SASKATOON — Celebration of the eucharist, a blessing from the bishop, and a reception with colleagues and friends were features of a celebration held Nov. 30 to bid farewell to diocesan director of pastoral services, Leah Perrault, who has accepted an executive position with Emmanuel Care (formerly known as Catholic Health Ministry of Saskatchewan).
Since 2007 Perrault has overseen pastoral services in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, first under Bishop Albert LeGatt and then under the leadership of Bishop Donald Bolen.
Since 2012 diocesan pastoral services offered through the Catholic Pastoral Centre have been co-directed by Perrault and Blake Sittler. Sittler will continue as director after Perrault’s departure Dec. 11. Transition plans for the office include the eventual hiring of a human resources co-ordinator to assist the director.
“Leah Perrault has made an exceptional contribution to the Diocese of Saskatoon over the past eight years. Her influence has gone well beyond the position she has held as director, then co-director, of pastoral services,” said Bolen during his homily at the eucharistic celebration in the Queen of Peace Chapel.
“Leah has been a strong advocate of lay people being able to live fully their vocation in the church, modelling this in her own lived example.”
Her contributions have included the co-ordination of strategic planning for the Catholic Pastoral Centre and the diocese as a whole, he said. “Her ability to think strategically and structurally has meant that she has spearheaded processes by which we as a diocese have discerned how we can best and most effectively exercise our ministries. Her theological acumen has meant that she has been able to contribute greatly in the theological discernment processes of recent years.”
Perrault’s theological insights into how God is at work in the human condition have greatly enriched the diocese in many ways, the bishop added, describing Perrault as “the most creative young theologian in the country.”
Perrault expressed gratitude for the “stroke of grace” that led her to the Diocese of Saskatoon, hired by LeGatt after graduating with a master of arts in pastoral theology from the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto.
“I was thinking that someday — probably a long time in the future — I would love to be involved in administrative ministry, ministering to people who minister. I thought it would be 40 years away,” Perrault recalled.
Instead, she came to the diocese as a 23-year-old — four months pregnant with her first child. “God led me to understand that I would be able to make space in myself for the People of God, just as I was making space in my body for Robyn,” she said.
“I have great enthusiasm and excitement for the next challenge, but also sadness at leaving.” Perrault begins Dec. 12 as executive lead of Governance Continuation for Emmanuel Care, taking up regular office hours in the New Year.
Originally from Elrose, Sask., Perrault is also the author of two books, Theology of the Body for Every Body, and How Far Can We Go? A Catholic Guide to Sex and Dating. She is also the co-founder of Tobias and Sarah Ministries, a columnist/blog author, and well-known speaker. She and husband Marc have three children.