Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 15, 1999
Grouard-McLennan awaits new bishop
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
The Grouard-McLennan Archdiocese may soon get a new bishop and perhaps a change in status.
A new bishop for the archdiocese could be named within four months or sooner.
And whoever is appointed may see Grouard-McLennan reduced from an archdiocese to a suffragan diocese of the Edmonton ecclesiastical province, said Father Arth‚ Guimond, the archdiocese's administrator and vicar general.
Grouard-McLennan has been without a bishop since July, following the sudden death of Archbishop Henri Goudreault.
At the time, the Vatican said a new bishop for the archdiocese would be appointed within eight to 12 months. After more than seven months without a bishop, the faithful of Grouard-McLennan are yearning for a new spiritual leader, Guimond said.
"We know there is a process which has been initiated to choose someone. So we are praying that we get a bishop soon."
Whether the new bishop will be a local priest is uncertain as most bishops in surrounding dioceses have come from Eastern Canada, Guimond noted.
But he said the possibility he'll be a local man exists. "The consultants asked for names and we provided some names."
The diocese has had nine bishops or archbishops since it was established in 1862. All of them have been Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
As an administrator, Guimond is in charge of the day-to-day operations of the diocese but he cannot ordain priests or introduce any changes. According to the Code of Canon Law, "we cannot take any new orientation until a new bishop is appointed," he noted.
Guimond will be able to appoint pastors or give new assignments after a year as administrator.
"In these conditions it's very difficult to plan ahead," he lamented. "We hope and pray the Lord will send us a new bishop soon."
By the time a new bishop is named, Grouard-McLennan may no longer be an archdiocese but a suffragan diocese to the Archdiocese of Edmonton, Guimond noted.
"It's in the works right now," the priest said of a Canadian bishops' plan to realign Canadian dioceses to provide more resources to priest-strapped northern dioceses.
The Grouard-McLennan Archdiocese has more than 43,000 Catholics in 69 parishes and missions, 16 of which have resident priests.