Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
March 26, 2001
Collins to shoulder St. Paul Diocese
Archbishop does double duty until new bishop named
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — Archbishop Thomas Collins will be doing double duty until a new bishop of St. Paul is named.
Pope John Paul has named the archbishop as apostolic administrator of St. Paul, the northeastern Alberta diocese where he was bishop for 19 months until his appointment to Edmonton two years ago.
The March 14 appointment follows on the heels of the resignation of Father Walter Laliberty as diocesan administrator due to ill health. Laliberty was named administrator when Collins moved to Edmonton.
"It will be a daunting task," Collins said of being, in effect, bishop of two dioceses. "I will try to do my best for both dioceses."
"When I was bishop of St. Paul I realized it's a growing diocese with many different challenges," he told the WCR March 16. "I'm also finding as archbishop of Edmonton that time is not hanging heavy on my hands."
The 54-year-old archbishop also has major responsibilities with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, serving on its permanent council and as chairman of its theology commission.
He was to be in Ottawa March 21-25, attending meetings of those two bodies. Then, on March 26, he will go to St. Paul to meet with the diocesan consultors, a group of senior priests of that diocese, to discuss how to carry out his new responsibilities there.
Collins served as bishop of St. Paul from June 1997 until February 1999 when he was named coadjutor archbishop of Edmonton. He became archbishop of Edmonton in June 1999.
"We are happy to have him back," said Msgr. Jean-Luc Pigeon, chancellor of the diocese. "I didn't expect that at all. It never crossed my mind that he would come back."
Collins said that as apostolic administrator of St. Paul, he has all the powers of a bishop, without actually being the bishop. "I have the responsibilities of bishop while waiting for the new bishop to be appointed. I certainly hope we will have a new bishop soon."
The archbishop said that during his time as bishop of St. Paul, he received "loving support" from the people of that diocese. "I loved my work when I was bishop of St. Paul."
However, he doesn't know what responsibilities he will assume in the diocese. "I'm not as much at the disposal of the people of the Diocese of St. Paul now as when I was bishop of St. Paul."
Pigeon said he expects that Collins' appointment as apostolic administrator means that a new bishop will not be named in the next few weeks or months. "I don't know how long his appointment will last," he said.
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