Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 26, 2007
Auxiliary bishop passed apprenticeship with flying colors
But Motiuk found transition to episcopacy had adjustment period
By WCR Staff
"He was absolutely the best auxiliary bishop you could have."
"They tell me he was a very good curler. He came home with a trophy or two."
Metropolitan Lawrence Huculak, Bzdel's successor and the former bishop of Edmonton, has known Motiuk for many years.
Motiuk was ordained in 1988, but by 1996 he was rector of Holy Spirit Ukrainian Catholic Seminary in Ottawa, a post he held for five years. Barely back in Edmonton, he was appointed pastor of the new Ukrainian Catholic parish in Sherwood Park. But before he could take up that job, he was named auxiliary bishop of Winnipeg.
Huculak said when Motiuk came to Winnipeg, he was only 40 and his youthful appearance confused people when he made his first pastoral visits. "People looked at him and thought he was the altar boy."
But Motiuk won people over, he said. "They came to realize that bishops don't have to be grey-haired and in their 70s."
When Huculak moved to Winnipeg last year, his auxiliary bishop helped him learn the ropes in his new eparchy.
It wasn't the first time Motiuk had provided advice to Huculak. When Huculak was Edmonton's bishop, it was Motiuk, the canonical scholar, he would consult when he had questions about canon law.
Father Richard Soo, editor of Progress newspaper, worked across the hall from Motiuk in the Winnipeg chancery office.
"He had brilliant ideas. You really wanted to do all the work he wanted you to do."
Soo said the auxiliary bishop was a hard worker himself. "He worked hard and he played hard."
"He's a lot of fun. He tells a lot of jokes. No matter how serious we are (in a meeting), it never gets heavy."
If you believe his two former bosses in Winnipeg, he will make out just fine as bishop of Edmonton.
"He'll do very well," said Huculak. Alberta's Ukrainian Catholics know him already. "That should help ease the adjustment to a new bishop."
"He's going to be a big catch for Edmonton," said Bzdel. "He knows all the clergy and they know him. It's a perfect fit."
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