Brothers and sisters in Christ,
Sometimes technology is grand. I’m sitting on a charter bus on my way back to Cold Lake from the Ukrainian Culture and Heritage Village. Wifi on the bus, laptop fired up, and getting my monthly blog entry done! This is a great use of time, as with only 2 weeks until we kick off Camp St. Louis, every hour matters.
Speaking of kicking off Camp St. Louis, it also means that my 6 month sabbatical from parish ministry is also rapidly approaching! I will miss all of the wonderful people at St. Dominic and Assumption parishes! I’m still going to try to pop in for the occasional Mass. Please pray for me, and as I mentioned in my bulletin entry a couple weeks ago, please give Anna and Aspen a hug when you see them!
This past month has been exceptionally busy. The highlight of my month was attending Aspen’s Confirmation and watching her receive Holy Communion for the first time! It was so special for us, as we had Fr. Paul, a great family friend, attend as Aspen’s sponsor. Also, a big thank you to Bishop Paul for being such a graceful shepherd. I had the double honour of attending as Aspen’s dad, but also being a confirmation sponsor for Adrien. I journeyed with him and the other adults/teens during their Confirmation preparation, and so it was an honour to be part of that process. God bless him and his fiance and daughter as they continue their faith journey! We wrapped up our 5 part Together in Christ series with our brothers and sisters in the Lutheran Church. It was a wonderful ecumenical exercise and I look forward to the wonderful things that will come of this relationship. I haven’t had many chances, but this month I was able to stop by and assist at the Food Bank for a few hours. We also started planning for the fall Deanery Mass. This year the them will be Growing in Faith, Growing in Christ, and will focus on celebrating the religious education program which is being rolled out across the diocese. Another highlight of my month was being able to assist the Missionaries of Charity, St. Teresa of Calcutta’s congregation, as they spent a day at Holy Cross Elementary School. The sisters are amazing witnesses to our faith as well as to Mother Teresa’s charism. We are very blessed to have them in the diocese. We had a cleanup day at Camp St. Louis. After working for the day getting the camp ready for the summer, Anna, Aspen and I headed up to Fort McMurray. The following day I attended St. Paul Parish and did a round of promotions for the camp. Then at the next Mass we witnessed the ordination of Jestoni to the diaconate. We are blessed to have such a caring and faithful young man in our diocese. Please pray for him as he prepares for his priestly ordination later this year. For the second year I was invited to the LCSSD Youth Liturgical Leadership year end retreat. I presented a brief talk on gratitude and it’s relationship to scripture. A big thank you to Julie Chorney for her invitation. I also had a chance to teach the rosary to the Grades 4-6 students at Holy Cross Elementary and do a promo for Camp St. Louis at Assumption Junior/Senior High School’s year end liturgy. We had our year end Diaconate Retreat, with Sr. Zoe (my faculty advisor at Newman Theological College) being our retreat master. It was a great opportunity for prayer, reflection, and of course socializing with the other candidates, aspirants, and deacons (and the wonderful wives who keep us all relatively sane!). I had my usual social justice, Ministerial, and Camp St. Louis meetings.
For school, I am 75% done my course on Contemporary Catholic Philosophy. I slightly miscalculated my work load and this course has been exceptionally challenging to balance with the prep work for getting Camp St. Louis ready. I wrapped up my last diaconate course of the year, Christology. Unlike the last 2 years, I am not taking the optional diaconate courses this summer. I have another philosophy course to take (starting July), so I will be busy enough with school. As well, but not taking my 2nd optional course, I will actually have 2 weeks off at the end of August with no work and no school! I’ll need this time to recharge and get ready for 4 months of full time schooling in Edmonton!
My challenge for you this month is to please pray one rosary for the youth of Camp St. Louis! Please pray that they have a fun week at camp, and that during the fun and friendships, they are able to build on their relationship with Christ!
God bless you and keep you safe.