SASKATOON — Bishop Donald Bolen recently announced a number of pastoral appointments, retirements and departures in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon. It is the first round of pastoral changes for the next ministry year, with further updates expected in the weeks ahead.
A number of international missionary priests are leaving the diocese, including Rev. Augustine Ebido, OP, who has been serving as pastor at Macklin, Denzil and St. Donatus; Rev. Joseph Gyim-Austin, who has been serving as pastor at Davidson, Kenaston, Outlook and Elbow; and Rev. Raphael Vezhaparambil, VC, who has been serving as pastor at Wynyard, Foam Lake and Wishart.
Rev. Modestus Ngwu, OP, has been reassigned by his Dominican order to Harrisburg, Pa., effective June 30, after serving a number of parishes in the diocese, and most recently as chaplain at the Regional Psychiatric Centre and a number of Catholic high schools.
After a year of parish ministry and time as chaplain at St. Ann Senior Citizens Village in Saskatoon, Rev. Eugene Nwachukwu returned to his home diocese of Sokoto, Nigeria at the end of March.
The bishop expressed appreciation to those priests from other countries who have served in the Diocese of Saskatoon. “We are grateful to them for their generosity in coming to serve here. Each in his own way has deeply enriched the lives of the faithful of the diocese, and we wish them well in the future,” said Bolen.
Judy Schmid is retiring as parish life director after four years of service at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Saskatoon, announced Bolen, thanking Schmid for “her gentle presence in the parish and her faith-filled and dedicated ministry.”
Rev. Joseph Ackerman, OSB, is retiring as pastor of parishes in Bruno and Peterson, where he has served since 1998. “We are incredibly grateful to Father Joe as he in his unique way deeply enriched the lives of the faithful of the diocese. We give thanks to Father Joe and to God for his generous ministry,” said Bolen. Rev. Cosmas Epifano, OSB, has been appointed as pastor of parishes at Bruno and Peterson as of Aug. 1, after serving as associate pastor in Humboldt this past year.
Two priests are taking sabbaticals in the year ahead. Rev. Ephraim Mensah — who has been serving as pastor at parishes in Humboldt, Burr, Pilger, and Marysburg — will take a 12-month sabbatical for study and writing. Rev. Mick Fleming, CSsR, who has been serving as priest moderator of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Saskatoon, has been given a six-month sabbatical by his Redemptorist community.
Rev. Geoffrey Young, who is currently serving as pastor at parishes in St. Front, Rose Valley, Perigord, Archerwill, Naicam and Nobleville, will begin a study leave this summer, taking a three-year program in liturgy at the University of Sant’Anselmo in Rome.
Bolen also announced a new arrangement with Archbishop Murray Chatlain of the Archdiocese of Keewatin-LePas, to provide a priest to serve the parishes in La Ronge and Southend. For the coming year, Rev. Lawrence DeMong, OSB, will be serving as pastor at these northern parishes. DeMong’s current role as pastor of parishes at Leader, Lancer and Liebenthal will be taken up by Rev. Joseph Thazhathemuriyil, VC, a Vincentian priest from the Marymatha province in India.
Rev. Binu Rathappillil, VC, another Vincentian priest from the Marymatha province, will serve as pastor at Macklin, Denzil and St. Donatus parishes.
A Dominican from Nigeria, Rev. Madonna-Godwin Aghedo, OP, will serve as pastor of the parishes at Davidson, Kenaston, Outlook and Elbow.
Rev. Augustine Osei-Bonsu of Ghana has been appointed pastor of parishes at Wynyard, Foam Lake and Wishart.
Priests appointed to serve at parishes in Humboldt, Burr, Pilger and Marysburg are pastor Rev. Joseph Salihu of the diocese of Kano, Nigeria (who has been serving in the Archdiocese of Edmonton for the past year), and associate pastor Rev. Greg Smith-Windsor, who has been serving as associate pastor at the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon.
Rev. Mark Miller, superior of the Redemptorists, has assigned Graham Hill, who will be ordained to the priesthood on June 10, to the Redemptorist community in Saskatoon. Hill will serve as priest moderator of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish.
Rev. Joe Jacek, OMI, has been appointed chaplain for St. Ann’s Senior Citizens Village as of April. He previously served at parishes in Allan, Colonsay and Viscount.
Rev. Deyre Azcuna of the Territorial Prelature of Batanes in the Philippines will serve as associate pastor at the Cathedral of the Holy Family, with Rev. David Tumback continuing as pastor. Azcuna will also serve as a hospital chaplain.
“I wish to express my gratitude to all who will be assuming new responsibilities,” said Bolen. “They have responded to the needs of the diocese with generous spirits. I ask the people in parishes where changes are taking place to warmly welcome their new pastoral leaders.”
The bishop made special note of the generous service provided by the Redemptorists, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and the Benedictines of St. Peter’s Abbey, who fill in on weekends when there is an urgent need.
Additional announcements about pastoral appointments are forthcoming, with the diocese anticipating the arrival of an additional three missionary priests.