Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Week of Ordinations of Bishops

Before I was appointed to the Archdiocese of Regina, I was an Auxiliary Bishop in Toronto. This month two new Auxiliary Bishops were ordained for that Archdiocese. The first was Bishop William McGrattan who was rector of St. Peter's Seminary in London at the time of his appointment as bishop.

Bishop McGrattan has been described as a wonderful, visionary leader. I have had the pleasure of meeting him during a retreat I had gave at St. Peter's a couple of years ago. I know that he will be a fine assett to the Archdiocese of Toronto. And I am sure that he will enjoy his ministry there. I certainly have good memories of my time there and of the very fine priests, religious and lay people I met and worked with there. Bishop McGrattan was ordained as bishop in the Cathedral in London, ON.

And the second Ordination took place the day after Bishop McGrattan's. The ordination of Vincent Nguyen was an historic one. For Bishop Nguyen is the first Asian bishop to be ordained in Candada. His story is a fascinating one, telling of his leaving Vietnam on a fishing boat with his uncle's family as one of the "Boat People" at the age of sixteen.

I met him during my time in Toronto. One of my duties as Auxiliary Bishop was the Pastoral Mission Fund, a generous agency of the Archdiocese of Toronto which distributes close to a million and a half dollars each year to struggling dioceses and instutions around the world. Fr. Vincent sat on the Board with me and helped us see that the donations given were in fact going to the right places. I was impressed by his efficiency and clear thinking. So I was very pleased to hear that he was to be ordained as an Auxiliary Bishop for his diocese.

There was a very large number of people who attended the ordination along with almost as many priests and a good number of bishops some of whom are seen here before the Mass of Ordination was to begin.

Before the Mass of Ordination began, the Insignia of the Bishop, the miter and the bishop's ring were blessed. Here Archbishop Collins says the prayer of blessing.

As the Bishops process into St. Michael's Cathedral, you can see that the ground in Toronto looks a bit different from the ground I left in Regina, which had a good cover of snow on it.

Archbishop Collins was the Principal Consecrating Bishop is seen here in the centre. On the far left is Bishop Peter Hunt, Auxiliary Bishop of the Northern Region of the Archdiocese which was my old stomping grounds. Next to him is Bishop John Boissoneau who looks after the Western Region. Then next to Archbishop Collins is the new Auxiliary, Bishop McGrattan and on the far right, the newly ordained Bishop Vincent Nguyen.

Here with the new bishop are some pretty proud and happy Vietnamese priests who concelebrated the Mass. Indeed there was a great crowd of proud and happy Vietnamese people both in the cathedral and standing outside. It was a very special day for them.

And here I get to stand with the two of them. It was a beautiful celebration of that solemn celebration of the Ordination of a Bishop. St. Michael's Cathedral is a grand and historic building and the music sung by St. Michael's Choir School members was memorable in its beauty.