January 2021

Hip deep in canon law, part 3: our new Official Gazette!

While it went up on the web a couple of days ago, I wanted to wait until today's introductory email went out before announcing it on my blog: we have a new diocesan publication! Welcome to the Official Gazette of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie!

Here is the email I sent out to our distribution list today, explaining what it is about:

Dear friends,

Hip deep in canon law, part 2: the presbyteral council

Yesterday I wrote about my work on a national level in canon law. Today, I spent a big part of my day doing canon law, only this time for my diocese.

The Code of Canon Law says that every diocese is supposed to have a special advisory body called the Presbyteral Council. This council ceases when the diocese loses its bishop, but it must be reconstituted within 6 months of a new bishop taking office.

Hip deep in canon law

One of my areas of service to the Church in Canada is as chairman of the standing committee for canon law of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. This is now my second three-year mandate on the committee, following a first mandate in which we managed to produce new bylaws for the conference (the last ones hadn't been updated since 1984). Now, we have a new project: to update all the Procedural Norms for the conference.

Updating our diocesan sex abuse reporting policy

One of the more difficult tasks I've had to do in my time as a bishop has been to receive complaints, and the most difficult of all has been receiving allegations of sex abuse against Church officials. Some of my work in this area is a matter of public record, but in addition to all that I've also helped work on background stuff like policy development.

The Catholic tradition of the Friday fast

Simple meal tonight. Some Catholics do fish on Friday, but as for me when I cook for myself I usually do pasta (no meat in the sauce). For non-Catholics (or maybe Catholics too) wondering why the special diet: Jesus died on a Friday, so it is our tradition to do a penance (such as not eating meat) on Friday, in union with Him.

UPDATE: A Facebook reader asked the following question: "Hmmm... disn't that get kicked with Vatican 2?"

Short answer: no! In fact, there is no mention of the Friday fast at all in the documents of Vatican II.

Rotary Park Trail

When I lived in Montreal I would go for a good walk every morning (well, I'd try to). I know Sudbury has many trails but I hadn't tried any of them yet. Well, we had a gorgeous sunny morning today, so I set out to discover the one closest to my residence: the Rotary Park Trail. It was lovely! And I'll tell you, 12000 steps in the snow, with trees to cut the wind,  means you barely feel the cold. Walking in the sunlight is important for me given my seasonal affective disorder, so who knows, maybe this will become part of my daily routine.

News articles on the diocesan shutdown

I was interviewed by a couple of journalists regarding the decree we issued yesterday closing the churches to the public celebration of the mass. The North Bay Nugget had this article:

Local diocese cancels in-person Sunday mass

It is very brief and basically contains information we provided in our press release. I'm glad it was useful to them.

Radio-Canada also came in did a video interview of me at the diocese, and published this article in French.

Visit to Precious Blood Cathedral

When this diocese was established back in 1904 Rome decided that the seat of the bishop would be in the city of Sault Ste. Marie, with Sacré Coeur as its cathedral. The first bishop, however, decided to remain in North Bay, where he established a pro-cathedral for the exercise of his ministry. It is that church, the Pro-Cathedral of the Assumption, where I was installed.

One of the four corners of the diocese

This is a bit of a combined post for the past couple of days. I mentioned in a post dated two days ago that I was headed to Wawa via the Soo. Well, I made it! The Wawa goose is proof of that!

I got to the rectory of Saint Monica parish in Wawa around lunchtime. It was a gorgeous drive up. Upon arriving, Fr. Michael treated me to a traditional meal from Ghana (his home country), and then took me on a tour of the town. We then had two masses that evening, and after I hit the hay.

Ma première entrevue à Église diocésaine

"Quoi?" vous me demandez. "Première entrevue? Tu n'as pas déjà une entrevue avant cela?"

Oui, bien sûr, mon cher interlocuteur! Mais aujourd'hui, c'était ma première fois comme animateur! Je n'avais jamais animé une émission de télévision avant aujourd'hui. Un grand merci à Monsieur Marc Larochelle d'avoir accepé d'être mon cobaye. :-)

Je crois beaucoup à la mission de l'émission Église diocésaine, et j'ai hâte de vivre l'expérience une prochaine fois.

MISE-À-JOUR: voici l'entrevue!

Overnight in the Soo

My pastoral visit this weekend is to the northwesternmost part of our diocese (Wawa, White River and Dubreuilville). If I were to head straight to Wawa from Sudbury it would be a 6 hour drive, assuming good weather and no stops along the way. As I could only head out in the afternoon, and I didn't want to drive isolated stretches of road for the first time at night, I decided to stop over in Sault Ste. Marie. After all, I have a Cathedral there!

Catching up with one of my former professors

Back when I was a student at Concordia University I had Professor Mahesh Sharma as one of my teachers. At that time I was also very involved in student life. One weekend, as we were leaving the building after working late, we ran into Professor Sharma leaving his office. It turned out he had been in all day, meeting students in his office and helping them with their studies. Not long after we have Professor Sharma a special award for his dedication as a teacher.

Persian night in the kitchen!

Last weekend we celebrated the feast of the Epiphany, and so to commemorate the Magi who visited the infant Jesus I decided to cook a Persian dish: Noodle Soup! Although, to be honest, it turned out to be more of a noodle vegetable stew. But it was still delicious!

I started by frying some red onion in olive oil until it was nice and crisp. This was to serve as a garnish later, and really helped make the dish.

Visit to Our Lady of Hope

Visits to churches continue! This weekend I was at Our Lady of Hope. I started to the do math: my 14th church visit so far!

I have to admit,  I love the name of this parish. Hope is at the heart of my personal spirituality, and we often don't realise how Mary's faith was not just a faith in God but in his providence in his plan. In other words, Mary, the model of our faith, is also the model of our hope.

Many thanks to Fr. Larry for his warm welcome!

Back to Sudbury, day 3, part 1: Mass at Saint Peter the Apostle parish

Day 3 of my journey back to Sudbury brought me to Saint Peter the Apostle parish, also in North Bay. Although this parish is not equipped for streaming the service, the pastor still made sure to offer mass even if only a maximum of 10 people could be present. This led to a moment of amusement: as I pulled up in the parking lot, parish greeters came to warn me that there was no more room. They quickly recognized me, though, and we had a good laugh about my presence: "I guess you can go in, Bishop!"