Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 22, 1999
Collins put priority on education, youth
By WCR Staff
Bishop Thomas Collins is reluctant to talk about any plans he might have for the Edmonton Archdiocese.
After all, he hasn't yet moved to the city and won't assume responsibility for Western Canada's second largest diocese until Archbishop Joseph MacNeil retires.
"As a visitor, I don't truly know the archdiocese," he told the WCR, adding that his task in the next few years is to get to know the archdiocese.
But during his less than two years as bishop of St. Paul, he did have some priorities.
One was supporting the Emmaus lay formation program set up by his predecessor, Bishop Raymond Roy.
Another was the John Paul II Bible School in Radway, an institution he calls "a wonderful place of apostolic formation for young people and older people as well."
A third was to develop religious vocations in unison with lay ministry. "Those different vocations are complementary to one another."
A fourth was to begin the search for a diocesan youth director and to launch other youth programs, he said. "I've heard of wonderful youth ministry in Edmonton and I hope that continues."
Collins said he also wants "to really encourage Catholic education. I've been trying to visit every classroom in the diocese."
When Collins was appointed bishop of St. Paul two years ago, speculation began that he would succeed MacNeil as Edmonton's archbishop and that the St. Paul Diocese would be amalgamated into the Edmonton Archdiocese.
Now that the first part of that scenario has come true, what about the second?
Collins said he has heard the rumour about amalgamating dioceses. "But I really don't have any knowledge of that (happening)."
The six dioceses which make up the Alberta Conference of Catholic Bishops have been working well together for decades, he said. "The obvious coordination is already there."