CFN –Now that his first task of participating in what’s referred to as the “Bishops’ Course 101” as well as some regularly scheduled gatherings of bishops, Alexandria-Cornwall’s new bishop, Marcel Damphousse, is eagerly taking up the challenge of getting to know not only the people of the diocese and our needs, but also of getting to know the people of the region. Generally, when a bishop is assigned to an area, prevailing wisdom has it that the first several months to a year is spent primarily learning to read the pulse of the diocese.
“In the very first months of my ministry as the new bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall Diocese, I seek to meet with the people who, through their service, leadership and participation, build up the Kingdom of God. A day never goes by without meeting new individuals and groups, allowing me to discover the richness in diversity and talent these men and women and children live out their faith lives. I believe there is plenty of good to work with for the future of our Church and our community.”
Due to the planned suppression of Nativity Parish, the diocese has taken over responsibility for the former Nativity Hall, transforming the lion’s share of the building into a faith education centre and gathering place. The diocese continues to operate Nativity Lanes and also offers the public the possibility of renting either of two halls for gatherings of various sorts. In part, the Open House was to afford the public an opportunity to view the larger of the halls, which easily houses 500 for a banquet-style meal. Come along with us for a video tour of the Meet and Greet and get a glimpse of the more than 30 ministries which were showcased that day.
Locally, the Daisy progam (prayer partners for priests) and overlapping Trillium program (prayer partners for deacons) have witnessed an evolution this year which brought about the added participation of priestly seminarians.
Speaking of boys and men preparing for the priesthood, the diocese is home to the novitiate for the Legionaries of Christ, located in Summerstown. Legionaries participated in the Daisy/Trillium Mass, the Agora Open House and other recent events.
Regular viewers of CFN may well recall our report on the October 21st 75th Anniversary celebration at St. Francis de Sales Parish.
Of course, not everyone was able to be in Rome for the recent canonization of the first Native North American Saint, Kateri Tekakwitha. Fortunately, related celebrations were available closer to Cornwall, as reported recently on CFN.
Francophone men and women religious from seven congregations/communities took advantage of the opportunity to share with their new bishop a summary of their ministry efforts here in the diocese. 18 of the 20 religious were able to participate.
More recently, the Anglophone Sisters of the Holy Cross received Bishop Marcel at one of their houses in Alexandria for a gathering over lunch.
It may come as a surprise to some to learn that the ministry of a bishop, and indeed Christians in general, is not even remotely limited to one’s own denomination or faith group. People of faith are challenged to build bridges, striving for greater understanding and appreciation of others who make up the mosaic of our community. As such, Bishop Marcel is a member of an ecumenical group of Christian leaders as well as a member of a group of spiritual leaders which goes well beyond the realm of Christianity.
No doubt, in the months ahead there will be more opportunities for people to get to meet the new bishop. Bishop Marcel will preside at a special celebration for veneration of the Icon of Our Lady of Guadeloupe on Dec. 12, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. at St. Andrews Church. As well, details are being finalized for another “Meet the Bishop” evening on January 27, 2013 at the Agora Catholic Centre.
Don Smith reports on a variety of topics, notably good news items as well as social justice issues.