We welcomed Fr. Tim Coonen, omi, as our new pastor on January 1, 2018.
Below is an article that Fr. Tim wrote for the February 2018 edition of our parish’s newsletter, The Epistle.
For the last 12 years, as I served as Treasurer for OMI Lacombe Canada Province of the Oblates, I’ve been a Sunday morning regular in the 10th pew from the front, choir side. I’ve often described this parish to friends as being like ‘a small Northern church in the middle of the city.’ Long before I was widely known as an undercover priest, I felt the warm welcome that many others have experienced here. The friendships I’ve formed (in spite of my atrocious memory for names and faces) have kept me coming back.
On a spiritual level I’ve also been nourished by the Eucharist, and by those of my Oblate brothers who have broken open the Word of God within this community. I arrived in Father Carl Kelly’s time, and quickly discovered that listening carefully was well rewarded—Carl always had something wise and illuminating to say. The parish library recently acquired three large binders of Carl’s homilies. Did you know that Carl had a list of priests who waited every Tuesday for an email with his homily for the upcoming weekend? They knew that his thoughts, the product of his prayer life, would always be well prepared and would assist them in their own preparation.
I remember the vibrancy and energy that Father Robert Smith brought to every celebration during his tenure. Father Nicanor Sarmiento Tupayupanqui brought his brilliant intellect to the table, but became especially engaging when his notes fell to his side and he spoke from the heart about his aboriginal roots in his native Peru. And Father Jim Fiori, with his deeply personal reflections and stories, brought the scriptures to life in his own unique manner.
In a manner of speaking I feel like I’m standing on the shoulders of giants (well, Robert and Nicanor are hardly ‘giants,’ but you know what I mean!). I’m grateful to them, and also to all of you who have welcomed me here; I look forward to our journey together….
Father Tim Coonen, omi