Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 9, 2005
Bible school selects new director
Former director Kilian O'Donovan returns to JP II Bible School
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
A familiar face will be seen in Radway this fall when Kilian O'Donovan returns as director of John Paul II Bible School, replacing school co-founder Ernie Chauvet.
O'Donovan was the school's first director, from 1984 to 1990, before he and his wife Loretta, moved back home to Ontario so their young children could be with other family members.
"About three weeks before last Christmas, Ernie called me and asked if I could come out to assist for four months at the Hinton campus," said O'Donovan, 61, in a telephone interview.
He is busy trying to sell his home in Arnprior, Ont.
Finds his calling
"While I was there, Ernie announced he was retiring. He urged me to submit a resume. Our children are grown now and Loretta and I are free to move. So we thought about it and prayed about it. I was delighted to be chosen. I feel this is my vocation in life. This is my calling."
Chauvet decided that after 21 years - the last nine years as the Bible school's director - the time came to seek his master's degree in theology from Newman Theological College. Chauvet was involved in the school's first six fledgling years. He left to pursue other plans for about five years, then returned nine years ago.
O'Donovan wants to maintain Chauvet's spirtual devotion.
"Ernie and I have been good friends for many years," O'Donovan said. "I hope and pray I can continue to bring his zeal and passion for training youthful disciples in the love of Jesus Christ."
Besides an unsuccessful foray into politics in 1995 seeking a seat in the Ontario legislature as a candidate for the Family Coalition Party, O'Donovan operated a leather works business. He later worked for Boeing manufacturing "black boxes" for aircraft.
O'Donovan kept in touch with Chauvet because the Bible school remained close to his heart.
"I have always wanted to live a total community lifestyle," O'Donovan said of his first turn as director. "There is a tremendous need for young people to become on fire with the word of God. I was concerned that a lot of young people, who were discovering a new relationship with Jesus, did not know what to do with that. We wanted to present to them the Catholic experience."
Describing recent events as "a change of quarterbacks," Chauvet is looking to start St. Peter's Leadership College following a year at Newman College.
"The college would form people with a strong spiritual base through practical means," said Chauvet, 55. "It will form leaders, not just followers."
The concept of the program encourages personal growth by providing basic tools to run meetings, plan projects to completion and empower team members to achieve results.
"The goal would be to form leaders and finding new ways to share their faith."
Chauvet said watching the maturity of the students as they were about to leave the school and contribute to their communities was the highlight of his time at Radway.
He is proud of its growth from an original graduating class of 15 to its present level of 90 graduates when combining Radway and Hinton.
"I think the Edmonton Archdiocese is one of the greatest in Canada and I like to think the Bible school has something to do with that," Chauvet said.
O'Donovan wants the school to widen its impact on the Catholic community by contacting its 800 graduates to evangelize through "cell groups." He plans to produce videos at the school about its teachings and then send them out to the graduates.
"I think our graduates can easily lead small groups to teach others about the word of God," O'Donovan said. He is tentatively considering providing about 12 hours a week of instruction to the grads who in turn can bring this information to their parishes.
"Pretty soon, when you have 800 people doing the work - you can figure out the math," he said.
"I am looking forward to coming back, to use all of the electronic media to transmit the Gospel. We all have a mission from God to renew the Church using the word of God. I am excited."
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