Saturday, November 8, 2008

Religious Superiors, School Board Association, Francophone Pastoral Council and our ecumenical Bishops Meeting

I know that's a big list for the title. However a lot of things happened over the next two days. I had to leave our session at St. Michael's early on Tuesday morning in order to get to Saskatoon by 9:30 for the annual meeting between the Bishops of Saskatchewan and the major Religious Superiors of the Religous communities serving in our dioceses. I had to extend my apologies to the priests and pastoral workers the day before for leaving early and thus giving them bad example. It seems that we Catholics have this habit of leaving things early....even in the Eucharist! So I try to discourage this unfortunate inclination. However this time I was unable to give the proper example myself.

We met together from 9:30 to 4:00 pm and concluded our day's discussions with the celebration of the Eucharist. I was co-chairing the meeting with Sr. Anne Lewans OSU and so did not get around to taking pictures of the group. There were four Bishops present and around 20 religious superiors or their representatives. It is a valuable forum for the Religious to communicate with their Bishops and vice versa. Such open communication is very healthy in establishing strong and cooperative relationships between all of us who were present.

In the evening the Bishops met with the executive of the SCSBA for an update from the Association and some dinner afterwards. For the mission statement of the Association you may go to their website

In this first picture from left to right: Bishop Bryan Beda of the Eparchy of Saskatoon; Bishop Albert Legatt of Saskatoon; Ken Lohendorf, Executive Director; Mike St. Armand, President.

And on the other side of the table from left to right: Bishop Albert Thévenot of Prince Albert, myself; Jerome Niezgoda, Vice-President; and Keith Koberinski, past president.
The value of our Catholic Schools and the high quality of education and the richness of spiritual and moral formation that is offered to the children of our Catholic families and others who choose Catholic Education is a treasure of great value to all of us. With opposition to this choice rising from time to time, we look to the SCSBA for their expertise in seing that this right is secured for our families and the families which will follow after them. We are very grateful for the dedication with which these people work to make Catholic education a strong and valuable resource to our families.
The next morning Bishop Legatt, Bishop Thévenot and myself met with the executive of CPFIS. The members of this council work towards assuring that French speaking parishes are enabled to have the resources necessary to celebrate the liturgy in the French language. This is an important right that is the concern of the Church in justice and a value that is supported in the broader sense by provincial legislation. The collaboration between the Conseil Pastoral and the Bishops has been fruitful and productive and continues to be so.

Following the CPFIS meeting we gathered with the Lutheran and Anglican Bishops for the second of our semi-annual meetings. In the picture from left to right are Bishop Thévenot, Bishop Legatt, Bishop Cindy Halmarson of the Lutheran Church, Bishop Gregory Kerr-Wilson of the Anglican Diocese of Fort Qu'appelle and Bishop Rodney Andrews of the Anglican Diocese of Saskatoon. The Anglican diocese of Saskatchewan is waiting for the appointment of its new bishop.
I find these meetings very positive and productive. Recognizing the doctrinal issues that continute to keep us separated, there are still numerous things which we hold in common in our Christian faith. Christ's prayer that his church may be one can certainly be strengthened by our efforts to build on those things that unite us in our labours to be faithful followers of Jesus.


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