Reverend Maurice Minne Celebrates 60 Years of Priesthood

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GRAVELBOURG………A stint as weekend chaplain in Saskatoon’s Royal University Hospital was the first thing to come to mind when Reverend Maurice Minne was asked to remember a highlight of his 60 years as a priest. He was there from 2000-06 and specifically remembers getting a call to come to the hospital for a premature child who was not expected to live very long. “They asked me to come to the hospital and baptize it. It was a time to get off your high horse as an administrator and do a person to person thing.” He recalled several other instances being called to a hospital including a few months in Regina.

Minne was born in Lafleche, Saskatchewan in what was then Gravelbourg Diocese, the oldest of four siblings. “I have three sisters and they have one brother,” he laughed as he frequently did during the interview with the Prairie Messenger. There wasn’t any particular time when he felt a calling to become a priest; “I just grew up with it,” said Minne  He received his early education in Lafleche and College Mathieu in Gravelbourg where he received his high school education and a B.A. from the University of Ottawa with which the College is affiliated. At age 20 he entered the St. Boniface, Manitoba, Seminary in 1952 and four years later with a Bachelor Degree in Theology was ordained priest in his home parish of Lafleche. “It was a national holiday, July 1, 1956. The first time an ordination was held in Lafleche. The church was packed full.” Following his ordination, he attended St. Paul’s Seminary in Ottawa where he obtained a licentiate in Canon Law. “I think the only thing with degrees is that you learn how to find information,” said Minne, laughing.

He returned to the Gravelbourg Diocese to serve in parishes and in 1960, Bishop Aime’ Decosse, appointed him Chancellor of the diocese where he remained for eight years. He remained in the Gravelbourg Diocese for most of his service including a posting as Pastor at Our Lady of Assumption Cathedral in Gravelbourg. Following retirement in 2000 he spent a total of six years in Saskatoon helping priests, several months in the Regina Archdiocese and four years in St. John’s Newfoundland Labrador where a friend had invited him to come and visit. He returned to Gravelbourg in 2011. Now, at age 84, he provides sacramental ministry for parishes in Coderre and Hodgenville both within the boundaries of the former Gravelbourg Diocese.

Minne celebrated his 60 years of ordination, first by celebrating Mass Sunday, July 3 in the Chapel on the Hill south of Moose Jaw with 36 people in attendance. “If I had celebrated it on July 1, there might have been me and one other person there,” he joked. Secondly, he hosted a dinner in Gravelbourg for 65 invited guests from the various parishes he had served. He didn’t want them to pay for it but they took up a collection that paid for everything except the wine. “Then I got an anonymous cheque for $100 that paid for the wine. When you love God goodness happens,” he laughed. His health is good he says although he has some problems with his legs. “It’s A and W,” he says, then explains, “Alive and Well and Able and Willing,” again laughing.

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