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Celebrations mark 60th anniversaries of ordination

Francophone parish celebrates 60th anniversary of Fr. Bernard de Margerie's ordination

Community also celebrates ordinations of Catholic priest Fr. Bernard de Margerie and Anglican priest Fr. Colin Clay on the same day in 1958

 

Community gathers to celebrate Fr. Bernard de Margerie's 60th anniversary of ordination

“Félicitations l’abbé Bernard de Margerie pur vos 60 ans de prêtrise…”

 By Kiply Lukan Yaworski

Friends, family, colleagues and former parishioners gathered in a spirit of joy and thanksgiving June 3 at Saints-Martyrs-Canadiens Francophone parish in Saskatoon to celebrate the contributions and faithfulness of Fr. Bernard de Margerie through 60 years as a priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon. Later that same day, a joint celebration was held to mark the ordination anniversary of both de Margerie and his friend, Anglican priest Rev. Colin Clay (see story below).

The son of Agnes and Anotonio de Margerie, Fr. Bernard grew up in the Vonda area, studied at Saint Boniface and Montreal before being ordained to the priesthood on June 1, 1958 at Saint-Philippe-de-Neri parish at Vonda.

His first pastoral assignment was at Saints-Martyrs-Canadiens before he went to Rome for ecumenical studies. Upon his return to Saskatoon, he served as director of the Catholic Pastoral Centre in the diocese of Saskatoon, as well as spending a year in the Brazil mission and providing ministry as hospital chaplain.

In addition to serving as pastor at Saints-Martyrs-Canadiens several times, Fr. Bernard has also been pastor at St. Paul’s Cathedral, St. Francis Xavier and Holy Spirit parishes in Saskatoon, as well as at the Trinité pastoral region of Vonda, Prud’homme and St. Denis, SK.

De Margerie's passion for ecumenism was inspired in the early days of his priesthood, ignited by Pope John XXIII’s call in launching the Second Vatican Council. De Margerie coordinated ecumenical efforts in the diocese of Saskatoon for many years, and was instrumental in the founding of the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism in Saskatoon, where he served as director for its first decade of existance. He has also been active in inter-faith outreach and efforts, including building relationships with the Islamic community in Saskatoon. He is also the author of In God’s Reconciling Grace, a compilation of prayer and reflection texts for Christian reconciliation and unity.

After celebration of Mass June 3, 2018, a lunch and program were held in the new Saints-Martyrs-Canadiens parish hall to mark Fr. Bernard’s 60thanniversary of ordination.

    

Tributes and congratulations were delivered by pastor Fr. Jean Baptiste Murhumwa, diocesan Vicar-General Fr. Kevin McGee, and a number of family members and former parishioners.

Joint celebration with "spiritual twin" Fr. Colin Clay,

ordained an Anglican priest on the same day on another continent:

A joint celebration was held June 3 at St. John’s Anglican Cathedral in Saskatoon to mark the 60thanniversary of priestly ordination of both Fr. Bernard de Margerie, and his Anglican friend and colleague, Fr. Colin Clay, who was ordained in London, UK. The two men were ordained on the same day – June 1, 1958 – in two different traditions on two different continents.

Dean Scott Pittendrigh welcomed those who filled the Anglican cathedral for the evensong service June 3, which included scripture readings by Sr. Lucie Hamel, PM, and by Fr. Colin Clay’s son Alan, a sermon by Anglican Bishop (Emeritus) Rt. Rev. Thomas Morgan, and words of appreciation from Alan Clay and from Darren Dahl of the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism.

De Margerie and Clay then both renewed their priestly commitment – Fr. Bernard de Margerie standing before Catholic Bishop Mark Hagemoen, and Fr. Colin Clay standing before Archdeacon Ken Watts on behalf of Bishop David Irving.

The two priests then spoke to the assembly, expressing thanks to God, to their families and the community.

“These past 60 years have given me so many wonderful opportunities and supportive friends,” said Clay. “I found so much joy working with Bernard ecumenically and also with those of many spiritual faiths.”

De Margerie also spoke about their “spiritual twinship” and the opportunities he has had to provide ministry, to work and witness for Christian unity and to build bridges with other faiths. “It has been the light of my life,” de Margerie said of his commitment to ecumenical and inter-faith relationship. “I want to express heartfelt gratefulness to all congregations and church leaderships in the various Christian denominations who welcomed my ministry over the years and who trusted me in God’s grace…. Later on I had the call to build a faith-filled bridge with and to our Muslim brothers and sisters. I thank Imam Illyas and his congregation for welcoming me.”

More recently, de Margerie said, he has begun to explore cosmology and the story of the universe, “and how we can mutually assist one another, opening more widely the doors of understanding for the benefit of all God’s people and for all of planet Earth.” 

De Margerie ended by quoting St. Paul’s words in the book of Acts: “But I do not count my life of any value to myself, if only I can finish my course, and the  ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus to testify to the good news of God’s grace.”

The evening concluded with a social gathering in the Anglican cathedral hall.

 

 

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