2012 St. Joseph Award recipient, Archbishop Peter Sutton, O.M.I., Bishop Emeritus, Archdiocese of Keewatin-Le Pas, visiting an elder.
TORONTO—An archbishop who saw the re-evangelization of the North in terms of presenting the Gospel in a form that answers today’s need in poor and remote missions received Catholic Missions In Canada’s St. Joseph Award at its Tastes of Heaven Gala April 19.
Archbishop Peter Sutton, O.M.I., Bishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of Keewatin-Le Pas, was presented the award for organizing a mobile renewal team that brought the Gospel to the Northern communities.
Archbishop Sutton gave priority to religious education, especially adult religious education and catechesis in the two dioceses he served. He also launched a successful diocesan-wide “Renew Program” which inspired faith-sharing among missionaries and lay people.
He said Catholic Missions In Canada’s support of his ministry in the North kept his missionaries in the field and allowed them to serve in hardship posts.
Featured speaker Oblate Bishop Reynald Rouleau of the Diocese of Churchill-Hudson Bay described the constant challenge of keeping a missionary presence in the 16 missions of his diocese. Only eight priests and three religious Sisters serve an area of 2,300,000 sq km. (Nunavut and Churchill, Manitoba, combined).
Bishop Rouleau has initiated a program to train 60 Inuit leaders, mainly couples, to serve in their own communities. “They are very committed to learning about our Catholic faith,” Bishop Rouleau said. Some, pushing into their 70s, continue to be actively engaged in ministry. “It is so inspiring to see them lead the Liturgy of the Word,” he added.
Catholic Missions In Canada’s annual Tastes of Heaven Gala raised about $315,000 to support missions across Canada.
Excerpts from Archbishop Sutton’s speech:
I want to summarize my grateful thanks this evening by referring to the words of our Holy Father’s letter, part of the “Via pulchritudinis,” or “The Way of Beauty.” This bronze statue of St. Joseph draws our attention to this way of beauty.
No doubt it has often happened to you before: a few verses of poetry, a piece of music; to have experienced a deep emotion, a sense of joy; to have perceived clearly that there stood not only matter, a piece of metal or marble but something far greater, something capable of touching the heart, elevating the soul called to prayer.
This work of art is the fruit of the creative capacity of the human person—of artist David Ruben Piqtoukun of Paulatuk from the Northwest Territories.
With these words, Pope Benedict XVI invites us as friends to rediscover the importance of this way for prayer, for the healing relationship with God, so that we might be touched by the light of God’s face and so be Light to our neighbour.