A Message Regarding the Change in Pastoral Leadership At Sacred Heart Church of the First Peoples
May 19th, 2017
Following the Renewing Our Life and Mission (ROLM) process in the spring of 2015 there was a decision to change the pastoral leadership at Sacred Heart Parish in Edmonton. At the time there was an appeal from many in the parish for Fr. Jim Holland to stay on as pastor. In response to these concerns the leadership of OMI Lacombe Canada agreed to delay the implementation of the decision by two years to better facilitate the transition to new leadership.
On May 3, 2017, Fathers Ken Forster, Jim Bleackley and Ken Thorson, met with Fr. Jim to confirm the decision that Sacred Heart Church of the First Peoples will receive two new Pastors on July 2, 2017. We celebrate the almost twenty-two years of service by Fr. Jim at Sacred Heart Parish, and in the downtown Edmonton Core. In many ways, Jim’s receptivity to First Nations cultural and spiritual heritage, and his concern for the poor, reflects the pastoral stance that is at the heart of Oblate ministry today in so many places. The Oblates celebrate with Fr. Jim the honours he has received recently: the Headdress Ceremony, the re-naming of the street beside the parish to Fr. Jim Holland Way, and the announcement that he will receive the Alberta Award of Excellence. Each of these is an affirmation of the important role Jim has played in the parish and wider community. Beginning in September Jim will begin a well-deserved time of sabbatical.
Both members of the new Oblate pastoral team, Fathers Susai Jesu and Tom Kurudeepan, bring with them a deep experience and commitment to First Nations ministry. We are confident that like Fr. Jim, and the Oblates who preceded him, they will walk with the people of the parish, carrying on for many years to come, the compassionate pastoral presence for which Sacred Heart is known.
By Fr. Ken Forster, OMI - Provincial, OMI Lacombe Canada
God bless you!