Thursday, October 27, 2011


The Keewatin-Le Pas Diocese was host to the CCODP Kee-Le Pas Diocesan Retreat on Friday, October 21 and Saturday, October 22, 2011 in Thompson Manitoba. The week-end retreat started with a power point presentation by Armella Sonntag, CCODP Regional Animator for our Diocese, on her solidarity trip to Cambodia.

The Saturday workshop was facilitated by Armella Sonntag from Battleford Sask., together with, Betty Jmaeff, Ste. Anne Parish, Saskatoon; Marcella Pedersen, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Cut Knife, Prince Albert Diocese; Helene Tremblay-Boyko, St. Joseph Parish, Canora, Regina Diocese.
The main focus of the workshop was on the 5-yr. Fall Action program on Ecological Justice Through the use of materials and a skit we participated and learned about the United Nations at work.

The Keewatin-The Pas diocese was represented by: Fr. Noel, Grand Rapids; Fr. Jack, and Sr. Mary, The Pas; Sr. Carmen, Cross Lake; Sr. Margaret and Joyce Colomb, Lynn Lake; Sr. Andrea, Thompson.
The CCODP Diocesan Council organized the workshop together with the Thompson group which consists of: Margo Dubuc, Lynda Paziuk, Sr. Andrea, Jim & Atalia Hickey.

Unfortunately, the picture that was sent to me was not able to be added to this blog.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Due to problems with my Nikon transfer, I accidently deleted the pictures I had taken of the session, so this is a picture of the general secretary, Patrick Powers, out-outgoing president, Bishop Pierre Morrisette, and incoming president, Archbishop Richard Smith, taken last year. Below is my summary of the plenary.



Of special note in the president’s report were the theme of New Evangelization; the effort to keep the indult of financial assistance for missionary diocese past 2014, and the possibility of having a national forum on aboriginal affairs. The fact that COLF (Commission of Life and the Family) is moving forward with a “Building A Culture” on Life in the Family, including a national week for Life and Family, was good news for the northern bishops’ project of enriching marriage and family life by developing a resource materials packet. COLF will be assisting us with this effort.

The CCAC (Canadian Catholic Aboriginal Council) presented a revised mandate which gives us hope that the voice of aboriginal people within the church will be heard more effectively. Rose Prince will be the model for this year’s Day of Prayer with Aboriginal Peoples.

Guest Presenter, Msgr. Robert LeGall OSB from Toulouse, France, reviewed the Apostolic Exhortations Sacramentum Caritatis and Verbum Domini. He drew out salient points from both documents and reflected on their meaning and application for us as bishops. He reminded us that the Eucharist must flow out into working for social justice, and that the Word of God must be central to all our ministry.

The Apostolic Nuncio to Canada, His Excellency Pedro López Quintana, expressed hope that the new GIRM will help us express our faith more reverently and authentically leading to renewal. He commented on the Year of Faith that has been announced by the Vatican and was presented with a copy of the new missal which became a launching of it in Canada.

A presentation on Responsible Ministry surfaced the causes of clerical sexual abuse as clericalism, isolation and authority, among others. Progress is being made and knowledge about this is growing. The process of rationalizing, minimizing and denial must be recognized. The Bishops need to show greater leadership in this area by facilitating greater mutuality with the Canadian people.

It was pointed out that Development and Peace raised $6.3 million for the Horn of Africa and that the Share Lent 2011campaign was equal to 2010, despite the challenges they faced over the past year.

The Liturgy Commission encouraged us to use the new GIRM as an occasion for on-going catechesis on the Eucharist and Scripture using CCCB resources, Sacramentum Caritatis and Verbum Dei. The Website has additional information.

With regard to Catechesis, On Good Soil is published and is being well received. The criteria are still being worked on. The Commission on Inter-Faith Dialogue noted that there has been a successful dialogue with Evangelicals; there is question of setting up a dialogue with Buddhists, and a leaflet on Islam is being produced.

Bishop Don Dolen of Saskatoon shared with us from his expertise on Ecumenical Dialogue, noting the distinction between ecumenical and Inter-Faith Dialogue. Ecumenical dialogue works towards full visible unity; inter-religious dialogue works toward greater understanding and the common good. He reviewed the book Harvesting the Fruits, edited by Cardinal Kasper, which identifies what has been achieved in the area of ecumenical dialogue. At the moment, although Catholics were late on the scene, we are now the initiators of ecumenism, even more so than the World Council of Churches, due to our ecclesial principles.

The new primate of Canada, Archbishop Gerard LaCroix, brought us up to date on the Lineamenta for the Synod on New Evangelization, which will attempt to put new effectiveness and enthusiasm into evangelization. Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto reviewed that status of the Anglicanorum Coetibus, Anglicans wanting to become Catholic yet retain their Anglican traditions. He also noted that declaring church property a heritage site can prevent needed renovations or changes at great cost. Addressing this issue with government can be an ecumenical effort. The Regional Assemblies then presented their reports, as well as the northern bishops and the Eastern Churches.

Incoming president Archbishop Richard Smith used the gospel for the day as presider during our closing Eucharist to focus on two areas of interest for us as bishops: the need to read the signs of the time, and to work towards reconciliation. We need to know our world, to be immersed in that world that is so fragmented, and to be a sign of hope for that world. The best way we can do that is to be united among ourselves, in spite of differing opinions and views. In his closing comments, out-going president, Bishop Pierre Morissette, pointed out that those two areas were the same points that he began his presidency with two years ago. Bishop Smith added his appreciation for Bishop Pierre’s qualities of unflappable calmness, consultative leadership skills and love for the Church and his brother bishops that marked his leadership. That homily and those comments served to sum up the nature of this whole plenary, my seventh one.


On October 13 -15th, 2011, I participated in a Returning To Spirit Reconciliation session at Queen's House of Retreats in Saskatoon with about 50 aboriginal and non-aboriginal participants. RTS is a powerful program that brings together both groups, after a 7 day process separately, for three days of dialogue and reconciliation. The evaluation below tells the story.


Saskatoon, October 11-15, 2011

Archbishop Sylvain Lavoie OMI


This reconciliation session was a very positive experience for me, both as a former trainee, and now as an archbishop. Through respectful listening to aboriginal participants, I gained a deeper understanding of the legacy of the Indian Residential Schools and its impact not only on former students but also on their descendants. I heard firsthand how even persons who stayed within the church carry heavy burdens of shame and anger, and are in need of healing. I also grew in my appreciation of the power and depth of the RTS process to go the bottom of the hurt and move participants, using very effective concepts, images and rituals, beyond victimhood and story to a new freedom. The presence of four international priests, the quality of their participation and what they gained from it affirmed the relevance of this process for all people. There was some personal healing in my own life and inspiration to deal with some issues more directly.

I truly appreciated the marvel of aboriginal and non-aboriginal persons working together, healing and praying together, leading all to let go of the past and move into a healthier future. The skill and competence of the facilitators was impressive. I have an even stronger conviction to promote and support this program and help find funding for it into the future. I would encourage all priests, religious, pastoral ministers, non-aboriginal laity and my brother bishops to take it as perhaps our most effective way of forging a renewed relationship between the churches and the aboriginal people in our country today. Indeed, I would encourage every Canadian, and certainly every member of our archdiocese to become part of this unique process of healing and reconciliation.

More information can be obtained at the following:

Anne Taylor, CEO

1-403-244-3963 Office

1-403-464-2788 Mobile


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

CCCB Plenary, Cornwall

The second day of the plenary has finished here in Cornwall. Pictured above are the General secretary Msgr. Patrick Powers, out-going president Bishop Pierre Morrisette and in-coming president Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton.

In addition to the information provided below by Zenit, i want to mention that the project of the northern bishops on enriching marriage and family life fits in well with the work of COLF (Committee on Life and the Family) and the ad hoc committec on the family of the CCCB.

We also had reports from the Marriage Tribunal section, the Committee on Doctrine, and three bishops on Responsible Ministry.

I am happy to say that it seems that my blogging problems may now be a thing of the past, due to the help of the newly ordained auxiliary bishop of Montreal, 41 year old Thomas Dowd, who is a bit of a computer programer. His help fixed the posting problem, as well as the pasting problem, it seems, as now I am able to do both. The following from Zenith is the first time that i have been able to paste something into the blog. Rejoice with me!


CANADA : President delivers report and New English-language edition of the Roman Missal launched (CCCB – Ottawa) The first day of the annual Plenary Assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) saw a number of major interventions. These included the report of CCCB President Bishop Pierre Morissette of Saint-Jérôme, Quebec; the first presentation by the guest speaker, Archbishop Robert Le Gall, O.S.B., of Toulouse, France; and the address by Archbishop Pedro López Quintana, Apostolic Nuncio to Canada. For the first time in CCCB history, the Canadian Catholic television channel Salt + Light TV broadcast live a number of the Plenary events, on both internet and television.

In his report for 2010-2011, Bishop Morissette focused on the New Evangelization. "It was Blessed John Paul II who proposed this forward-looking approach to the Church already during the 1980s," he said. "The significance of the Pope’s remarks was echoed at the turn of the millennium in his frequently quoted phrase ‘setting out into the deep’. The New Evangelization will be the topic for next year’s Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, as well as for the upcoming Meeting of the Bishops of the Church in America."

Bishop Morissette outlined what he considered the foundational elements of the New Evangelization. "These are based on the experiences of the Church over the past generation, and are also evident in our universal, national and diocesan experiences as Church," he said. "These same elements are apparent in the documents from the Magisterium since the Second Vatican Council, as indicated in the two texts that will be key for our Plenary this year, Sacramentum Caritatis and Verbum Domini. What I wish to do in this report is to link a number of these elements to an overview of what is to come during our Plenary Assembly this week."

The Plenary began 17 October and continues until 21 October at the Nav Canada Centre, Cornwall, Ontario. At the end of the meeting, Bishop Morissette will finish his two-year term as President.

Following the report of the President, Bishops Noel Simard and Gerald Wiesner, O.M.I., presented the report of the Catholic Organization for Life and Family ( which gave an account of its work and projects over the past year. Following this, Bishops Claude Champagne, O.M.I., and Murray Chatlain outlined the past year’s work of the Canadian Catholic Aboriginal Council.

New Edition of the English-language Roman Missal - Plenary2011_2The first day of the Plenary also saw the official launching of the new English-language edition of the Roman Missal for Canada, which has been published by the CCCB Publications Service. Bishop Morissette as the President of the Conference presented the second copy of the Missal to be printed to Archbishop López Quintana. The first copy that was printed will be presented to the Holy Father by the new President of the Conference during the annual visit to Rome in early November.

Bishop Morissette pointed out that the preparation and printing of the new Canadian English-language edition of the Roman Missal involved many people and services over many days and nights of work. This included the invaluable collaboration of Canadian Bishops and their dioceses, the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, the English Sector Commission for Liturgy and the Sacraments as well as the National Liturgy Office, and the Conference’s Publications Service. The CCCB President thanked suppliers and staff for working with the CCCB Executive and making it possible for the Missal to be delivered a month earlier than originally scheduled.

The new edition of the Missal becomes obligatory on the First Sunday of Advent, 27 November 2011, at all English-language celebrations of the Mass in Canada that follow the Roman Rite. That same day, no matter what language the celebration is in, all Eucharistic celebrations of the Roman Rite in the country are also obliged to follow the revised liturgical norms approved by the Holy See and the Bishops of Canada, unless the celebration uses the "extra-ordinary form" of the Latin Mass and the 1962 edition of the Missale romanum.

About 75 Bishops from across the country are participating in the Plenary Assembly, which is reviewing pastoral activities of the past year and also provides them a forum in which to share their experiences and insights on the life of the Church and on the major events that shape society. -

I'm at the CCCB

Blogging will be light this week, as I am attending the 2011 plenary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. See you online again soon! Pray for us!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


From Sept 19-23, this group gather at Queen's House in Saskatoon for our annual Study Days. With two great presenters, Fr. Pau Fachet OMI and Fr. Bill Burke, some were saying this was the best yet. We had also held meetings of the Sounci of Priests, Assembly of Religious and the Curia or leadership team before the event, which lightened the schedule. There was also a day for discussing archdiocesan business, centering especially on the Returning To Our Roots process which contines to unfold in our archdiocese.
Fr. Bill Burke, Director of the National Liturgy Office for the CCCB. presented a day on the new General Instruction for the Roman Missal in a very interesting and dynamic fashion. He allayed some of the fears held by many as he assured us that this was actually a continuation of the work of Vatican II. Hew also presided at the Eucharist which incorporated the changes.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Fr. Paul Fachet OMI, replaced Fr. Ron Rolheiser OMI who was scheduled to come but could not for health reasons. Fr. Paul used two paintings by the German artist Sieger Koder to draw out the deeper, more profound meaning of the two scriptural events of the washing of the feet and the meeting of Jesus with the woman at the well.
The washing of the feet art work by Sieger Koder, a retired priest in Germany, that kept us very attentive as Fr. Paul drew out of us the layers of meaning contained in this picture, especially the acceptance and resistance of Peter, the figure of Jesus collapsed unto the lap of Peter, the fresh water in the bowl, the face of Jesus looking up at Peter, and the link between the foot washing act and the bread and wine, to name a few. This was a very rewarding prayerful experience.
The sescond work of art that Fr. Paul presented to us, which also captivated us as he pointed out the intriguing details such as how her face is transformed in the water, and how the face of Jesus has taken on her features, a mark of his compasstion and totally empathetic listening.
Here, Fr. Bill Burke, Director of the National Liturgy Office for the CCCB, presents on the General Instruction for the Roman Missal (GIRM). He put this new reality into the context of the espectation of a more careful extensive version that was promised right after Vat II. He also streseed that this whole process is actually a completion of Vatican II, not a throwback to a pre-Vatican II stance. We will be studying all this material over the next few weeks and eventually putting out directives on the implementation of the BIRM in our archdiocese.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Installation of Fr. Paul Bringleson

On Sunday, Sept. 4th, Fr. Paul Bringleson was installed at the Sunday Eucharist as pastor of St. Anne parish in Flin Flon, Canadian Martyrs in Cranberry Portage, and Our Lady of the Snows in Snow Lake. The readings on forgiveness fit the occassion well, as central to the life of the church, and the ministry of a priest.
At the end of the ritual, which included mention of Fr. Paul's dog Kismet as the parish mascot, Fr. Paul received a standing ovation. The church was quite full for this occasion, and brother Knight Normand Leclerc presented a donation of over $5,000 to the archdiocese for the seminarian fund, from a fund-raising effort that he spearheaded.
The celebration was followed by a reception, and later on a catered supper for about 100 invited parishioners and guests. Fr. Paul spoke briefly at the end of the supper about the warm reception he had received, and how he hoped his present theme of serving God and loving people would help everyone to work for the common good in an inclusive way. Incidently, Fr. Paul managed to keep track of the score of the Labour Day classic, and let out the not so secret fact that he was a fan of the green and white (made a little easier now that he lives on the border).
Fr. Bill Stang OMI was unable to attend as he was doing weekend ministry in Cumberland House, but Fr. Susai Jesus OMI from Pelican Narrows managed to get to the supper. Sr. Mary Assenmacher, OP, pastoral assistant in The Pas, traveled with me to Flin Flon for the occasion.
Fr. Paul's parents, Fred and Laura Bringleson, travelled from Hamilton to spend a few weeks with Fr. Paul at this time. Paul's mother in particular has made an amazing recovery from serious health problems last year, and both are very much enjoying their stay in the West.

Monday, August 29, 2011


On Saturday, August 27, our volunteer pilot Ted Dodds flew me into Sandy Lake, Ontario (a three hour flight by float plane) for the sacraments of initiation there. We joined Fr. Bart Burke who at the age of 82 is doing tremendous work preparing the young people all week for this great event in their lives. The celebration went well and was followed by a pot luck lunch. Fr. Bart will be celebrating his 83 birthday on August 29th, so the congregation sang Happy Birthday to him. The young people were both confirmed and received first Holy Communion as this event followed the restoration of the order of the sacraments (Confirmation followed by Holy Eucharist).
A high point for me was giving the cnadidates a retreat on being human, Jesus Christ, the challenge of forgiveness, and the Holy Spirit. They were quite attentive and surprisingly good singers. All 18 candidates showed up for the retreat.
As it was four years ago, my arrival happened to be when the annual Berry Ceremony was taking place. After the retreat with the candidates, Fr. Bart, pilot Ted Dodds and I went to the location at the sand pit 8 kilometeres in the bush for the feast. The elders spoke at lenght about the ceremony, I spoke briefly and blessed the food; a drum was given to a young girl who then followed an elder around the lodge so that each person could drum the large ceremonial drum while the girl drummed her drum at the same time. A pipe ceremony took place, after which everyone feasted on moose meat, goose, sturgeon, bannock and berries, as well as a special medicinal tea.

Friday, August 26, 2011


Note: I am finally starting to blog again with the help of our webmaster, Rusty Gardiner, though not yet out of the woods regarding blogging problems.
On Thursday, August 25th, the parish of St. Lawrence in Thompson bid farewell to Fr. Eugene Whyte OMI who had served the parish and the surrounding area (6 missions) for six years. Teh gathering was an informal pot-luck supper with a tremendous amount of great food and a capacity crowd. The plan was to simply have a gathering without a program to allow folks ample time to visit with Fr. Eugene. Here Fr. Eugene is picture cutting the cake. He is planning to go to the Oblate renewal experience at Aix-en-Province in France, followed by the Oblate renewal program Ministry to Ministers in San Antonio, Texas. Certainly his sabbatical is well deserved after serving not just Thompson but the missions of Gillam, Lynn Lake, Souoth Indian Lake, Nelson House and Thicket Portage. In this task he wasgreatly helped by ministry of Sr. Maraget Sadler in Lynn Lake and Srs. Susan Gardner and Ellen Kennedy in Nelson House.
Fr. Eugene passes on his fur hat to Fr. Prosper, with the hope that he might return to experience some Manitoba winter.