Saturday, March 7, 2009

AWCB Plenary Meeting

In the afternoon before the business meeting of the Assembly of Western Catholic Bishops begins, the Bishop's, who form the Board of Regents for St. Joseph's Seminary in Edmonton, meet with the Seminary Staff in an annual meeting.

From left to right we see the Seminary staff: Fr. Augusto Garcia p.s.s., Fr. Stephen Hero, Fr. Huy Nguyen, Fr. Andrew Szablewski, p.s.s. Then you have to skip over Bishop David Monroe of Kamloops, and next to him is Fr. Shayne Craig, p.s.s., the Rector of the Seminary. The meeting dealt with various issues, the most pertinent is the building of the new seminary. The previous site of Newman College and St. Joseph's Seminary is being taken over by an extensive highway project and these two institutions have to move. A new College and Seminary is being built in Edmonton and should be ready for occupation in the autumn of 2009.

After the Board of Regents meeting and the presentation of trafficking, the Assembly settled down to its business meeting on Wednesday evening and which continued until Friday at noon.

Bishop David Motiuk, Bishop of the Ukranian Eparchy of Edmonton, chaired the part of the meeting that dealt with Apex, the insurance company directed by the Bishops of Western Canada and which handles the insurance policies for most of the dioceses in the West.

There are twenty-two bishops in Western Canada (BC to Manitoba and including the Yukon and North West Territories) and all were present at the meeting. The meeting dealt with a number of practical issues such as the Enculturation Seminar for international priests serving in our dioceses, the Bishops' Annual Retreat, the Workshop for Priests Ordained five years and under. It was also decided that the Annual Assembly would take place in Lumsden next year to recognize the 100th anniversary of the Archdiocese of Regina.

Some national issues were also discussed such as the March for Life beging organized in Ottawa and the arrangement of a meeting with Phil Fontaine, the National Chief, and some aboriginal representatives with the Holy Father.
A representative of the Fundraising organization spoke to the Bishops on the question of the National Collection required by the Federal Government on the Catholic Church entities to raise $25 million dollars in reference to the Residential Schools settlement

On my left is Abbot Peter Novecosky who serves as secretary for the Assembly and helps keep things in order during the meetings. We also discussed Aboriginal Ministry, the issue of uranium mining and nuclear energy, the Summer School in Liturgical Studies for Western Canada and heard a presentation on L'Arche Canada Foundation. Bishop Luc Bouchard was elected as a member of the CCCB Permanent Council, Bishop Albert LeGatt as substitute and Archbishop Richard Smith as second substitute, among other things.

Bede Hubbard attended the meeting as Associate General Secretary of the CCCB. Bede is a native of Saskatchewan.
It was a good and productive meeting, but by Friday noon, we were all quite ready to go home. Personally, I greatly appreciate the bishops that we have here in Western Canada and find it a pleasure to be in their company. There is much wisdom, experience and dedication among these Shepherds of Christ's flock.
God of all gifts and source of all truth, give the fullness of your blessing to the college of Bishops, and keep all those entrusted to their care faithful to the teaching of the apostles. (Evening Prayer 1, Second Sunday of Lent.)

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