SASKATOON — Two priests ordained on the same day in 1965 by Bishop Francis Klein recently celebrated their 50th anniversaries in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon.
A celebration for Rev. Denis Phaneuf was held May 31 at St. Paul’s Co-Cathedral, while Monsignor Raymond Senger’s anniversary was marked June 6 at the cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon, and June 8 in his home town of Tramping Lake, Sask.
Born in Prince Albert and educated in Saskatoon, Phaneuf studied theology at St. Paul’s Pontifical University in Ottawa before his ordination on June 5, 1965. Phaneuf has served at numerous parishes across the diocese. He co-founded My Father’s House for Alcoholics, and also spent time in hospital chaplaincy and mentoring other ministries and movements.
“My heart is full of praise and thanksgiving for 50 years of having the privilege to serve the Lord here in this diocese,” said Phaneuf at the prayer service held during a come-and-go tea with family, friends, colleagues and former parishioners. Bishop Donald Bolen extended a blessing over Phaneuf and all those living in consecrated life.
In a brief address, Bolen spoke about “the beauty and the tenderness of faithfulness over time.” This can be seen in every vocation, including marriage, religious life and single life, as well as the priesthood, the bishop noted.
Born and raised at Tramping Lake, Senger became a teacher before being accepted into St. Pius X Seminary in Saskatoon, and then continuing his formation at St. Peter’s Seminary in London, Ont. Ordained June 5, 1965, Senger celebrated his first mass at St. Michael Church in Tramping Lake. While serving as assistant priest at St. Joseph Parish in Kindersley, he taught in the Catholic school system. Senger has served parishes throughout the diocese. He also served as pastor at St. Anne’s Home in Saskatoon. He was named monsignor April 2, 2012, a pontifical honour conferred by Pope Benedict XVI.
Senger’s anniversary celebrations began with mass June 6, concelebrated with a number of his brother priests. An honour guard was formed by members of the Knights of Columbus Fourth Degree, which Senger has served as chaplain. Bolen gave the homily, reflecting upon the readings chosen by Senger for the celebration, including Micah 6.
“Msgr. Ray, thank you for staying close to that calling, for your ministry never losing site of the simplicity of the Gospel call to act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with your God,” said Bolen.
Bolen noted Senger’s diligence and faithfulness in his parish work, and his love of the people he served. The bishop quoted Senger’s own reflection on his call, in which he wrote, “My priesthood has been a great blessing and wonder in my life. I am always aware of my unworthiness and of his love for me.”
An afternoon tea was part of the celebration at Holy Family Cathedral in Saskatoon, followed by a supper and program of speakers. Senger’s anniversary celebration two days later in Tramping Lake included mass at St. Michael Church, followed by a banquet and program at the community hall.