Bishop’s Letter for May

Spring seems to have finally arrived in the diocese!

As I have been travelling around, I have been watching with great interest the slow demise of the ice on the lakes and rivers. I asked one elder in Fort Good Hope whether he had a prediction about when the ice on the river would break up. His reply was good food for thought. He said, “we don’t get to tell nature anything, our job is just to watch, wait and be ready.”

Mackenzie River Fort Good Hope
Mackenzie River near Fort Good Hope

While nature will do what it does some things in life take a more proactive approach, perhaps none more so than raising a family. Next week, May 13-20 is the National Week of Life and the Family, an initiative of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (www.cccb.ca). The theme of the Week for 2018 is: “Love: Encountering the Other.” This year’s resources were developed by the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) and can be found on the CCCB website. You might consider using them for your bulletins or for any special activities that could be organized throughout the month in support of our families

As mentioned, I have begun to travel to visit the communities. Last week I spent some days in Hay River where I celebrated First Communion with 13 of the young people. I also had Mass in the surrounding communities of Katlodeeche and the little village of Kakisa. I had intended to continue south to Edmonton to join in the March for Life but was called instead to Fort Good Hope to be with the community in prayer as they laid to rest one of their elders. I will return to the south of the diocese this coming weekend and will celebrate Ascension Sunday with the parish community in Fort Smith.

St. Anne, Katlodeeche
St. Anne Mission, Katlodeeche

As I spend time with the people in the various regions listening and learning, I feel very grateful for the hard work of the Clergy, the lay pastoral leaders and the faith communities that goes into maintaining a vibrant Church. I also hear of ongoing problems of building and infrastructure as well as a lack of pastoral support. These have and will continue to be concerns for our sparsely serviced diocese and I will be focusing my energy on finding solutions and the help that we need.

To that end, this summer we welcome Doug and Jill Robertson to Inuvik where they will serve as Lay Pastoral Leaders for Our Lady of Victory Parish. Doug is a former chairperson for the OLV Parish Council and is looking forward to returning with his wife Jill to the parish they love so much as well as to visit with their Son and Grandchildren in Inuvik. The Focolare group from British Columbia is sending two groups to the diocese this August and Fr. Mick Fleming, a Redemptorist priest, will also be spending some time up here as well. Peter Nguyen has returned from his studies and is back to helping at Trapper’s Lake and it is our hope to bring some more young people to help at the retreat house as well as with renovation projects in Deline.

These developments, along with many others, are signs of hope that have arrived with Spring. We continue to hold on to the promises of the New Life of Easter Resurrection which will continue to sustain us even as that season of 50 days soon comes to a close with the feasts of Ascension and Pentecost.

In the Redeemer

+Jon

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