast Michigan.
“You are called, you were chosen to be here,” Cardinal Maida said. “Each comes here with their own talents. Some have 10 talents, some have five talents, others have one. But you have to come with those talents, that’s your responsibility. It doesn’t end with this Mass; you are called to share, share in your challenge, to witness to the love of God and the love of Christ.”
The cardinal received a warm applause from the members and Archbishop Vigneron, whom the cardinal said has been a blessing for Detroit’s church. The cardinal has not spoken often — if at all — at major archdiocesan functions since his retirement in 2009, preferring not to draw attention from Archbishop Vigneron’s leadership.
Cardinal Maida acknowledged the work of the entire synod staff, specifically noting how Archbishop Vigneron, who during his time as rector of Sacred Heart Major Seminary, saw the need to develop courses for priests on evangelization.
“We’re so blessed to have our shepherd, Archbishop Vigneron, responding to the seed planted in his head by Christ when he was rector of Sacred Heart Major Seminary,” Cardinal Maida said. “Jesus put a thought in his head, and now we have the first seminary in the country with a licentiate degree in evangelization.”
Cardinal Maida acknowledged the call to spread the message of Jesus is challenging, but one that people can’t help but complete once the love of Christ fills them.
“What started out as 12 men sitting around a table, turned into our Church,” Cardinal Maida said. “Now in this church there are 400 of you here. Some may be asking, where do I start? Start with a thanksgiving to God, giving us the peace, the peace that comes from being with Christ.”