REGINA — Four years ago 23-year-old Parker Love decided to convert to Roman Catholicism. He took the RCIA (Right of Christian Initiation of Adults) course and joined parishioners at Resurrection Parish. It wasn’t long after that he felt the call to priesthood and began that journey at St. Joseph’s Seminary, Edmonton.
Two years into his studies a mountain bike accident in the summer of 2013 interrupted that journey. He spent months in a Calgary hospital recovering from injuries that left him in a wheelchair as a paraplegic. But his determination to become a priest never left him and on August 15 he took another step toward his goal when Regina Archbishop Daniel Bohan installed him as lector during Resurrection Parish’s Saturday afternoon mass. His family in the front pew witnessed the event.
There was initial concern whether he could continue his spiritual journey, but with support from the archbishop and St. Joseph’s Seminary, he will return to St. Joseph’s this fall to continue his studies.
Bohan in his homily told the large congregation that lector is really a lay position but it is an important ministry in the church. Referring to the four readings of the last four Sundays he pointed out that Jesus is present in the eucharist and in the Word and therefore proclaiming the Word is important. “Jesus is the wisdom of the Word come into the world to teach us, so we do something very special when we read the Word,” said the archbishop.
Love sat in his wheelchair alongside his family at the front of the church for the beginning of mass. At the beginning of the installation ceremony Bohan called out Love’s name, who responded, “Here.” A moment later he was asked to join the archbishop on the podium beside the altar in the sanctuary. Using a ramp built when the church was constructed and hidden behind the choir area he rolled up and joined the archbishop and Resurrection pastor Rev. Stephen Bill. He received a blessing from Bohan then accepted a leather-covered Bible presented by Bohan.
“Read the Word often,” said Bohan, “and meditate on it.” Love remained on the sanctuary podium for the remainder of the mass and was among the first to receive the eucharist from the archbishop.
Love and the archbishop remained in the gathering area after mass greeting the congregation as many stayed to enjoy cake and coffee.