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'The North is not for everybody'

By Bishop Douglas Crosby, O.M.I.

Part of the missionary experience in northern Canada is being welcomed to share the lives of the people in a very direct way- both good and bad, the celebrations and the struggles of their lives. Too often, life is difficult, and the missionary is there to provide prayer, reassurance, solace, encouragement, and support.
The Diocese of Labrador City-Schefferville, which is not the largest diocese in Canada, is 905,000 square kilometres-or three times the size of Italy.

During the ad limina visit to Rome in 1999, I tried to explain the distances to the Pope. He was not particularly impressed. Of course, his territory is the entire world!

Ten priests serve in the diocese-which has 25 parishes and missions in remote areas of the diocese. Eight of the ten are Oblates of Mary Immaculate, one is from Africa, and one is a late vocation who was recently ordained for the diocese.

Sisters and lay people commit themselves to serve the diocese for a certain number of years and some are responsible for missions in communities where a priest might visit for Christmas and Easter-occasionally, more often. We try to ensure that there is a priest in every community for these two sacred seasons- and thanks to Catholic Missions In Canada, who assists us to pay the extremely high transportation costs, we have succeeded for the most part.

The North is not for everybody, but for many who come, it is an exciting and faith-deepening experience.
(Bishop Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., oversees the Diocese of Labrador City-Schefferville and the Diocese of St. George's, Newfoundland, two of the mission dioceses supported by Catholic Missions In Canada (www.cmic.info).

In 2006, Catholic Missions In Canada will need $3,632,250 to fund the various needs of the Canadian missions in poor and remote communities in the North.

This includes grants to fund the building and repair of churches-$1,117,509; support of missionaries-$1,328,819; education of seminarians-$320,500; religious education of children and youth-$497,430; and lay leadership formation-$367,992.

For more information on missions supported by Catholic Missions In Canada, visit CMIC's website at www.cmic.info, or call toll-free: 1 (866) YES-CMIC (937-2642.

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