Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 24, 2007
Young Murray had to 'work things out'
Future bishop was a practical joker, but also introspective
By LASHA MORNINGSTAR
"He'd come in our bedroom, sit on the dresser with his feet on the bed and talk and talk."
- Harvey Chatlain
"Oh it fell on the floor and I put it in the collection plate," piped up Murray.
"How do you get mad at that?" asks his father.
But the young lad did have times of stillness when he would sit on the knee of Kathy's uncle Father Hugo Loran and listen to what the big, strong, gentle Oblate would tell him.
The teens hit. Murray had skipped a year and was young for his age. Studies came easy to him and debate was ingrained in his nature.
"It wasn't that he wanted to kick over the traces," explains Harvey. "He just wanted to do what he thought was right."
Many a night his parents would be sound asleep and Murray would come home from an evening out.
"He'd come in our bedroom, sit on the dresser with his feet on the bed and talk and talk," says Harvey. "He just wanted to work things out in his mind."
Attuned to the need for balance in his life, Murray realized sports were a key outlet for him as well as music.
- Photo supplied
The future bishop with his nieces and nephews.
Piano, alto sax, bands - "He would serenade us whether we asked him to or not," friends told Kathy.
When did Harvey - a high school French teacher and Kathy, a music teacher - first glimpse an inkling their first-born child might be considering the priesthood?
Two of his closest friends had taken the priestly path and when Murray broached the idea with his parents, they did not say anything, "but we tried to be supportive," remembers Kathy.
His parents' hands-off approach finally prompted Murray to ask, "Don't you want me to be a priest?"
Kathy replied, "Nothing in this world would make me happier. But we can't make that decision for you."
Murray completed a degree in philosophy at the University of Saskatchewan and then went to St. Peter's Seminary in Ontario.
- Photo supplied
Fr. Murray Chatlain with the First Communion class in Black Lake
Given the profound emotions one experiences when making such a life-long commitment, Murray called home and talked about his doubts.
"We went shopping and sent him a care package with lots of fun things," says Kathy.
"And we went to visit him," says Harvey.
They talked on the phone - a lot.
"I know God is calling me," Murray told them. "But I don't want to say 'yes.' But I am going to have to say 'yes.'"
Both parents marvel at their son's prayer life.
"When he makes big decisions, he goes on retreats and prays," says Harvey.
He tells them, "I don't have to look back. I got my answer."
"There's something between Murray and God," says Harvey.
Kathy also sees glimpses of her Uncle Hugo in her son.
"He is a gentle, good listener, I see so much of Father Hugo in him. People trust him and he is absolutely discreet, almost to a fault."
Murray's family is still a vital touchstone - an emotional anchor - in his life.
"People trust him and he is absolutely discreet, almost to a fault."
- Kathy Chatlain
When he comes through the door for holidays or on a break from parish work, he heads downstairs to read, watch TV, munch on broccoli and bananas, be alone.
"And when he is ready for conversation, he comes up," says Kathy.
Murray the uncle is bonkers for his nieces and nephews, even since they were babies. They swim together. Skate. Bike. And for Christmas, they get little cards saying things such as, "This is good for one swim with Uncle Murray."
While feeling blessed their son is becoming a bishop, both Kathy and Harvey are concerned about his impending life change.
"Your life is not your own," says Harvey. "It is a life of service."
Still, the joy of their son's priesthood blesses their lives.
"It is so wonderful to have a priest in the family," says Harvey. "When he says Mass here and we all gather round and take part, it is such a blessing: few have a chance to experience such a dimension to their faith."
His mother and father are filled with emotion as their son officiates at family and extended family Baptisms, weddings, funerals.
"When you witness such service and devotion, it is pretty hard for you to be selfish," says Harvey.
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