Pope Seeks Advice of Youth

If the Pope asked for your opinion or advice, would you give it? In fact, the Pope does just this as often as he convenes a Synod of Bishops. The word “synod” comes from the Greek word meaning assembly and since 1965, under the instruction of Blessed Pope Paul VI, synods of bishops have been called biennially for more than 50 years. It was a synod of bishops in the late 90s that actually prompted the establishment of this magazine, The Carillon, so that proceedings and information could begin being shared around the diocese.

As often as a synod is convoked, a representation of bishops from all around the world come together with the expectation of the Holy Father that they have consulted the faithful of their respective regions in order to bring their thoughts to the discussion. Next year, this will happen again under the chosen theme: Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment. It is the wish of Pope Francis to learn from the diverse perspectives of the universal Church what are the experiences, opportunities and obstacles for youth in our modern world to practice their faith and discover God’s plan for their lives. In the preparatory document which was distributed among all of the dioceses of the world, a set of questions was proposed at the end to guide the efforts of bishops to solicit the feedback of the young people among their flocks. In the Diocese of Calgary, under the direction of Bishop McGrattan, we are working on an exciting and innovative way to use these questions and engage in this discussion.

With the cooperation of the Office of Youth Ministry and the Office of Vocations, a team of young people along with those directly involved in working among them have come together to design a format of consultation which will be conducted throughout the diocese. We have undertaken to organize this process into ten distinct stages involving two phases of surveys. Using a digital platform of survey generation, we will be able to reach a diverse and vast population of the diocese. The idea behind the two phases is to use the first phase in order to collect demographic information about the respondents and thereby organize them into four broad contexts which will determine the style of survey they receive in the second phase. These customized surveys will produce more representative results of modern youth and young adults’ response to faith and vocation. The four broad categories have been identified as those: willingly practicing Faith; unwillingly practicing Faith (due to the influence of others); not practicing Faith due to lack of interest; & not practicing Faith due to disagreement with it.

On an experimental basis and with the invaluable collaboration of the Calgary Separate School District, we will launch our digital surveys among high school students before the widespread use of the surveys throughout the rest of the diocese later in the fall. We will compile the anonymous results into a report which can then be sent to the Vatican in advance of the Synod as well as for our own use in shaping the future of youth and young adult ministry in the Diocese of Calgary. When the Pope asks for your input, one is wise to give it!

Youth and Young Adults Ministry

Related Offices Youth & Young Adult
Related Themes Youth and Young Adults Vocations Youth Ministry Family

2017 Women Religious Jubilarians

Please join us congratulating our women religious jubilarians of 2017 for their years of devoted service. They have been a joyful witness to all!

Sr. Helen Hengel, SCSL (75th Anniversary)
Sr. Mary Spence, SCSL (75th Anniversary)
Sr. Clemence Liboiron, SCSL (70th Anniversary)
Sr. Marjorie Perkins, FCJ (65th Anniversary)
Sr. Theresa Parker, SSM (60th Anniversary)
and Sr. Patricia Derbyshire, SCSL (50th Anniversary)

The women religious of the Diocese of Calgary are looking forward to participating at One Rock 2017. Please stop by and say hello!

Related Offices Vocations
Related Themes Jubilarians Vocations Women Religious

A Legacy of Diakonia – Permanent Deacons of Calgary

The way the story is told, new Calgary Bishop Henry called two special people into his office. One was a priest who may have had a right to ask if he had earned retirement consideration. The other was the Chancellor of the Diocese. Bishop Henry commissioned Fr. Bill Trienekens and Sr. Maria Nakagawa to begin a diaconate program immediately. There was no way he was going to allow sentiment against the idea develop.

Fr. Bill and Sr. Maria asked him for a year to research what other dioceses had been doing to form deacons. He answered that, they could do all the research they wanted, but the diaconate formation process was to begin right away.

Since then, more than 50 permanent deacons have been ordained in the Diocese of Calgary. This is a legacy which has served the Calgary diocesan church since the first 12 were ordained at St. Mary’s Cathedral 15 years ago. Three of our deacons had been previously ordained in other dioceses.

In a contradiction to the idea that deacons might undermine the priesthood, pastors started to ask Bishop Henry when one could be assigned to their parish.

Bishop Henry has always affirmed that the diaconate should not compromise marriages and families. We are grateful for so many gifts.

St. Paul tells Timothy, his co-worker in faith, that deacons “must hold fast to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience” [1 Tim. 3:9]. If we have been able to accomplish this to any extent, it has been inspired by the Apostolic witness of Bishop Henry who has shown himself “worthy of the calling to which (he) has been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience… and love” [Eph 4:1-2]. For this witness, we will always have hearts full of gratitude.

Related Offices Carillon Diaconate
Related Themes Vocations

Bishop's Homily on the Feast of the Birth of St. John the Baptist (2016)

Homily delivered by Bishop Frederick Henry on the Feast of the Birth of St. John the Baptist during the year-end Mass of the Diocesan Youth Retreat Team (DYRT) , on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of his Episcopal Ordination.

John the Baptist is the only saint, whose birth is celebrated with a solemn feast. We have it on June 24th, six months before celebrating the birth of Jesus on December 25th. Recalling Jesus’ birth at Christmas coincides more or less with the winter solstice. Just as the light of the sun begins to make a comeback after darkness has reached its peak, we celebrate the birth of the light of the world. The  birthday of John the Baptist, in contrast, is recalled just after the summer solstice. This too is symbolic, for as the light of the sun begins to decrease after reaching its peak, we celebrate the birth of the one who said of Jesus, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

This question was asked by the neighbours and relations : “What will this child turn out to be?” could be asked of any of us. It is a question that could be asked about any of us at any stage of our lives, “What will we turn out to be?,” or to put the question in terms of religious faith, “What does God want us to be”? “Is there a divine purpose for our lives?”

The purpose of John’s life and God’s purposes for all of us have much in common. Our Maker wants all of us to do what John did, to point out the Saviour, to make way for Jesus, to lead others to him by what we say and do.

John the Baptist, whose birth we now celebrate, has something to teach us about how to follow our God-given calling. He was a man of quiet – the desert – and a man of prayer. We all need to find our own desert place of prayer if we are to remain true to our calling to lead others to the Lord, if we are to turn out as God wants us to.

This Feast Day is a very important one in my life, it’s the day the real fun began.

The auxiliary of London, Bishop Marcel Gervais, had recently been appointed Bishop of Sault Ste. Marie.

At the annual  priest’s party on the Feast of the Epiphany in 1986, as we were sharing a beverage before supper, Bishop Sherlock said to me: “When they make you a bishop, you’re going to have to shave off that damn mustache.” A bizarre comment seemingly coming from nowhere. My flippant response was: “No bloody way!”

The rumour mill quickly kicked into high gear as to whom should and would be our next auxiliary bishop.

One of my aunts, who liked to think that she knew everything about what was going on in the church announced to my parents that Fr. X was going to be our new bishop. One evening when I went home for supper, they, in turn, informed me. I responded: “He doesn’t have a hope in hell of being our next bishop, my chances are much greater than his” and I hastened to add: “and if  I were asked, I would turn it down.”  My father’s response was: “Do you think that the Holy Spirit has anything to do with the choice.” I said: “Yes, but I’m not sure how much.” Case closed, or so I thought. The speculation continued and suddenly my name was being mentioned among the diocesan wags - albeit as a long shot but it was starting to bother me.

One night I had a nightmare. In my dream all the priests were in the Cathedral and a close priest friend of mine was giving the homily and from the pulpit he looked down at me in the front row and congratulated me. Seeing the puzzled look on my face, he said, “You don’t know, do you? You’ve just been named our new auxiliary!” At that moment , I broke out in tears, woke up in a fright, and my pillow was wet from the tears.

The nightmare was so disturbing that I went to see my spiritual director. I told him that he was going to think that I was crazy but I had to talk to him about my worry and anxiety that this might just happen. He simply said: “Don’t worry, it’s not likely, but pray to know and do God’s will and whatever happens will happen.” I followed his advice.

As Rector of the Seminary, I used to help out in parishes on weekends, and on the third Sunday in Easter, I was assisting in a parish where the pastor wanted to retire but the Bishop and personnel committee, of which I was a member, weren’t so sure was a good idea. In any event, I preach the homily at all four masses, and the parish priest has to listen to all four times.  My homily centred around Jesus question to Peter: “Do you love me?” and I suggested that it was a question he asks of all of us. I pounded away on the repetition of the question and how this is the bottom line - “Yes, or no. there is no in between.”  If ‘yes,’ then Jesus says to each of us: “”Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.”

At lunch after all the masses, the pastor complimented me and said that the homily was almost as if I was as if I was speaking directly to him. On my drive home to the seminary, I’m thinking -‘Yes, I got him!’

On Wednesday of that week, I received a telephone call at 8:30 in the morning from the Apostolic Nuncio in Ottawa, Archbishop Angelo Palmas, who said: “The Holy Father has appointed you auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of London. Will you accept?” My first thought was to recall Sunday homily and how I had been really preaching to myself and God had set me up. I said: “Yes”. But thought, ‘God, you don’t play fair!”

The rest, as they say, is history. I was ordained a bishop on June 24th, 1986, the Feast of the Birth of John the Baptist.  Although I didn’t want to be a bishop, I am glad that I am as I’m really enjoying it - it’s a great life!

Bishop Frederick Henry
June 24, 2016

Related Offices Bishop's Related Programs Diocesan Youth Retreat Team
Related Themes Vocations Priesthood

Pope Francis’ New Exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” or “The Joy of Love".

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops joyfully welcomes the Holy Father's Post-Synodal Exhortation Amoris Laetitia: On Love in the Family. As the national assembly of the Catholic Bishops of this country, we encourage its prayerful reception among all the faithful, and recommend its careful study to married couples and families, and to those agencies and organizations working with them, as well as to pastors and those in consecrated life who are called to be at the service of family life.

Bishops across Canada will be issuing their own statements of welcome, and engaging in discussions and conversations on the Exhortation with the members of their diocesan and eparchial churches. For its part, this Conference will assist the Bishops in their reflections and discussions on the Exhortation, in view of integrating and implementing its insights and teachings into the pastoral life of the Church.

The Apostolic Exhortation reminds us that "the desire to marry and form a family remains vibrant, especially among young people," and that "the Christian proclamation on the family is good news indeed" (no. 1). At the same time, the Exhortation reflects on the "crises, worries and difficulties" which face family life (no. 231), and reminds pastors and communities of faith to prepare couples for marriage (no. 205) and accompany them in the first years of married life (no. 217). Likewise, Amoris Laetitia challenges all the faithful to do more in accompanying, discerning and integrating those family situations which "radically contradict" the ideal of Christian marriage or "realize it in at least a partial and analogous way" (n. 292).

Amoris Laetitia reiterates the necessity of protecting human life from beginning to its natural end. In the section entitled "The Transmission of Life and the Rearing of Children", the Holy Father points out that "if the family is the sanctuary of life, the place where life is conceived and cared for, it is a horrendous contradiction when it becomes a place where life is rejected and destroyed." Citing the Relatio Finalis of the 2015 Synod of Bishops, Pope Francis affirms: "The family protects human life in all its stages... Consequently, 'those who work in healthcare facilities are reminded of the moral duty of conscientious objection. Similarly, the Church not only feels the urgency to assert the right to a natural death, without aggressive treatment and euthanasia', but likewise 'firmly rejects the death penalty'" (no. 83).

The Bishops of Canada are deeply thankful to Pope Francis for focusing the attention of the Universal Church on the importance of marriage and family, for reminding all the faithful of the urgent priority of accompanying families in hope and mercy, and for inviting Christian families to "value the gifts of marriage and the family" (no. 5).

Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
Ottawa, April 8, 2016

Link to the Apostolic Exhortation

Read/Download online – PDF file

To order the exhortation from CCCB Publications. click here

Related Offices Bishop's Life & Family Resource Centre (LFRC)
Related Themes Discipleship Consecrated Life Vocations Catholic Teachings Married Life Family
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