Edmonton, Canada, Dec 19, 2006 (CNA) -
Pope Benedict XVI appointed a new archbishop for Canada’s largest English-speaking diocese. Archbishop Thomas Collins of Edmonton will succeed Aloysius Cardinal Ambrozic as the spiritual leader of Toronto’s 1.6 million Catholics.
Collins served as archbishop of Edmonton for the past seven and a half years. Pope Benedict announced the appointment Dec. 16.
Ambrozic, 76, has served Toronto since 1990. He submitted his resignation to the Vatican nearly two years ago, but Pope John Paul II asked him to stay on past the 75-year retirement age for bishops.
Collins was born in Guelph, Ont., Jan. 16, 1947. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Hamilton in 1973 and was a professor at St. Peter’s Seminary, from 1978 to 1997.
He was rector of the seminary for two years before becoming coadjutor bishop of St. Paul in May 1997. Six weeks later, he became bishop of the diocese, replacing retiring Bishop Raymond Roy. In February 1999, he was appointed coadjutor archbishop of Edmonton and became archbishop by June, replacing the retiring Archbishop Joseph MacNeil.
During his term in Edmonton, he strongly promoted vocations to the priestly and consecrated life and saw the number of ordinations and seminarians climb significantly.
Collins launched numerous pastoral programs, including a training program for permanent deacons, perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, a downtown chapel in a shopping centre, an annual Corpus Christi procession, and a monthly Lectio Divina at St. Joseph’s Basilica. Hundreds of people come to reflect on Scripture with the archbishop.
He led a restructuring of the archdiocesan administration, contributed numerous articles to the diocesan newspaper and brought in several priests from overseas to serve local parishes.
Collins will be installed as archbishop of Toronto at the end of January but an exact date has not yet been selected.
Toronto has 223 parishes, 833 priests, 111 permanent deacons, 715 religious brothers and sisters, and three auxiliary bishops.
New Haven, Conn., Dec 19, 2006 (CNA) - The Knights of Columbus is urging television viewers to help children in need this Christmas. The Catholic fraternal benefit society has been at the forefront of helping needy children and families throughout its 125-year history.
The 60-second television message, which features a rendition of Away in a Manger sung by country music star Patty Loveless, will air Dec. 18-25 on U.S.-based cable TV networks CNBC, MSNBC, Fox News Channel, and CMT (Country Music Television). In Canada, it will be broadcast on CTV National and CTV Newsnet, as well as on local stations in Toronto and Montreal. Catholic programs airing in Hartford, Boston, Detroit, Orlando and Long Island will also show the spot, as will the U.S. Catholic cable channel ETWN. The spot may be viewed by going to the Knights of Columbus website, www.kofc.org.
Opening with a photo sequence of sleeping children and the superimposed message: “Jesus slept in a manger for one reason: no one made room for Him,” the spot concludes with a shivering child alone in the cold and invites the viewer to help a child in need. The Knights of Columbus Web site offers lists of international, national, state and provincial charitable agencies focusing on the needs of children that are already supported by the Knights of Columbus, together with web links to those charities.
Founded by Father Michael McGivney in 1882 to address the needs of widows and orphans, the Knights of Columbus has always considered charity its first principle. Its life insurance program now protects hundreds of thousands of Knights and their families.
Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson invited viewers to go beyond simply giving gifts to friends and family this year. “When we recall that Christ was born in a stable, it reminds us that there are millions of children around the world who live in far less comfortable surroundings than we do, and many of them desperately need our help. Their lives and ours will be made immeasurably better by a heartfelt gift, given in love.”
The Knights of Columbus is the world’s largest lay Catholic organization, with more than 1.7 million members in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Last year the Order and its members donated more than $139 million and more than 64 million volunteer service hours to charity.
Vatican City, Dec 19, 2006 (CNA) - On Tuesday Pope Benedict XVI accepted the canonically mandated resignation of Bishop Sylvester Ryan of Monterey, California, due to age and appointed a new bishop for the diocese. Bishop Richard Garcia will be installed as the Ordinary of Monterey on January 30th, 2007.
The 59-year old newly appointed bishop was born in San Francisco and ordained for the Archdiocese there in 1973. He received is Doctorate in Dogmatic Theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (The Angelicum) in Rome, in 1984. In 1997 Pope John Paul II appointed Garcia as Auxiliary Bishop of Sacramento.
Garcia has served as Vicar General for the Diocese of Sacramento as well as Vicar for Pastoral Ministries and Vicar for Clergy. In addition Garcia has worked extensively as the Episcopal Vicar Hispanic and Other Ethnic Communities.
In a written letter of welcome, the outgoing Bishop Ryan noted his successor’s Hispanic work, noting that, “Bishop Garcia’s Mexican-American background has provided him with deep empathy and motivation to serve the unique multicultural Catholic populations that exist in all of our California dioceses and archdioceses.”
“Since he speaks English and Spanish fluently,” Ryan added, “he will fit well into our Anglo and Hispanic populations along with the other cultural traditions and peoples who are significant in both our history and our contemporary diocesan life.” Bishop Garcia joins Bishop Gerald Barnes of San Bernardino as the second Hispanic ordinary in California.
Ryan also pointed out that Bishop Garcia has been deeply engaged in the promotion of social justice for the good of all peoples and communities, especially with a strong concern for the poor and needy. “His years of service in Sacramento have given him direct knowledge of the workings of our state government along with availing him numerous opportunities in shaping good public policy as he has worked alongside his brother bishops in the California Conference of Catholic Bishops,” Ryan said.
In statements to the diocesan press in Sacramento, Bishop Garcia spoke of his previous experience and said that from what he knows of the Monterey Diocese, “I feel it will be a wonderful place to serve God and all the Catholic laypeople, clergy and religious there.”
“I will leave with mixed emotions,” Garcia said of his time in Sacramento. “I’m so grateful to God and everyone in the diocese who has been such a big part of my life. But in this new role I hope to grow into what God set in motion in my life a ling time ago.”
For his part, Bishop Ryan offered words of farewell and thanksgiving and said he hopes to remain with the Diocese of Monterey in a “pastoral presence.” Bishop Ryan had served as Bishop of Monterey since 1992.
Established in 1967, the Diocese of Monterey comprises the counties of Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Cruz. It has a Catholic population of about 195,000 out of a total population of 976,000.