Sunday, January 14, 2007

"...Now Off to Ontario -- and Dalton McGinty"

Especially after the church universal's spent the last week focused intently on The Installation That Wasn't, it's only fair to shift gears and start looking at The Installation That Will Be, eh?

Sixteen days before Thomas Collins inaugurates his ministry as archbishop of Toronto and two days before his 60th birthday, the church of Edmonton bade its departing head an affectionate farewell earlier this afternoon; a Liturgy of the Word was held in the western city's St Joseph's Cathedral-Basilica, followed by a public reception. Among nine presenters paying tribute were Alberta's Chief Justice AH Wachowich, Sr Geraldine Kelly, the chair of its Council for Women Religious, and Basilian Fr Timothy Scott, president of St Joseph's College at the University of Alberta -- who, in a fitting sendoff for the English lit scholar, offered a poem titled "The Ballad of the Roaming Metropolitan."

B16's mid-December appointment of Collins to succeed the retiring Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic as shepherd of the 1.7 million Catholics in Canada's commercial and media capital is the sitting pontiff's most significant move in the English-speaking world to date. The high level of interest in the pick, both in the Great White North and from points far beyond, evidences this. It's part due to Toronto's prominence as the nation's largest local church and its Anglophone sector's lone cardinalatial see, and part curiosity as, despite being Benedict's emphatic choice for the post, the eventual nominee was viewed as a dark-horse contender in the prelude to his selection.

As he prepares to return to his home province of Ontario with his massive library and feline housemate Frodo in tow, the prelate of the hour is going viral -- as in video.

A scripturalist by trade, Collins taped the Edmonton archdiocese's first set of weekly reflections on the Sunday readings for the month of January, the Catholic Insider podcast recently re-ran a Collins interview from WYD '05, and in advance of today's leave-taking of the see where he's served for eight years, the archbishop sat for an extended interview with Salt and Light, the Toronto-based Catholic TV outlet. (The above shot was taken during an impromptu Mass the archbishop celebrated at its studios over his pre-Christmas swing-through.)

The half-hour session for Witness, the channel's flagship program, won't be broadcast until Installation Weekend. Fresh from the editing room, however, the first view of it is yours, with thanks aplenty to S&L CEO Fr Thomas Rosica CSB and his staff for providing the sneak preview.

Among topics covered: "abuses" of the Book of Revelation (the subject of the archbishop's doctoral dissertation), integrating the new movements, engaging both the "gathered and the scattered," the media, vocations, Fulton Sheen, and the suggestion of a dedicated "ministry for politicians" as opposed to turning the altar rail into a firing line.

More to come, of course. Canucks, get the Tim Hortons on the ready.

Joe Sinasac/The Catholic Register