Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of August 30, 1999
Seminary grads reunited
By MSGR. FELIX OTTERSON
Special to the WCR
A lot of water has flowed under the High Level Bridge since the old St. Joseph Seminary in downtown Edmonton closed its doors in 1957. That's what Father Jim Holland, age 93, a longtime professor, would say.
Holland was unable to attend the reunion of the 60 or so former seminarians of the old seminary who attended a reunion at the new seminary Aug. 11-13. But he did send his greetings from the Glenrose Hospital.
As the no-longer-young in age but young at heart registered, looking through their welcoming packages, they were most interested in knowing the names of others planning to attend.
Sharing stories about the living and the dead dominated the many conversations at the planned and unplanned activities.
A memory of the living. In the mid to late 1940s every Sunday morning the seminarians, dressed in black ankle-length cassocks and carrying white surpluses, walked two by two in procession the few blocks to what is now the basement of St. Joseph Basilica.
These seminarians would take turns serving at the High Mass. There we would encounter the fast-moving line of Reynolds, Doyle and O'Brien.
A memory of the dead. Ken Kearns was a great cartoonist and drew many cartoons of seminary life. One of his favourite targets was Don MacDonald, now Edmonton's vicar general. Many of Ken's sketches were on display.
Then there was a golf tournament for a couple of dozen players. It was won by a young 80-year-old still active pastor from Vancouver, Father Jim Fagan, who almost shot his age.
The motto of the seminary remains Exiit Qui Seminat, the sower went forth to sow the seed. Indeed, all the participants, including some who were never ordained and some who were laicized, continue to sow the word of God throughout the West and elsewhere.
On the floor of the seminary, just before the chapel entrance, is the seminary coat of arms. It includes the motto, a plough, stalks of wheat and mountains.
Those present represented at least 20 centuries of service to the Church in Western Canada. These were representatives from the Ukrainian Eparchy of Saskatoon, and Latin rite dioceses from Saskatchewan through British Columbia.
Three alumni bishops were present - Bishop Emmett Doyle, retired bishop of Nelson, Bishop Basil Filevich, retired eparch of Saskatoon, and Bishop Eugene Cooney, of Nelson.
Former rectors of the seminary who attended were Father Al Schoen, Father Karl Raab, Msgr. Don MacDonald and Bishop Eugene Cooney.
Bishop Doyle presided at the closing liturgy. The participants included old Latin favourites, Pange Lingua and Salve Regina.
In remarks, the bishop mentioned the increased activity of the priesthood of the laity in today's Church. The hope of priests is that there be new priests and continuation of participation by the laity.