Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
April 27, 2009
Local knight's faith journey spurred desire to bring exhibit to Okotoks
SPECIAL TO THE WCR
OKOTOKS – The deepening faith journey of local parishioner Robert Arsenault was a key in bringing the Man of the Shroud exhibit from Vancouver to Okotoks during Lent.
And Arsenault’s membership in the Knights of Columbus got Father Dubois Council #7092 involved in the project from the beginning.
A cradle Catholic, Arsenault began to deepen his faith when confronted with serious personal issues several years ago.
After a pilgrimage to Medjugorje, he initiated a prayer community in his home that eventually moved into St. James Church. After one prayer meeting his interest was captivated when someone handed him a book on the Shroud of Turin.
On a second pilgrimage to Medjugorje, he took a side trip to Turin, Italy, to view the Shroud.
He toured the museum and cathedral and was deeply moved by the experience.
Back in Okotoks, through a series of events, he connected with the Vancouver Shroud Association (VSA) and began to work seriously to bring the exhibit to Alberta. Initially they had hoped to have it travel around the Diocese of Calgary, but that was not feasible.
“It became evident that it was too big of a project to bring it to other locations given the logistics of transportation and security for the exhibit. It was more than we could take on. So we asked our priest, Father Frank Feldmann and he agreed to have it here at St. James during Lent.”
Arranging to have the exhibit on display from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday thru Saturday, from March 30 to April 4, involved hundreds of volunteers from the parish and the backing of the Knights of Columbus.
An active Knights of Columbus member since his mid-20s, Arsenault has belonged to Father Dubois Council since moving to Okotoks in 1993.
“Our Knights of Columbus council totally supported bringing in the display, with financial support, volunteering for setup and take down, and ongoing involvement during the exhibit itself, as well as with prayer and moral support.
“It couldn’t have been done without their being behind it all the way.”
Three to four thousand visitors viewed the exhibit and attended lectures over the six days.
The Man of the Shroud exhibit is stored between exhibitions. The VSA hopes to find a permanent location where it can be put on display.
The association can be contacted through its website, www.manoftheshroud.org.