Brothers and sisters in Christ,
I hope everyone is staying warm on this chilly January day! I’m sure we have hit our quota of -30 degree days, so hopefully warmer weather will return! I was recently speaking with my brother candidate for the diaconate, Mitch, and he was working up in the north in -40 weather! I’m blessed that my job now involves time indoors! I also wanted to welcome everyone to Ordinary Time! While some may view this as “filler” time between Easter and Christmas seasons, it is the time in which we have to live out our baptismal promises while we patiently wait for the second coming of our Lord! The early Christians thought he would return right away. 2000 years later, we now know that Jesus was talking in “God time”. But, this doesn’t mean we can “slack off” in our duties as God’s adopted children!
I’m now settling back into a bit of a routine, working from my office at Assumption typically Monday to Wednesday. I now spend 2 days per week in St. Paul, and so I’m usually there Thursday and Friday. If you are out and about and see a vehicle parked at Assumption and my lights on, please feel free to stop by for a visit!
Last time I wrote, I was finishing up my fall term and still bouncing back and forth between home and Edmonton. I finished up my term and did very well on my marks. Thank you all for your prayers and words of encouragement! I was able to sneak back to attend our December ministerial association meeting, which was on the same day as our first set of Confirmations under the new sacramental prep program! It was great to see so many young children being sealed by the Holy Spirit! Bishop Paul is always very impressed with our Cold Lake confirmandi! Before Christmas we also had our diocesan Christmas lunch. Our diocesan staff mostly work part time hours, and many of our ministries cause us to be away from the office or working remotely. The Christmas lunch is one of the rare opportunities each year that all of the staff come together. While many of our parishioners never have an opportunity to visit the Pastoral Centre (Villa Maria) or see the diocesan staff, I can say with confidence that they all do their job with dedication and a sincere desire to serve our Lord! The diocesan curia (all those departments and people that make up the diocesan staff) exists to serve the Bishop, which ultimately means serving you!
We had sickness in our house this Christmas (Anna and Aspen missed an entire week of school before the holidays), but we still made it to several of the Christmas Masses. It was a challenging year with 2 back to back Holy Days of Obligation (23/24 and the 25, Dec 31 and Jan 1), but we were only grateful to participate in the Body of Christ, the Church, as we celebrated the birth of Jesus as well as celebrated his Holy Mother!
After Christmas I was honoured to co-host an ecumenical Church Tour event with the Lakeland Lutheran congregation. We visited Assumption and the Lutheran Churches and spent some time getting to know each other’s worship spaces. On Jan 10 I started a 4 day road trip. I spent Wednesday and Thursday in St. Paul doing my usual office work there, which are always busy days. I typically work until late at night so that I can get as much done as possible while I’m there. Then Thursday evening I headed into Edmonton. Friday was a busy day of medical appointments, hospital visits, a brief stop to visit with my neice, and then I had lectures in the evening. This term I am taking 2 canon law courses for the diaconate, as well as a graduate level course on Marriage Law in the Eastern Church (we have many Ukranian Catholics in the Diocese of St. Paul, and their marriage law is slightly different from our own). I’m also taking a course on the Theology of Revelation. However, my Marriage Law in the Eastern Church is held once per month at the Ukranian Catholic Pastoral Centre in Edmonton, and consists of 9 hours of lecture over 2 days! So, it’s quite heavy. But, our Ukranian Catholic brothers and sisters have a great sense of humour, and so they make the course very enjoyable! After my 6 hours of lecture on Saturday, I had a nice dinner at a friends and then made the drive home!
So, what is in store over the next month? I am excited to return to my usual Faith Formation, Food bank, Social Justice, Marian Hour, and Knights of Columbus meetings! I will continue my 2 grad courses and 2 diaconate courses. I am headed to Leduc to present on Camp St. Louis for the Religious Education Network, then 2 days later I will be teaching the teachers of SPERD at their faith development day. We have our Week of Prayer for Christian Unity service on Jan 31, Feast of the Presentation in St. Paul, and many other events!
On a final note, I’m asking everyone to please “Save the date” of June 29th, 6:30pm @ the Cathedral in St. Paul, as that is the day for the Diocese of St. Paul Ordinations to the Permanent Diaconate. While I have not formally recieved my call to ordination, I appreciate how busy everyone’s schedule is and many of you are already making summer plans. You have lifted me up over the last 4 years with your prayers, and so I would love the opportunity to show my gratitude through my reception of Holy Orders.
Please continue to pray for me, just as I always pray for you!
God bless you and keep you safe!