Mar 6, 2013
Assembly of Western Catholic Bishops: Edmonton in the Snow!
After celebrating the Rite of Election at St. Andrew's Cathedral I left for a direct flightto Edmonton for the Assembly of Western Catholic Bishops held this year at the Providence Renewal Centre.
The first day was a meeting with First Nations and Metis from the Alberta area. It was a good-size gathering including three of us bishops who sit on the Standing Committee to discuss Aboriginal concerns relative to their relationship with the Church. The Standing Committee always meets for a day prior to the AWCB meeting itself—last year it was in Victoria. Such a gathering of First Nations and Metis is meant to be an opportunity tohelp inform the bishops about aboriginal concerns and finding ways to move forward together.
I was struck by the powerful witness that these men and women demonstrated regarding their Catholic faith and their love for their traditional ways. It was an occasion of a very rich and fruitful dialogue.
The AWCB meeting began with a meeting with the Board of Governors for St. Joseph's Seminary and Newman College in Edmonton. As always we had a very full agenda with reports from all the provinces and territories of western Canada as well as a whole slate of business items. Guest speakers included guests from the Seminary Staff (lay and clerical,), Alberta Catholic Health Care and Fr. William Hann on the topic of the work of the National Federation of Priest's Councils. The Providence Renewal Center is a huge complex established by the Sisters of Providence in 1983 and now serves as a residence for the Sisters as well as a retreat and conference center for Catholic and ecumenical use. As usual for Edmonton, there was lots of snow outside! Next year the bishops will meet in Victoria.
One highlight was the Mass held on Thursday for Pope Benedict XVI on the day of his retirement, February 28th, 2013. It was a beautiful service with most of the clergy of Edmonton, the western bishops and many of the lay faithful. Archbishop Smith's homily was very much to the point and is available through the Archdiocesan website (www.caedm.ca). Afterwards the bishops gathered for a Polish lunch with all of the seminarians from St. Joseph's Seminary. Off to warmer weather on Friday!
~ Download the Bishop's Blog here