Apostolic Nuncio to Canada Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi and Archbishop Daniel Bohan had a busy October 7. The day began with an early morning breakfast at the Hotel Saskatchewan greeting recipients of Papal honorees. A tour of three Regina Catholic elementary schools and one high school followed breakfast. An afternoon rest period and the evening Centennial celebration mass at the Cathedral ended their Day. (see stories elsewhere).
Bonazzi said he was well aware of how proud Bohan is of the people who help in the Archdiocese. He also expressed the “deep and profound gratitude of Pope Francis,” for their work. One of the honoree recipients, Lorne Harasen, asked if the Nuncio could convince the Pope to visit Canada. Bonazzi replied that Pope Francis intends to remain mostly in Rome during the Year of Mercy which begins in December.
The school visits followed a pattern where the Nuncio was introduced to staff and students in classrooms except for St. Luke Alternative school and Miller Catholic High school. The Nuncio was introduced, usually said a few words, conferred a blessing, given a brief tour then left for the other schools. St. Michael’s and Mother Teresa Middle school were the other two schools visited.
The school tour was joined by Director of Education Rob Currie, Coordinator of Religious Education Miles Meyers and Archdiocesan Director of Pastoral Care Bob Kowalchuk.
St. Luke’s Alternative School was next where a Thanksgiving celebration was scheduled followed by a lunch prepared by volunteers. Although the group could not stay for lunch, Bonazzi addressed the students and staff and delivered a special blessing.
The final visit was to Miller Catholic High School where they were ushered into a large room where some 20 students from various grades were seated. Lunch was offered followed by a question period. It was here that Bonazzi told of his journey to the priesthood and to his current vocation as Nuncio. His first stirrings to become a priest occurred when he was 14. He eventually entered the seminary but in his fifth or sixth year had doubts. “I eventually overcame them and was ordained.” He attended a diplomatic school and began his diplomatic career with a posting to Cameroon in Africa. He spent several years in various postings in Africa then Europe, came to Canada briefly in 1999 and returned as Nuncio about a year-and-a-half ago, he said.
After lunch the students gathered with Bonazzi and Bohan in the school’s lobby where they were photographed and in a very special scene the students gathered tightly around the Nuncio who blessed them, first as a group then individually by marking a cross on the forehead and reciting a short prayer while placing his hand on their head.