By Archbishop Gerard Pettipas, C.Ss.R
On January 25th past, I celebrated the seventh anniversary of my ordination as a bishop and installation as the bishop of our archdiocese. It is amazing how quickly the time goes. As I reflect on the last seven years, I am amazed at how quickly the years have gone by. More significantly, I am also struck by how much we have accomplished in the past few years. This is not by my labour alone—we have many people to thank for their efforts and zeal. To highlight just a few, I would mention:
The building up of structures that support the growth and development of our diocesan Church. Some of these are brand new; others existed in the past but needed to be renewed. I think of the Curia, the pastoral zones (deaneries, as we now call them), the Archdiocesan Finance Committee, the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, various committees (Native pastoral committees, youth committee, faith formation committee), the Council of Priests.
Ministries Development. We have reshaped the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis. We have hired first one youth ministry coordinator, and when she left, hired another. We have succeeded in bringing more priests to our diocese to serve the needs of our far-reaching parishes. Some of these have committed themselves to lifetime service in this archdiocese.
Seminary Recruitment. We have had a number of young men enter the seminary in the last several years. God willing, two of these will be ordained to the priesthood in the next couple of years.
Future directions: God’s call and our pastoral needs. We held a diocese-wide survey in 2008, and are now embarking on a process leading us to a Congress in 2015. I have also held a pastoral visitation of one deanery each year, so as to understand better our many communities.
Mission 2010 brought twenty Redemptorist mission preachers to our diocese. This experience and their message continues to impact those who took part.
Communications. While continuing to be a challenge, we are coming to know our diocese better. My monthly letters (like this one), our web-site, the Archdiocesan Policy Handbook and the Archbishop’s Dinner all help to make us aware that we are members of a diocesan family, and to perceive how each parish touches us all.
These, of course, are not my personal accomplishments—they have been realized thanks to the Lord and the efforts of many, many people, including you. As I celebrate this anniversary, I am very grateful!
Archbishop Gerard Pettipas, C.Ss.R.
Archdiocese of Grouard-McLennan
P.S.: The new chancery office building in Grande Prairie is showing signs of progress. The contractor assures us that they are still on target, and that the chancery office should be ready for occupancy at the beginning of June. View photos of the construction here >>