Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
September 17, 2001
Enrolment climbs at St. Joe's Seminary
Three newcomers studying for Edmonton Archdiocese
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — Although teaching was Jeffery Bebeau's first love, the 22-year-old is now at St. Joseph's Seminary and studying for the priesthood.
A year and a half of discernment led Bebeau to answer this call. And he's certainly not alone. At St. Joseph's Seminary, enrolment is up to 42 this year from last year's 35.
Bebeau is one of three newcomers studying for the Edmonton Archdiocese. The 10 archdiocesan seminarians make up the largest group at the seminary.
At St. Joseph's, rector Father Luc Bouchard says the increase in the number of seminarians is perhaps less important than the quality of those who answer the call. The challenge is to form good priests whether the seminary has 10 or 42 seminarians.
"It's not so much the number as the quality," Bouchard said. "The grace of God is always at work. (This year) more responded."
Bouchard spoke with the WCR prior to the announcement of his appointment as the bishop of St. Paul.
Thirty-nine-year-old Tim Strauss, a parishioner from Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Sherwood Park, has always felt the tangible presence of God in his life. Finally, the former registered nurse decided to take the plunge and answer that call.
"I'm taking it one day at a time and I'm learning everyday," he said.
Often, those entering the priesthood undergo a rigorous process of discernment and spiritual direction.
Marc Cramer, for example, came back to the Church about three years ago and since then has felt a strong call to be of service to God by pursuing the vocation to the priesthood.
He's hoping to deepen his spiritual life and have a closer relationship with God. He sees his time in the seminary as the perfect opportunity to learn more about the Catholic faith.
At first, Cramer had doubts whether he could pull it all together, although it was clear to him that God is calling. Spiritual direction helped him to sort out what was happening in his life.
"I did not want to make the mistake that it was me speaking and not God," said the graduate of The King's College. "I did not want to be imposing my decision on God."
The Dioceses of St. George's in Newfoundland, Regina, Saskatoon and Calgary have four seminarians each and the Dioceses of Prince Albert, Nelson and Prince George each have three seminarians. The Diocese of Victoria has two and the Dioceses of Labrador/Schefferville, Newfoundland, Winnipeg, St. Boniface, St. Paul and Whitehorse each have one.
Five of the 42 are doing their pastoral internships in parishes across Western Canada while 37 are on campus.
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