Wednesday, June 2, 2010
I went to Pukatawagan for the weekend because Father Pietro Bignami OMI, the pastor, has had two strokes while in Winnipeg visiting his doctor that left him with slurred speech, very weak, partially paralyzed and somewhat confused. We are not sure that he will be able to recover enough to return to Pukatawagan even for a last visit. He is now at the Riverview Health Center, 1 Morley Ave, (204) 478-6203, and would certainly appreciate a visit from anyone when they are in Winnipeg.
One of the firs things that happend on the visit was a meeting with some of the leaders (flora Grieves and Mary Ann Dumas) and elders pictured here who were both concerned about Fr. Pietro, but also with what will be happening in his absence. They are willing to pick up the ministry load but were looking forward to a break over the summer with Fr. present in the community as he promised, from all the ministry there were doing all winter in his absence, Now we will have to struggle to find a replacement priest. This highlights the need to call forth vocations to priesthood and religious life from our own families and communities.
I was able to start up the mission truck, even with a very low battery, and drive around the community, visiting a bit with people walking down the street, like those pictured here.
These are some of the young people who attended church on Sunday and helped out with the serving. Their help and presence is greatly appreciated and bodes well for the future of the Church in Pukatawagan.
One of the ministries that is faithfully carried out by Miles is ringing the bell to summon everyone to the celebration of the Eucharist.
The music ministry during mass is pictured here, adding a real feeling of celebration to the mass.
A special feature of the life of the Church in Pukatawagan is the very active and lively music ministry that was practiciing Saturday evening when I arrived, and who practice again in the sacristy just before the celebration begins.
On Sunday after the celebration of the Eucharist, I was invited to the home of Angus and Pelagie Linklater where I celebrated the sacrament of reconciliation with Pelagie who can no longer come to mass, anointed her and gave her communion within a mini-celebration with her family, and enjoyed a great meal of pickeral after.
A young couple preparing to get married. Thank God we were able to find the papers and put things in order for their wedding on June 18th.
This young couple, very much in love, is also planning to get married later in the summer, and we were able to locate their paper work as well.
Upon arrival in Pukatawagan, Valerie Whyte asked me to visit Hyacinthe, her uncle, as he wanted to be anointed and to receive communion. Our mini-celebration in his house began with singing in Cree, which he loves to so. he is 93 years old and after the celebration, told his niece in Cree that now he was ready to go!
Ron Dumas generously gave me a ride to and from the airport and shared a bit about his work in the community and at the airport, as I left to return home to The Pas after a very busy but enjoyable 24 hours in Pukatawagan.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
The newly initiated candidates of Canoe Narrows gather for a group shot on a beautiful day. This was one of the largest groups in recent memory for this community. Fr. Louis Legare OMI, the pastor, was away on retreat with his brother Oblates in Winnipeg and so was not present for this celebration.
Most of the missions in our archdiocese are located on or near a river or lake and have a beautiful view. Canoe Narrows is an example of that. This is the view from the deck of the church.
The little rectory in Canoe Narrows consisting of a bedroom, living room, small office and small kitchen. The shower, toilet and hot water heater are all crowded in the bedroom, which is not the best situation but certainly handy and a lot better than an outdoor biffy.
The dream of building a grotto was realized some years back. It is situated near the rectory on the shore of the lake.
The church at Canoe Narrows which was newly painted and given new windows when Fr. Robert Laroche OMI was pastor some years ago.
Two young candidates who were involved in a sports day on the day of the initiation were confirmed at the weekday mass the day before, shortly after I arrived, and stayed to participate in the retreat that evening.
I was invited to attend the memorial service for Elvis that was held at the gym as we were ending the retreat in preparation the ceremony of initiation. I was able to get there just as it was finishing (in time for the food). This was a thoughtful, caring and prayerful gesture on the part of the community for the grieving family.
Ambroise Corrigal with elders waiting patiently for the feast at the reception.
These three beauties posed for the camera during the reception after the ceremony.
Gilbert and Veronique Iron generously provided me with breakfast of pancakes made from his special recipe along with birch syrup that Gilbert made himself - a unique and delicious breakfast.
Margaret Opekokew is one of the respected elders in Canoe Narrows that I enjoy visiting. I was able to anoint her and bring her communion, accompanied by Linda Lariviere who usually stays longer when she visits.
Mrs. Alice Opekokew, one of the elders that I was able to visit and bring communion to during my short stay in Canoe Narrows.
Part of the crowd that gathered at the school gym after the celebration for a meal and fellowship.
Linda Lariviere who so generously gave of her time and expertise to share her faith with the candidates and help them prepare for this great event in their lives.
One of the tables visiting and feasting during the reception