Posted September 16, 2014 in MH Whitehorse YT:
Notes From Near and Far: Maryhouse Yukon

by Maureen Denis.

This past month has been overflowing with major events impacting our lives.

Let us begin with Friday, June 13th, the day Maryhouse celebrated its 60th anniversary.

We had a big celebration for our 50th anniversary, but this one was low-keyed. Good thing! God had the bigger picture and knew what was to happen in the following days and weeks.

So how did we celebrate? Well, the five of us here, Dawn Kobewka, Trudy Moessner, Kathleen LaBrie, Fr. Kieran Kilcommons and I phoned our beloved Mamie Legris, who founded this house, to pass on our love and gratitude to her. (She is now 98 years old.)

This was followed by Mass at Maryhouse, a Mass filled with prayers of gratitude for all of the graces and for the staff who have built a solid foundation for this first of our missions.

(On June 13, 1954, in what began with a nudge from Our Lady and a giant step in faith, Catherine sent one quarter of her staff—three people—to open a house in this remote northern mission field.)

The bishop of our diocese, Bishop Gary Gordon, joined us for supper and presented us with a beautiful letter expressing his thanks and that of the diocese for our 60 years of presence. Little did we know this letter was also his farewell to us.

Then on Saturday, June 14th, at 3:00 a.m. Yukon time, Rome announced that our bishop had been named Bishop of Victoria, British Columbia.

Suffice it to say we were shocked; he has been such a good friend and support. The grieving began, tempered by confident faith that this great loss for the diocese of Whitehorse is part of a much bigger vision held in the heart of God.

Almost two weeks later, on Thursday, June 26th, Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi, the apostolic nuncio to Canada, arrived in Whitehorse for an official visit. (A few months prior to this, Bishop Gary had extended the invitation to him to come and experience first-hand our Canadian Northern missions.)

The visit was timely. Archbishop Luigi arrived at 1:00 p.m. and at 5:00 p.m. was here at Maryhouse to celebrate Mass and have supper with us. It was all very informal.

The next day was the feast of the Sacred Heart, the patronal feast of our cathedral. Mass was at 11:00 am followed by a reception in the CYO Hall. Again it was all very informal—soup and sandwiches served buffet style.

In his homily and throughout his time here, the archbishop stressed the universality of our family through our baptism, how we are one, very much connected to each other. He challenged us to look at Bishop Gary’s transfer not as a negative but rather in the light of the Church community of Whitehorse giving a precious gift to the Church community of Victoria.

Bishop Gary took Archbishop Luigi on a tour which covered 1700 kms of the southern portion of our diocese.

Here at home, we began our celebration of Canada Day with the traditional Knights of Columbus sourdough pancake breakfast at Shipyards Park. Then guess who came for Mass and supper? All the diocesan staff—priests, Sisters, and lay administrators, along with Bishop Gary and the nuncio.

We marinated (for 2 days!) Canada’s best: bison, caribou and moose. Fr. Kieran barbecued it and a feast was had by all.

Well, there you have it, just a glimpse of three weeks in our life. God is good, and Our Lady continues to nudge us along. We try to listen and respond, welcoming all who come our way, be it the friend at the door asking for shoes or a blanket or a sandwich, or the Apostolic Nuncio to Canada. Each presents the face of Christ to us.


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