CANADA-UNITED STATESThe Unveiling of the Monument in Honour of Brother Anthony
On a cold Sunday
afternoon, October 27th, 2013, a monument of Brother Anthony Kowalczyk OMI was
unveiled in Edmonton. Due to low temperatures and first snowfall of the season
that morning, the Liturgy of the Word and speeches were held in the building of
the former St. John’s College, where the Venerable Brother Anthony lived and
worked for 36 years. In 1976, the Oblates sold the land to the University of
Alberta, which opened it as an affiliate. Since 2005, it is known as the Campus
The celebration was organized by Dr. Frank McMahon, a past student of Saint-Jean College and the first rector of Saint-Jean University. The Liturgy of the Word was led by Archbishop Richard Smith. In his homily, he emphasized the heroic virtues of Venerable Brother Anthony, which were confirmed in March of this year by Pope Francis. He also spoke about the contribution of Oblates in evangelization and in the development of francophone education in Western Canada. The liturgy paid homage to the Oblates who, in 1908, founded a juniorate to shape young candidates for religious life. Fr. Jacques Joly OMI, a graduate of the college, spoke about the vision and method of operation. Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk represented the province of Alberta; he commented on the importance of this event that brought together two ethnic communities. Following the speeches, the crowd moved outside.
Mr. Danek Mozdzenski
the artist and sculptor from Edmonton, unveiled the statue. As a child he had
heard about the holiness of Brother Anthony from his father and even visited
his grave. The artist explained that in the statue he tried to portray Brother
Anthony as a young man, shortly after his tragic accident at the sawmill in
which he lost his right forearm. In this way, he hoped the sculpture would
better relate to youth and students. In the 1980’s, Danek created a carved
relief 6 meters long, which depicted the life of Brother Anthony. This relief
was done for a Catholic school named after Frere Antoine.
Archbishop Richard Smith blessed the statue. The ceremony was attended by Oblates and parishioners from Holy Rosary Parish and Our Lady Queen of Poland Parish, Oblates from Assumption Province and religious Sisters. Also in attendance were graduates of the College with their families, some students, the university choir and many francophone residents of Edmonton. Knights of Columbus from Brother Antoni Kowalczyk Assembly 3367 kept guard. The ceremony ended with the singing of the hymn Salve Regina. (Fr. Miroslaw OLSZEWSKI)
Fr. Andy SENSENIG, has run more than 130 marathon miles (209 km) and he is going to add another 23.2 (37 km) in the spring. It was his time spent at the novitiate where he found his motivation to start running. Fr. Bill SHEEHAN, his novice director, stressed the importance of holistic spirituality. “Body, mind, spirit are interrelated, so physical exercise is part of the process of developing a healthy spirituality,” said Fr. Bill. He was also a runner and Fr. Andy followed in his footsteps, literally.
After Fr. Andy’s time in Godfrey, he continued to run while studying at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. “People think they can’t do it [marathons] but that’s because they are looking at the big picture, when really they just need to take it a day at a time.” He ran his first marathon in California.
Fr. Andy has run a total of five marathons and will begin training for number six in Los Angeles next spring. His current workout regime consists of 30 miles a week and smaller races in the meantime. Within the last month he participated in the Fargo 10K.
Fr. Andy loves participating in races, but he says that there is value in the training process too. “It’s a ministry of modeling good health. Hopefully when people see me running daily, it will grab their attention.” Fr. Andy has caught the attention of the Ogema community in Minnesota, and he has recruited some runners for smaller races. In his last race, Fr. Andy ran with eight parishioners from St. Ann Church in Wauburn, MN.
At the age of 52, Fr. Andy says he plans on running for a while. “A lot of people are surprised that I’m a runner because I’m a priest. Their assumptions are that priesthood is for old men and they are active.” He hopes to bring the ministry outside of the church and meet people who are religious and even those who are not.
His goals for the future are to run in an ultramarathon (any event that is longer than 26.2 miles) and to start a running club at the parish. Fr. Andy says before he can start a running club he must prove it to others. “It’s one thing to tell people to do something, but if you lead by example they are a lot more willing to do it. So I need to show them what I’ve been doing.”
Fr. Andy isn’t the only Oblate taking the “holistic spirituality” approach on life. There have been several Oblates who follow in the healthy mind and body mantra, like Fr. Dwight HOEBERECHTS, who likes to push the importance of portion control in meals.
“My faith links into my health. I know that my life and body are an incredible gift from God. I try to do my best to take good care of it so I can be strong and healthy to do the ministry I am assigned to do. I also like to take time for my daily prayer and then just sitting in silence for an hour a day to stay in tune with Jesus. My prayer time just slows me down from what can be a busy day's schedule.”
Fr. Andy isn’t just running for himself, but to address a national issue of obesity. “If we take care of ourselves a little each day then we might be able to turn around the idea that its normal to be obese or overweight.” (By Becky May in www.omiusa.org)
Thursday, October 31 and Friday, November 1, at Saint Paul University, there was a symposium as part of the project: History of Oblate missions with First Nations, a project developed nearly two years ago by Fr. Pierre HURTUBISE, who currently holds the research Chair in the religious history of Canada at Saint Paul University. The purpose of this symposium was to review what has been achieved so far in this area in terms of research and publications, and what remains to be done. Seven papers were presented on various aspects of the ministry of the Oblates with First Nations. Among the speakers were two Oblates, Fr. Pawel ZAJAC from the Polish Province and Bishop Claude CHAMPAGNE, Bishop of Edmundston. There were also many Oblates among the participants, including our provincial, Luc TARDIF and his counterpart, the provincial of Lacombe, Ken FORSTER. The meeting resulted in very interesting and especially rich exchanges.
The texts that were presented and some elements of the mentioned exchanges will be published as a basis or starting point for the next steps of the project. The majority of speakers were lay men and women who, from the outset, have expressed interest in the project and are now involved. It is probably and especially on them that we will need to count, so as to ensure success in the coming years. And for this, we can only rejoice. (INFO OMI, November 15, 2013)