Sunday, November 30, 2008

Regina Catholic Schools, Board/Clergy liaison Committee

On Wednesday of this past week I had the opportunity to attend a meeting of the Regina Catholic Schools Board/Clergy Liaison Committee at the Board Office. On behalf of the Archdiocese, Msgr Ken Miller, Fr. Gary Kuntz, Fr. Brad Fahlman and Fr. Steve Bill sit on this committee with members of the Board of Regina Catholic Schools.

To my left in the picture is Rob Bresciani, Chair of the Regina Catholic School Board and next to him is Rob Currie, the Director of Education.

Widening the scope a little bit, to Rob's right is Paul Malone, Donna Ziegler, E J Adams and Msgr. Ken Miller.

This is a better picture of EJ Adams and Msgr Miller, Vicar General for the Archdiocese. To his left is Fr. Gary Kuntz and Fr. Brad Fahlman. We are blessed with both committed Board members as well as committed priests who share the vision of Catholic Education and who understand the value of the presence of members of the clergy to our children and youth in the Catholic Schools.

Miles Meyers, the Coordinator of Catholic Education Services is on the left. To his right is Fr. Steve Bill, Pastor of Resurrection Parish, then Gerald Kleisinger, Rick Turchenek and Vicky Bonnell, Deputy Chair. This committee works to deepen the relationship between Regina Catholic Schools and the priests and parish ministers whose parishes are home to Catholic Schools. The strong and supportive triangular bond of school, home and parish is a valuable and productive relationship in the education of our children.
I am particular grateful for all our pastors who have Catholic Schools in their parishes and who set aside time to be present in a regular way to the children and young people who attend Catholic Schools. This is a special way of affirming that Christ is present to each and everyone of our students and their teachers.

A Visit to the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary and their residents.

I recently was invited to the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary to celebrate the Eucharist with them in anticipation of the Feast of the Presentation of Mary. They have a lovely residence with a chapel on Pells Drive.
Sr. ReAnne Letourneau led the music for the Mass.

And here are the other sisters who live at the residence: Sr. Mariette Bilodeau, SWr Emma Rousseau and Sr. Cynthia Lewans.

Part of the Sisters' work is to provide residence accommodations to young women attending university in Regina. We had a wonderful meal together and I had the pleasure of meeting the three university students who are seen here at the table with us.

From WYD 08 to World Youth Day 2011

Last Sunday we had a reunion meeting of those of us who went to Australia last July to take part in World Youth Day 2008. We were meeting to plan our diocese's participation in the next World Youth Day which will take place in Madrid, Spain in 2011. Here's a bit of our experience in Australia as pilgrims to WYD 08.

There were six of us who went as the diocesan component of this huge, international pilgrimage. The six of us are pictured below outside of the parish church in Taree, north of Sydney, where we spent the "Days in the Diocese" portion of our pilgrimage.

Along with me there were Robert Twa, Fr. Danilo Rafael, Harmony Langraff, Melanie Giambattista and Kristen Schneider.

But we were part of a much larger group, having joined the pilgrims from Prince Albert Diocese.

Among the many things that a World Youth Day expierience involves, it is fundamentally a pilgrimage, a spiritual event in which we celebrate our Christian faith as Catholic people. So we were in many places of prayer, from the Cathedral in Brisbane,
To a small chapel in Lamington Rain Forest National Park,

to our parish church in Taree, in the Diocese of Maitland - Newcastle, north of Sydney
to a world wide outdoor gathering of the youth of the world with His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI.

We met all sorts of great people like these three from our group.

in all sorts of experiences

meeting all sorts of creatures such as this Koala bear

even walking on the top of the Rain Forest.

Experiencing different cultures. The Australian Aboriginals were very much evident throughout all the activities of World Youth Day.

I had the opportunity to renew aquaintances with bishops I had met previously. On the right is Bishop Gianfranco Todesco, the Bishop of Malfi in Italy who is standing with Cardinal Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney and the host to the world for WYD 08.

The most impressive part of the whole WYD experience were these people and the hundreds of thousands like them who came from all over the world to pray with the Holy Father, Pope Benedict, to celebrate the Eucharist with him and to hear his words of instruction and guidance.

And now we are preparing for the next World Youth Day which will be held in Madrid, Spain.

I would hope that we can have at least 100 young people, if not 200! from our diocese take part in this wonderful faith experience.

Information will be coming out shortly from the Youth Ministry Office of the Archdiocese and information meetings will be held soon. Until then, "via con Dios, amigos."

Archdiocesan Pastoral Council & the Pastoral Plan

Our Archdiocesan Pastoral Council meets every second month to provide advice to the Archbishop on current matters in the Archdiocese. The APC is an important body for the diocese as it provides a strong voice for the lay people at the level of diocesan administration.

Here are some of the APC members, in the front from left to right: Loretta Heidinger, Estevan; Sr. ReAnne Letourneau, Religious Women; Sr. Bernice Daratha, Vocations Coordinator; Guy Blondeau, Qu'Appelle; in the back from left to right: Merve Polzen, Yorkton/Melville; Arnold Petracek, Esterhazy; Gordon Stopanski, Chairperson, Regina; and Leo Pingert, Weyburn. Also present but not in the picture were Amy Bott, Youth; and Jeo Maierhoffer, Regina East/West.

At this meeting the Diocesan Pastoral Council reviewed the recently released Pastoral Plan which is the product of the Vision Quest process that has been going on in the Archdiocese since 2001. This Pastoral Plan entitled: "The Implementation of the Vision: Faith Alive in a dynamic Church" will be made available to the faithful of the Archdiocese over the next week or so.

At that time, the Council of Priests asked whether the Archdiocese had a pastoral plan to deal with the challenges presently facing our church in ministering to our people in the southern part of Saskatchewan. For our diocese is one of large areas and long travel times.

The Vision Quest Committee has done efficient work and gatherings have been held with Pastors and Parish Ministers, with Archdiocesan Staff, with Deanery Pastoral Councils and Parish Pastoral councils. The result of these consultations have given us a list of priorities that we will now begin to address through this Pastoral Plan.

Together we will set out on developing programs and activities which will address Education, Evangelization, Lay Enablement and Liturgy. This will take place in a decentralized structure focusing on the nine Deaneries which make up the Archdiocese.

It will be a challenging undertaking in which there is the hope that our diocesan church will be renewed and strengthened in its faith and that all our people will be able to take up the mission of the Church with more commitment and energy in each of our parish communities.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Installation of the new Pastor at St. Joseph's, Moose Jaw

On November 16th I was in Moose Jaw at St. Joseph's Parish to install Fr. Francis Folleh CSSp as the new Pastor of the Parish. Fr. Francis is a member of the Spiritan Fathers, West African Province.
It was a pleasure to celebrate the Eucharist with the Parish Community at the Saturday evening Mass and the first Mass on Sunday morning. At each Mass there was a full company of Altar Servers. It is wonderful to see our young people carrying out this ministry at the altar in the parish liturgies. In the picture also are Fr. Job Addai, the Associate priest at St. Joseph's and also the brand new chaplain at CFB Moose Jaw.
At the early Sunday Mass there was also a full compliment of servers whom we see here along with the Pastoral Assistant, Lamont Dyck.

Lector: Listen to the words of our Lord according to Saint John: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Bishop: It is the duty of the Pastor to bring to his people the healing power and mercy of Our Lord Jesus Christ, reconciling them to God and one another. When you do this, remember your own weakness.

Pastor: I will do so, with the help of God.


Lector: Listen to the words of St. Paul written to the Corinthians: “For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”

Bishop: It is the duty of the Pastor to bring the faithful together to celebrate the Eucharist. When you do this, make them as sign of the Lord’s enduring presence among God’s People.
Pastor: I will do so, with the help of God.

Fr. Francis makes his Profession of Faith and swears his Oath of Allegiance to the Church and its teachings.

And signs the papers.

And the newly installed Pastor is warmly welcomed by his people.

On the right of Fr. Francis is Fr. Bob Colburn, the new Provincial Superior of the Spiritans of the TransCanada Province and on my left we were joined in the Mass by Fr. Tony Sevali CSSP, the Pastor of Church of Our Lady in Moose Jaw. The Archdiocese is very pleased to have the priests of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit in our diocese to care for the parishes in Moose Jaw and also of St. Mary in Central Butte and St. John the Evangelist in Marquis.

Holy Trinity School Division in Moose Jaw

On November 15th I had the opportunity to meet with the Board of Holy Trinity School Division in Moose Jaw. This is another of our excellent Catholic School Divisions in the Archdiocese. There is a strong commitment to the specialness of Catholic Education and its benefit for our families and for our society.

During our time together we discussed the challenges to Catholic Education in the province. We are blessed with this country of ours which guarantees the rights of minorities and in particular, Catholic education to those Catholic citizens of our province. It is the commitment of our Boards to excellence in education and the specialness of Catholic education where each student is treated with utmost respect and dedication by a commuity which sees in the faces of our children and youth, the face of Jesus himself that is the richness of Catholic education.

Here are the Chair of the Board, Debbie Olesen and Del Wagner, Director of Education. It was a good meeting with lots of hope for our goals to give the very best to our children to prepare them for life and happiness.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Visit to Campion College

Last Thursday, November 13th, I was invited to celebrate the Eucharist at Campion College and join some of the students for lunch and discussion afterwards. As usual with the young people of our Archdiocese, the time spent with them was interesting and enjoyable.

Campion has a lovely chapel with colourful and bright art work which helps us remember that Jesus' gift to us is life, and indeed life to the full.

Fr. Ben Fiore, SJ concelebrated the Mass with me. Fr. Ben is the President of Campion. He has authored a commentary on The Pastoral Epistles, published in the Scripture Commentary "Sacra Pagina" among other things.

Following the Mass we had a pizza lunch together and talked about some of the concerns and questions the students had about the Church and Catholic life. Here's some pictures of the group gathered that day.

We were joined by Sr. ReAnne Letourneau, a Sister of the Presentation of Mary. The Sisters have a house in Regina which offers some accommodations to women studying at the University.

On the left in this picture is Stephanie Malloy who is Campus Minister at Campion.

Some of the conversation centered on the Eucharist and the attraction of the "Latin Mass" to some young people. The reference is to the Missal of John XXIII published in 1962. The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI has granted permission to celebrate the Eucharist according to this Missal as an "extraordinary expression of the Law of Prayer of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church."
The normal expression of the Law of Prayer today is the Missal of Paul VI, approved in 1970 following upon the desire expressed by the Second Vatican Council that "the respectful reverence due to divine worship should be renewed and adapted to the needs of our time."
It may be good for us to recall the words of this Ecumenical Council of the Church that lie at the base of the liturgic reforms promulgated by the Church in recent decades. We read in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Paragraph 50:
The rite of the Mass is to be revised in such a way that the intrinsic nature and purpose of its several parts, as also the connection between them, may be more clearly manifested, and that devout and active participation by the faithful may be more easily achieved.

For this purpose the rites are to be simplified, due care being taken to preserve their substance; elements which, with the passage of time, came to be duplicated, or were added with but little advantage, are now to be discarded; other elements which have suffered injury through accidents of history are now to be restored to the vigor which they had in the days of the holy Fathers, as may seem useful or necessary.

The important teaching which moved this desire is expressed in Paragraph 49:
The Church, therefore, earnestly desires that Christ's faithful, when present at this mystery of faith, should not be there as strangers or silent spectators; on the contrary, through a good understanding of the rites and prayers they should take part in the sacred action conscious of what they are doing, with devotion and full collaboration.

We also talked about the attraction of what young people see as "new" or "different" ways of celebrating the Liturgy which these older rites seem to provide. However union with Christ in the Liturgy, and experience of the mystery of God comes to us, like all important relationships in life, by constant effort.
I will finish of this post with some words of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, on the important question of "active participation" in the Liturgy. They bring out this need of continually developing our relationship with our Risen Lord. This exerpt is taken from his document "Sacramentum Caritatis" (The Sacrament of Love") and speaks of the conditions required for truly fruitful participation in the Liturgy:
One of these is certainly the spirit of constant conversion which must mark the lives of all the faithful. Active participation in the eucharistic liturgy can hardly be expected if one approaches it superficially, without an examination of his or her life. This inner disposition can be fostered, for example, by recollection and silence for at least a few moments before the beginning of the liturgy, by fasting and, when necessary, by sacramental confession. A heart reconciled to God makes genuine participation possible. The faithful need to be reminded that there can be no actuosa participatio in the sacred mysteries without an accompanying effort to participate actively in the life of the Church as a whole, including a missionary commitment to bring Christ's love into the life of society. (55)
My thanks to these young university students for sharing their thoughts and insights. I look forward to more of these occassions.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The National Catholic Broadcasting Council

During this week I flew to Toronto to take part in the Board of Directors meeting of the National Catholic Broadcasting Council The National Catholic Broadcasting Council is the organization that brings to our country the Daily Mass which is broadcast twice daily on Vision Television and also the televised annual Lenten Catholic Mission.

I sit as Chair of the Board and am very happy to be a part of this valued and effective service to Catholics and members of other denominations who find great spiritual benefit in the Daily Mass. With me here are Mike and Barb McManus. Mike is the prime moving force in the organization and production of the televised Mass. With the very expert and competent assistance of his wife Barb they make this much watched daily program available nation wide.

Here are some of the Board members, from the left Bishop Richard Grecco, Auxiliary Bishop of Toronto; Fr. Paul McGill, C.S.B who was a guest at the Board Meeting to speak about the construction being planned for St. Basil's Church from which the Daily Mass is broadcasted; Joyce Egberts, Mike McManus and Bob Giroux.
Here we will see the other members of the Board who very loyally and generously serve to make the Daily Mass viable and successful through their varied expertise and advice. Again from the left: Bob Geroux who oversees the Financial Statements and Budget; Fr. Paul McGill; Roman Melnyk; Peter Cathcart and The Hon. Mr. Justice Lucien Beaulieu.

And on the other side of the table from the left: Barb McManus, Sr. Evanne Hunter, Joyce Egberts, who reports on investments; Bishop Grecco and Mike McManus. It is a great pleasure for me to be associated with these very fine people and the work they do for the Church.

Installation of the new Pastor at Holy Child

This past weekend I was at Holy Child & St. Joseph the Worker parishes to install Fr. Lorne Crozon as their new Pastor. In addition to his duties as Pastor of these parish communities, Fr. Lorne also serves the Diocesan Church as Director of Organization and Development.
Here's Fr. Lorne
My weekend Masses began at St. Joseph the Worker parish on Saturday afternoon. The church of St. Joseph the Worker was built in 1962/1963 by Msgr. Gerein. Twenty two years later St. Joseph the Worker and Holy Child were united under one pastor, Fr. Balzer.
At the Mass three men of the parish served in the ministry of Acolyte. It is nice to see adults also serving the Church in this ministry of serving at the altar. These men carried out their ministry well and contributed to the beauty of the Mass as did those who led the people in singing God's praises in the Eucharist.

The church is beautifully kept and for this mass was decorated in the theme of this month of prayer for our departed sisters and brothers. Tasteful decorations on this Sunday recalled those who had given their lives in service to their country and moved us to pray to God for them.

On Sunday morning we celebrated the installation of the new pastor at Holy Child.

Here we also had good and generous young people who served as acolytes. Also present to concelebrate the Eucharist were Fr. Gene Shaffer who helps out every weekend at the parish, and one of our newest priests, Fr. Valentine.

Following the rite at the Baptismal Font, we moved to the Reconciliation Room. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is connected to Baptism. For by the power of this Sacrament, Christ offers the possibility to recover baptismal grace to those who have lost it through serious sin and re-establishes communion with the church:

Lector: Listen to the words of our Lord according to Saint John: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Bishop: It is the duty of the Pastor to bring to his people the healing power and mercy of Our Lord Jesus Christ, reconciling them to God and one another. When you do this, remember your own weakness.

Pastor: I will do so, with the help of God.

At the Ambo, the pastor and the community are reminded of the central importance of the Word of God in every celebration of the Eucharist. The Church teaches us that during the Eucharist we are fed at "two tables": the table of the Word and the table of the Eucharist. We are also reminded that Christ is present in a real way in the Word that we hear at each Liturgy, as He is present in the Presiding Priest, in the Assembly of Baptized who celebrate the Eucharist and offer the Eucharistic Sacrifice with and through the Priest, and in a preeminent way in the eucharistic elements of bread and wine which have become the Body and Blood of Christ for us.

Lector: Listen to the words written the letter to the Hebrews: “Indeed, the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Heb 4:12)

Bishop: It is the duty of the Pastor rightly to proclaim the Holy Gospel, and diligently to instruct Lectors. When you do this, lead your people to receive the Word of God in faith.

Pastor: I will do so, with the help of God.

Fr. Valentine helped me out during the Rite of Installation. Here we have a reminder of the contribution that our overseas priests contribute to the life of our Archdiocese. After a time of living with a local priest to become accustomed to our local church and their new country, they then take responsibility for a parish and assure the pastoral care of the Church for our people.