Staff and clergy meet

By Frank Flegel

MOOSE JAW, Sask. — It was the first time anyone can remember that Regina archdiocesan staff and clergy met together to discuss the needs and wants of the archdiocese. The occasion was the last two days of the annual Clergy Assembly held October 6 - 9 in the Heritage Inn.

The first day of the two-day meeting had staff at the back of the room listening as first Archbishop Daniel Bohan then priests talked about the present and future of the archdiocese. The second day it was the staff’s turn to identify themselves and their ministries and what they can do to help priests carry out their parish ministries.

Bohan, before staff were introduced, said he was grateful for the archdiocesan staff. “Diocesan staff work first for us,” said Bohan, “and I am grateful for them.”

Dr. Brett Salkeld, archdiocesan theologian and ecumenical officer, thanked the priests for inviting staff to attend. “We need to hear from you of your needs. What do the people of our parishes need?”

The nine staff members, in turn gave a brief description of their ministry and how they can provide help. Priests then held discussions to “dream of what you would like to do and what you need,” Salkeld instructed. It prompted one priest, with agreement from others, to tell his table mates the only time he has time to dream is when is asleep. He’s responsible for several rural parishes.

Retired priest Rev. Pat Murphy, who occasionally fills in for priests who are away, addressed what he called the elephant in the room: the proper use of English. He asked if the archdiocese could offer something to help priests learn the proper use, pronunciation and articulation of “this beautiful English language.” He made clear he was referring not just to foreign-born priests struggling with the language but locally born priests who do not speak clearly.

“The Ministry of the Word has to be proclaimed,” he emphasized, “it underscores everything. . . . You cannot serve unless you speak comprehensibly.”

Salkeld in response said it might be something the archdiocese could look into.

Other suggestions included following up with something for Grade 2 children after they’ve been confirmed; another asked if young people attending things like engaged encounter might be subsidized. Rev. John Weckend encouraged priests to become more involved in the schools.

“Build bridges with schools,” he said. “They are in the front lines of evangelization. They are not appendages of our parishes. They are our parishes.”

Another asked for liturgy training for proclaimers of the word, explaining that one he encountered had no understanding of the reasons vestment colours change throughout the year.

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