Oblate Mission Associates

Doug Crosby OMI

I am grateful for this opportunity to reflect on my life as an Oblate bishop. I was ordained a bishop in 1998 for the Diocese of Labrador City-Schefferville - the north eastern mainland of Canada. In 2003, I was given the additional responsibility of the Diocese of St. George's on the west coast of Newfoundland. I live in Corner Brook with Clarence Lavigne, OMI. We are the only two Oblates on the Island of Newfoundland. In Labrador, of course, the Oblates have served the diocese for over 60 years - a great gift to the missionary church in Northern Canada.

In the same way that parents speak of the individuality of their children, it is evident that the dioceses I serve are very different. The Labrador diocese is much larger (3 times, I think) than the entire island of Newfoundland, the climate is harsher and the villages are more remote. Every community in St. George's Diocese is accessible by road, which makes travel within the diocese much easier. However, there are similarities. The priests in both dioceses are remarkably committed to their respective dioceses; they care deeply for the parishioners and are dedicated to the proclamation of the Gospel in their communities. I am impressed and inspired by their abilities, capacity for work, and care for the people they serve. It is a pleasure to serve with them.

When I became a bishop back in 1998, it was the first time I lived alone. I had always enjoyed living in an Oblate community with its benefits and challenges.

When I moved to Labrador City, I lived alone until Laurie Conlon, OMI, joined me for extended periods when I was at home. Just down the street was another Oblate community staffing the diocesan cathedral in the remote town. We gathered regularly for prayer and meals. When I moved to Corner Brook in 2003, there was no Oblate community. Clarence Lavigne OMI arrived in the autumn of 2004. We pray together, eat together, travel throughout the diocese together, and he generally provides the "community" dimension of my life!

Oblates across the country and beyond have heard of the particular challenges facing St. George's Diocese. Many of you have contributed generously to help us through these difficult days. Thank you! I suppose Oblates have faced similar challenges in the past, and I expect they will in the future. I can name other Oblates who might have done a better job of responding to the challenges here, or responded differently, but I can only think that it was a job for an Oblate - and I thank God for the formation and education I received with the Oblates which has helped me face this matter head on!

In some ways it is a lonely job. That is not to seek your sympathy. It is just a matter of fact. The connection with other Oblates when one's home is so far away is not always easy. But when we do meet, it is always a happy time.

Douglas Crosby, OMI
Bishop of St. George's and of Labrador City-Schefferville.

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