REGINA — Apostolic Nuncio to Canada Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi and Archbishop Daniel Bohan had a busy Oct. 7. The day began with an early morning breakfast at the Hotel Saskatchewan, greeting recipients of papal honours. A tour of three Catholic elementary schools and one high school followed breakfast. An afternoon rest period and an evening centennial celebration mass at the cathedral ended their day.
Bonazzi said he was well aware of how proud Bohan is of the people who help in the archdiocese. He also expressed the “deep and profound gratitude of Pope Francis” for their work.
The school visits followed a pattern where the nuncio was introduced to staff and students in classrooms, except for St. Luke Alternative School and Miller Catholic High School. The nuncio was introduced, usually said a few words, conferred a blessing, was given a brief tour then left for the other schools. St. Michael’s and Mother Teresa Middle School were the other two schools visited.
The school tour was joined by Director of Education Rob Currie, Co-ordinator of Religious Education Miles Meyers and archdiocesan Director of Pastoral Care Bob Kowalchuk.
St. Luke’s Alternative School was next, where a thanksgiving celebration was scheduled. Bonazzi addressed the students and staff and delivered a blessing.
The final visit was to Miller Catholic High School where they were ushered into a room where some 20 students from various grades were seated. Lunch was offered followed by a question period. It was here that Bonazzi told of his journey to the priesthood and his current vocation as nuncio.
His first stirrings to become a priest occurred when he was 14. He eventually entered the seminary but in his fifth or sixth year had doubts. “I eventually overcame them and was ordained,” he told the group. He attended a diplomatic school and began his diplomatic career with a posting to Cameroon in Africa. He spent several years in various postings in Africa then Europe, came to Canada briefly in 1999 and returned as nuncio about a year and a half ago.
After lunch the students gathered with Bonazzi and Bohan in the school lobby where they were photographed and in a special scene the students gathered around the nuncio who blessed them, first as a group then individually by marking a cross on their forehead and reciting a short prayer while placing his hand on their head.