Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 5, 2007
Ringing telephone sets Collins' course for life
By WCR Staff
For 20 years, the future Archbishop Thomas Collins worked in one building - St. Peter's Seminary in London, Ont.
"Then I got a phone call and I was off to Alberta."
That was in 1997. In late 2006, the phone rang again. He had to pull up stakes and become the archbishop of Toronto.
"The call from God comes from Telus," he joked in an interview shortly before he left Edmonton for Toronto.
While he will miss the people of Alberta, Collins said it is a good thing that priests and bishops are called to pack up and move with little preparation.
"That emphasizes the point that it's not the individual pastor. What is of Christ is what matters.
"The idea of being a traveller and not settled is a reminder that we are all travellers," he said. "That is a lot of what celibacy involves.
"This life is just the runway. It's not the trip; it's just the runway."
Collins related the story of his hero St. Francis Xavier whose talents were being well used by the Jesuits in Rome. The Jesuit founder, St. Ignatius Loyola, said the order needed a priest in India. Francis was gone by sunset and never returned.
In India, Francis kept signatures from the letters he received from Ignatius pinned inside his shirt close to his heart. "But the key thing is he was gone by sunset."
For Collins, "To be a person who is sent is to be a person who is not in charge of his own destiny." God is.
"You need a bishop in Toronto? Boom!"