I had a chat with Monseignor Mario Paquette, the General Secretary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, this afternoon. I’ve known Msgr. Paquette for several years now, and we’ve always gotten along well. He has asked me to help form a team to translate the pastoral letter on stewardship of the US bishops into a Canadian context (including into French).
How did I get involved with this? A few years ago I participated in a conference in Toronto of the International Catholic Stewardship Council, and while there I met Archbishop Terrence Prendergast (then in Halifax, now in Ottawa). He has a strong personal interest in the topic, and so we exchanged ideas on how to help bring the stewardship perspective to the Canadian milieu. Some months later I got asked to be part of a diocesan committee that (in part) looks at the funding and budgets of our parishes, and I saw right away that the issue is not really funding and budgets, but discipleship and stewardship. In other words, it is a spiritual problem, not a business problem, and so when I started working here at the archdiocese I got in touch with Archbishop Prendergast to see if he had made any progress on bringing the US document to Canada.
It turned out the answer was no, but not for a lack of interest. I asked my own Archbishop, Cardinal Turcotte, if I could poke around on this topic, and he gave me the green light. The first step will be to get the document translated into French, and that will take time and resources. Msgr. Paquette said he’d send me a copy of the US document next week, so I can get started making a budget estimate. It seems like things might just be starting to move!