Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 26, 2007
Family, friends happy to see Motiuk back in Alberta
5 kids love to gather at home in Lavoy
By WCR Staff
- Photo Supplied
The future bishop after receiving his First Communion.
"Not much has changed today."
"We're certainly delighted that he's coming back," says his friend Andrea Leader who was a young adult when Father David was assistant pastor at St. Josaphat's Cathedral.
But surprised? "We knew it was going to happen," Leader said. "It was so obvious (that Motiuk would be named Edmonton's bishop). It was kind of a no-brainer. It just seemed the logical choice."
Motiuk made time to have lunch with Leader when he came to Edmonton in early March to prepare for his installation and attend the annual meeting of the Western bishops' conference.
It's part of a friendship that began when Leader was living with her grandmother. When the grandmother became ill, it was Motiuk who came to bring her Communion and hear her Confession.
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Bishop David Motiuk plays with his nephew Matthew and his niece Candace Altheim.
Leader became involved with the young adults' group at the cathedral parish. The group had a car rally, went Christmas caroling, helped with children's programs at the church, assisted at a children's summer camp, and went for meals and movies together. For many of those activities, the young priest was there.
"He's a social person. He enjoys time out with friends," she said. "He's good administratively and yet he's a fun-loving guy. He enjoys life."
Leader said Motiuk has a strong faith. "It's not a fa‡ade. It's not put on. He's the genuine article."
As a bishop, she said, "I can only see good things for our eparchy and for him.
"You would be hard pressed to find anyone who'd had a bad experience or any difficulty communicating with him."
Roman Kravec was a Basilian priest when young David began dropping in to the priests' residence by St. Basil's Church on 109th Street.
"He's good administratively and yet he's a fun-loving guy. He enjoys life."
- Andrea Leader
Motiuk considered becoming a Basilian, but chose the diocesan priesthood instead, Kravec said.
The two have remained friends. Kravec drove Motiuk's car to Ottawa when Motiuk was appointed rector of the seminary there and had to get there in a hurry.
Kravec also proofread Motiuk's doctoral thesis. "I was fascinated as I was reading. You don't usually think of a canon law book as interesting, but this one is quite interesting."
"We were kind of hoping he would become our bishop here," he said. "He's going to make a wonderful bishop."
Motiuk delegates well and does not micromanage those around him, he said. "He will hear you out and won't dismiss you out of hand. He listens to all sides.
"He doesn't puff himself up. That makes him sit well with the people."
But although Motiuk is kind and gentle, he won't be pushed around, Kravec said. "Bishop David is not someone who's going to let anyone spit in his porridge."
Although he has spent time in Rome, five years in Ottawa and five years in Winnipeg since his priestly ordination, Motiuk is still the boy from Lavoy.
He has fond memories of growing up in the farming community just east of Vegreville. Those memories, he says, are always rekindled when he returns home. Even now, he always gets a good night's sleep at his parents' home.
- Photo Supplied
As assistant pastor at St. Josaphat's Cathedral, Father David Motiuk was active with the young adults group.
As a child, David Motiuk was an ace student. He read medical books and wanted to be a doctor.
But a priest would come monthly to celebrate Divine Liturgy in Lavoy and would sometimes visit the family. Young David listened intently.
The Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate would teach catechism classes in the town most summers. While, at the urging of the sisters, all the children in the classes said they would become priests or nuns when they grew up, David was the only one who did.
Recreation was simple - drive-in movies and whatever sports were available at the local school. David loved the movies and, in his 20s, developed a passion for racquetball.
He worked part-time as a grocery store clerk during his teens and helped his dad, a grain farmer, with many construction projects. He even helped build the Catholic church in Lavoy.
His siblings remember their childhood as one that was free of conflict - their parents would not put up with any taunting or fighting among their children.
Now family and friends will be reunited with David Motiuk in Alberta. As the installation draws nearer, Leader says, "We're looking forward to the 24th. It will be a great day."
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