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September 9th, 2022

Dear Faithful and Clergy of the Archdiocese,

We are entering into another school year, which also becomes and operational year for many activities in our lives and in the archdiocese.  There are several developments that have taken place during the summer that I want to share with you. 

World Meeting of Families

One of the many things that occupied my summer was the World Meeting of Families that took place at the Vatican on June 22-25, 2022.  Each conference of bishops around the world was invited to send about 20 delegates to this event.  The CCCB did so, and I was delighted to be one of two Canadian bishops present for this international conference.

Family and Life Committee

            In a similar vein, I have been discussing with Deacon Gerald Logan the benefits of a Family and Life Committee in our archdiocese, which would be central to his ministry as the director of our Archdiocesan Family and Life Office.  The “roots” of this committee would be one married couple that would work with each parish priest in the diocese.  From these, one couple from each deanery would be chosen as members of the Archdiocesan Family and Life Committee.  We will soon be putting this Committee in place.  I ask for willing couples who will agree to be both parish animators with their parish priest, as well as members of the Archdiocesan Committee.

Camp St. Martin

            Camp St. Martin was again a very positive and rewarding experience for the young campers and counsellors who took part.  I personally had the privilege of attending the Family Weekend from August 19th to 21st.  I am grateful to Father Eucharius, Ryan Beaupre and the many volunteer counselors and others who made this camp a memorable experience. 


This year our archdiocese has two seminarians, properly speaking. 

Thomas Wollis from Peace River is in his second year of theology studies, at St. Joseph Seminary in Edmonton. 

Paul Edo-Aranmude from Nigeria will be finishing a theology degree in December.  He also is at St. Joseph Seminary; we will be looking at the next steps for him as this semester cokes to a close.

Ryan Beaupré from Rycroft is still discerning a vocation to the priesthood, but not for our archdiocese.  I ask you to continue to keep Ryan in your prayers.  For the next year, Ryan is on the staff at Way of Holiness Retreat Centre near Hinton. 

RJ Mallannao has completed his seminary formation in the Philippines, but has come to be with us on a religious worker visa.  In this sense, he is a candidate for the priesthood, but is no longer in seminary formation.  RJ will be working with Father Emmanuel Ekanem in the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis in Peace River. 

Pastoral Assignment in Slave Lake

Father Ephrem Njallaniyil, until now the parish priest at St. Peter Celestin Parish in Slave Lake, also covering Faust, Kinuso (Swan River First Nation) and Smith has come to the end of his placement in our diocese and has returned to India.  Father Ephrem had been in our archdiocese for ten years, and has given of himself tirelessly in ministry to his parishes and the archdiocese as a whole.  Father Ephrem belongs to the Missionary Society of St. Thomas the Apostle in Kerala.

Father John Manjamattathil, from the same Missionary Society of St. Thomas, has recently arrived to take his place in serving these same communities.  Welcome to Canada, Father John.  It’s good that you arrived during the warm summer weather!

Chancery Office Changes

Lauri Friesen has been in the Chancery Office since 2013.  During that time, she has been at my side as my executive assistant, at the same time accepting many other tasks and responsibilities as assigned.  Having worked in the immigration office in Canadian diplomatic missions around the world, she has been very helpful to our priests as they applied for and renewed their visa to work in Canada.  Wishing to be closer to her mother, she applied for the position of executive assistant to the President of Newman Theological College in Edmonton, and was chosen for that position.  Lauri will be leaving us at the end of September.  I am deeply grateful to Lauri for her dedicated work among us over these years.  We will soon post the position for her replacement at the chancery.

Karine Picard.  With the departure of Ivy Braun from the chancery staff, we sought a replacement as the Financial Assistant, and have successfully hired Karine Picard.  A native of Falher, Karine presently lives in Sexsmith with her husband and family.  She comes with impressive credentials, along with the benefit of being bilingual.  Karine begins her employment on 21 September.

Holy Father’s Visit. 

            As we all know, Pope Francis was in Canada from July 24th to 29th; his first days were in our Province of Alberta.  This was an historic and memorable trip.  He delivered what had been asked by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission: he apologized for the Catholic Church’s participation in operating Indian Residential Schools, and asked the forgiveness of those former students and their families and communities who still carry wounds of their experiences.  This was a powerful moment for the Catholic Church and many Canadians.

            Reconciliation will be a long process, and it’s going to make demands on Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians alike.  Not only individuals need healing, but whole communities.  The path to reconciliation is wide enough to hold us all.

Yours truly in Christ the Redeemer,

Most Rev. Gerard Pettipas, C.Ss.R.
Archbishop of Grouard-McLennan