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.
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my Lambs.” A second time he said to him, &lqduo;Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep” [John 21.15-17].
Bishop Henry chose this Bible passage as the guide to pastor the people in the Diocese of Calgary. He does it with compassion, love and care and is determined to be an example to others. He was and is never afraid to face and speak the truth defending Catholic dogma, values, and traditions, just as it is expected of a good leader. There are those who accept that truth, and then there are those who do not and act accordingly. If we look at the life of Jesus on earth we can see the parallels. Having said that, I would like you to reflect on the role of a bishop.
Fill in the missing words to complete the sentences (answers below*):
- The bishop is the head of the ______________
- On his head he wears a ______________
- In his hand he holds a ______________
- His “home” church is usually the ______________
- He is an authentic successor of the ______________
- The bishop of an archdiocese is called ______________ Reflection Questions:
- Who chooses a bishop from among the priests?
- What are the responsibilities of a bishop?
- Name the holy sacraments that are administered by the bishop.
- Which of those sacraments can be administered by the priest with the bishop’s permission?
- What is the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB: www.cccb.ca)?
- Who is the current president of the CCCB? Family Activities:
- Explain the role of a bishop to your children in words they can understand.
- Tell your children how to recognize a bishop. What does he wear when celebrating Mass?
- Encourage your children to draw a picture of a bishop.
- What was the name of the bishop who confirmed you?
- Look at photographs of each confirmed family member, remember, and talk about what made those days special!
LET US GIVE THANKS IN PRAYER
Let us pray in thanksgiving for Bishop Henry
who led us for many years through trying times
when the spirit of the world threatened Christian values.
May the presence of the Holy Spirit
be his source of strength,
and may he continue to be an inspiring example
of defending these values.
May the Lord, our God, protect him
and may he experience peace and happiness
in his retirement.
*Diocese, Mitre, Crozier, Cathedral, Apostles, and Archbishop
Share Lent 2016 – Creating a climate of change together!
Each year during Lent, Canadian Catholics are invited to stand in solidarity with communities in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East who are struggling for dignity and justice.
This Lent, inspired by the Jubilee Year of Mercy and Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE invites you to join in a Climate of Change solidarity pilgrimage with our sisters and brothers in the Global South.
By opening our hearts and walking hand in hand with the most poor and vulnerable, we can contribute to building a world rooted in justice, equality, compassion and love. DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE is working to create a climate of change and build a more just world.
Running throughout the six weeks of Lent, this Lent Calendar app features stories of hope about our sisters and brothers around the world who are creating a climate of change. In the face of conflicts, climate change, and decreasing access to land and water, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE’s partners around the world are empowering the most poor and vulnerable to lift themselves out of poverty.
DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE invites you to join in a Climate of Change pilgrimage. You can use this app to guide you through the Lenten season with three simple steps each day: Learn, Pray and Act.
See www.devp.org for more details
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While driving to work on the 4th of January I heard on the radio that the Pope had officially accepted Bishop Henry’s resignation. While I had an inkling that this was coming, it was still a great shock to hear the news confirmed. After 19 years, Bishop Fred Henry, was resigning, due to his serious health issues. As Chancellor of St. Mary’s University, he and I have worked together closely for five and a half years. This activity has included Convocations, blessings at fundraisers and five Bishop’s Dinners. I even recall, with some trepidation, a lone phone call very early in my presidency, where Bishop Henry asked me to join his foursome at a charity golf tournament. When the Bishop calls, you say yes! So, I did. After hanging up I announced to my kids, “I have to learn how to play golf!”You’re on your own.
Needless to say, that tournament was one of the most stressful public events I have ever attended. To suggest that my game was execrable is to be charitable. As I moved towards the cart someone leaned towards me. “He got two holes-in-one last year,” the man whispered, no doubt trying to inspire confidence. “You know Bishop,” I said as we approached the first hole, “ you’ll need to be a bit patient, this is the first time I’ve ever golfed.” Bishop Henry stared at me with those piercing eyes that would drive a lesser man to repent for sins undone: “Charity is for church,” he declared, “This is golf. You’re on your own.” And as he prepared to tee off he added: “You know, I got two holes-in-one last year…” It should be said that Bishop Henry often mentioned my golf game and St. Jude in the same breath. I never knew why….
In interviews about Bishop Henry I have been asked what people will most remember about his time in office. The gist of my answer is that we will remember a man of principle, of conviction and energy, a man of faith and good will; a man unafraid to speak his mind and to defend the mission of the church, who spoke up for the voiceless, and advocated for the homeless, and who believed passionately in the importance of education. He is a man who inspires confidence and conviction; a brilliant raconteur, who is welcoming in his humour and insight, and who is never afraid to stand his ground.
But this is not a eulogy. Bishop Henry will remain a dynamic voice for the Catholic Church, for the underdog, and for those who need his activism. In this sense, I know that he will not go quietly into that good night. He will continue to champion our causes, and to generously offer his prayers and support … except, possibly, on the golf course. There, you’re on your own!