Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 5, 2007
Will Collins become Canada's Bishop Sheen?
A great teacher has moved to the centre of the nation's media
By GLEN ARGAN
It is a good thing that Archbishop Thomas Collins has moved on to Toronto. This is not an easy thing for me to write because I felt it a great privilege to have him in Edmonton as our teacher, spiritual leader and friend over the past eight years.
But when I look at his list of initiatives in our archdiocese, I can only conclude that he must have accomplished the work the Lord had called him to do here. All that he began will live on, save perhaps his monthly lectio divina.
On the national stage
Now he is the archbishop of Toronto. But more than that, he is a bishop on the national stage. We will see him become, in a sense, the spiritual leader of English-speaking Canada.
Collins loves to teach and he is an excellent teacher. Now that he is based in the media centre of Canada, it is not too much to expect that he will teach through the national media.
He will teach on issues of public policy through statements on those issues. He will preach the Gospel through Vision TV, Salt + Light, and perhaps through other electronic media.
None of this would have happened if he had remained archbishop of Edmonton. There were few opportunities for him to use his teaching skills in the local media and his diocese was too far from the centre for him to be of much interest to the national media.
Archbishop Collins, a humble man, may become Canada's Bishop Fulton Sheen, proclaiming the Word to a mass audience and having effects that only God can foresee.
He doesn't have Sheen's flowing cape or the angel who erases his blackboard, but our former archbishop has something more.
The font of Archbishop Collins' wisdom is deep. We saw that not only in his public lectures, but especially in his lengthy pastoral letters. It is a well that begs to be tapped and shared widely.
He is a fine communicator, a skill that is enhanced when he speaks before an audience. He loves the stage and the stage loves him.
Prepared for this moment
From the time he was in his mother's womb, from all the late nights he spent in eucharistic adoration as a child beside his father in the church in Guelph, Thomas Collins was being prepared for this moment.
He may no longer live in our midst. But we will not lose sight of him. He will do great things that will be seen and heard from coast to coast.
As for Edmonton, we have had several excellent leaders for our local Church. We trust that the pope will soon send yet another man of top quality, perhaps in late spring or summer.
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