Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 17, 2008
A Basilian priest passionate for prayer, renewal
Fr. Watrin serves as chaplain for John Paul II Bible School
By RAMON GONZALEZ
“I just thought it would be a good way to go to heaven.”
Born in Hay River, Alta., Watrin did his high school in Calgary at St. Mary’s Boys School.
He first thought of the priesthood in Grade 9.
“I just thought it would be a good way to go to heaven,” he recalled.
The thought didn’t last, and in Grade 12 the young lad decided to go to military college instead.
He was set to leave, ticket in hand, when a Basilian priest said to him, “I thought you were going to become a Basilian.”
That’s all it took for Watrin to change his mind again. He cancelled his military college plans and joined the Basilians at the young age of 20. He did his novitiate along with 15 other young men at Richmond Hill, just 25 km north of Toronto.
Three years later — after getting his degree in philosophy — Watrin began teaching high school in Toronto. He taught for two years and then went into the seminary to study for the priesthood.
Watrin became involved with the charismatic renewal movement in the late 1960s and started the live-in retreats in Lethbridge in the early 1970s.
Both movements — along with the John Paul II Bible School — seem to be in decline these days, their numbers seriously reduced.
“There is a need for a renewal of the renewal,” he said.
Setbacks aside, Watrin still enjoys his priesthood, which he said is marked by a healthy and happy relationship with the Lord.
“No matter what happens, it’s a joy to pray,” he says.
“What motivates me is the joy of the Lord and the joy of serving him.”
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