Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 19, 2005
New rector chosen for St. Joseph’s Seminary
Fr. Shayne Craig co-ordinates formation team
By RAMON GONZALEZ
“I still remember an old priest who used to tell me that ‘so long as your heart is in the right place, everything else will follow.’
- Fr. Shayne Craig
Currently, there are 39 seminarians in formation from various Western Canadian dioceses at St. Joseph’s, including 17 from the Edmonton Archdiocese. Three might be ordained within a year, including Marc Cramer of Edmonton.
“As you see, a great number of the seminarians here at the moment are from Edmonton because they have been doing wonderful vocation work in Edmonton and the archbishop has been very supportive of vocations,” Craig commented. “I think Father Paul Moret (the archdiocese’s director of vocations) has worked very hard and the people of God have prayed very hard for priests and God is answering the prayers.”
A native of Comox, a small town on Vancouver Island, Craig encountered God as a young adult. “My extended family is largely Catholic, but my immediate family wasn’t for various reasons,” he explained. “I became a Catholic when I was in high school. I met a Catholic girl who profoundly impacted upon my life and fell in love with Christ and the Church all in one package. I was baptized, confirmed and received first Communion when I was 17.”
Craig had some inkling that the priesthood might be a possibility but it wasn’t very clear. “But as I went to university it became clearer and clearer,” he recalled. “And so I switched my studies from German and French literature to history because I realized I didn’t know anything about the Church. So I ended up doing my major in medieval history.”
He decided to join the ranks of the priesthood of the Diocese of Victoria towards the end of his university studies. “I remember phoning my parents to let them know because I wasn’t sure how exactly they would react. . . . They weren’t surprised at all. They saw it coming.”
Craig studied for the priesthood at St. Joseph’s Seminary from 1986 until his ordination in 1992. He was serving at Victoria’s St. Andrew’s Cathedral when his parents called to let him know they had entered the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. They became Catholic at Easter 1993.
Craig served at St. Andrew’s Cathedral for two years and then returned to St. Joseph’s Seminary to work as a member of the seminary’s formation team with Father Marc Ouellet, now a cardinal. In 1995 he was appointed as priest of St. Patrick’s Parish in Campbell River so he could be close to his ill mother. In 1988, the Sulpician Fathers, an international order dedicated to the formation of priests, asked Craig to consider again working in formation.
The Sulpicians have been running the formation program at St. Joseph Seminary since 1990 and Craig knew them well. He said yes to their request and his bishop released him to go for studies with the Sulpicians in Paris and Rome until the end of 2000. He came back to St. Joseph’s as a member of the staff and was appointed vice-rector January 2002. He went back to Rome in last January and returned in July after completing his licentiate in theology.
Craig’s appointment is for three years. “My goal is hopefully to pass on to the seminarians the spirit that I received in my seminary formation here, which was to give yourself wholeheartedly to Christ and to the people, to the Church,” he said.
“I still remember an old priest who used to tell me that ‘so long as your heart is in the right place, everything else will follow.’ And I think the priesthood is somewhat like that too; if our heart is in the right place everything else also falls in the right place.
“So if we really do what we do out of love for Christ and out of love for his Church, all the details fall into place. So I guess it is that spirit that I hope the seminarians receive, that spirit of communion with Christ and with the Church.”
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