CANADA-UNITED STATESOMI LACOMBE: Bishop Douglas Crosby - A new diocese
On September 24, the Holy Father named Oblate Bishop Douglas CROSBY to the diocese of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. He replaces the retiring bishop of that diocese. Bishop Crosby is currently the Ordinary of Corner Brook and Labrador.
Bishop Crosby was born in 1948 in the diocese of Thunder Bay, Ontario. A professed Oblate since 1969 and a priest since 1975, he was ordained a bishop in 1998. He had served as provincial of the former St. Peter’s Province from 1988-94. He is currently a member of the Permanent Council of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and co-Treasurer of the Conference.
The diocese of Hamilton, erected by Blessed Pope Pius IX in 1856, has a total population of nearly two million people. Approximately 30% of them are Roman Catholics.
On August 7, 2010, there was a celebration of 150th anniversary of the establishment of an Oblate mission in Kelowna, British Columbia, by Father Charles PANDOSY. A Saturday evening liturgy was offered in thanksgiving for the 150 years of service and growth begun by Fr. Pandosy in th emission area among the Native and European people. Present were representatives of the Oblates: the Bishop of Prince George, Gerald WIESNER, who gave the homily; the Provincial of OMI Lacombe Province, Fr. John MALAZDREWICH; and Brother Tom CAVANAUGH, District Superior of the BC/Yukon District. Also present was the Bishop of Nelson, John Corriveau, OFM Cap., other clergy and others who came to celebrate the occasion.
Among his remarks, Bishop Corriveau said: “The importance of this milestone goes beyond cultural considerations. It marks the beginning of evangelization in our region. It also offers us as a Diocesan Church a unique opportunity to recognize and offer thanks to the Oblates of Mary Immaculate for their work of evangelization in our land.”
The first small band of Oblates arrived in Canada from France in 1841. Six years later, five priests headed west to the Oregon Territory to minister to the region’s aboriginal peoples. This was a turbulent time for both Natives and European settlers, and the Oblates often found themselves caught between warriors and cavalry. The missionaries moved into the interior of British Columbia in 1859 to establish a mission in what is now the Kelowna area. The original Mission site covered 2,400 acres along Mission Creek and extended west to Okanagan Lake. From this mission, the Oblates made trips to outlying Native settlements. For the area’s European settlers, the priests offered a much-needed link with their civilization, providing schooling for their children and regular church services for all.
Fathers Charles Pandosy and Pierre Richard settled along Mission Creek in 1860, and founded the first permanent non-native settlement in the Okanagan region. The first building to be built was the rustic log chapel - the oldest standing building in the Okanagan.
Over the following thirty years, these Oblates developed the Mission into an important religious, social and cultural centre. They built up a large cattle ranch and farming enterprise, built the first church in the region and opened the valley’s first school.
Father Pandosy died at the age of 69, and other Oblates continued to minister to the local population. The Oblates closed the Mission in 1902 and sold the land (excluding church and buildings). The Mission buildings deteriorated and in 1954, when they were about to be destroyed, they were rescued by the joint effort of the Knights of Columbus and the Okanagan Historical Society. In 1977, the Oblates withdrew from the Okanagan Valley, leaving behind a legacy of service. Their mission site is now the most visible reminder of that legacy.
The property is now owned by the Bishop of Nelson, and is leased to the Okanagan Historical Society which maintains the property. In 1983, the site was designated a Provincial Heritage Site by the Government of British Columbia. (www.omilacombe.ca)