Previously published in The Prairie Messenger (reprinted with permission)
By Kiply Lukan Yaworski
(Communications, Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon)
SASKATOON, Sept. 14, 2014 – Debbie Ledoux (pictured at right) was recently blessed and installed as the new Parish Life Director (PLD) for Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Saskatoon.
Vicar General Rev. Kevin McGee commissioned Ledoux Sept. 14 on behalf of Bishop Donald Bolen, who appointed her this summer as the PLD of the parish of First Nations, Métis, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in the heart of Saskatoon.
Ledoux leads Our Lady of Guadalupe in conjunction with a Priest Moderator, Rev. Mick Fleming, CSsR, in a pastoral team model that is operating in a number of parishes across the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon. Her previous roles have included working as pastoral associate for the parish and as coordinator of Aboriginal Catholic Lay Formation in Saskatoon, a two-year program involving three dioceses.
Ledoux’s installation took place on the Feast of the Exultation of the Cross at St. Mary’s Church, where Our Lady of Guadalupe holds its 1 p.m. Sunday Eucharist celebrations each week. The parish has a building on Avenue J from which it provides ministry and programs, and has been working toward obtaining its own building for several years.
Elders and leaders of the Our Lady of Guadalupe community came forward and stood around Ledoux as McGee commissioned and blessed her. A drumming group provided an honour song, and later drummed for a round dance that wound its way through the church at the end of Mass (see picture on following page).
In his homily, McGee noted that all are called to share their gifts with others. “And today we honour and celebrate someone in your community who has – through a process of discernment and a lot of prayer – opened her heart to receive and say yes to taking on this role for Our Lady of Guadalupe parish, to be that presence, and that word of good hope for you.”
He invited the assembly to take a moment to honor the memory of all those who have served the parish community as leaders over the years.
“For Debbie, this role of Parish Life Director is served in collaboration with Fr. Mick Fleming as Priest Moderator,” McGee noted, before quoting from the diocesan administration manual describing the pastoral team’s role.
“Collaborative ministry means to work together, respecting, sharing, supporting, encouraging, challenging, and inspiring each other’s ministry in a common concern for the parish,” he said. “It requires a high degree of mutual trust and loyalty, as well as regular consultation which honours the insights and understandings of the other. Together the Parish Life Director and Priest Moderator are accountable to the bishop.”
In addition to trust between the two leaders, there must be trust within the community, McGee said. “You as a parish community are putting your trust in Debbie to give you spiritual and administrative leadership. She is putting her trust also in you. She needs your support, prayers, and at times patience when faced with challenging issues that may require time for dialogue, discernment and prayer.”
The Feast of the Exultation of the Cross “shows us that we have a God who is completely on our side, and whom we can trust as well,” noted McGee.
Addressing the community at the conclusion of the celebration, Ledoux expressed appreciation to God and to all involved in the celebration, to the elders and her mentors, as well as to Fr. Mick, her husband Gil of 40 years, her family and the entire community. She added that she sees her new role “as that of a greater servant to our Creator and to the community of Guadalupe.”
“On this Feast of the Exultation of the Cross, may this day be for each and every one of us who have not had the best experiences in the residential school and within the Catholic church,” she said.
“May we who give honour to Christ’s cross today learn to glory in the sufferings of our daily lives. For the same power which transformed the cross into the tree of life, can transform our sufferings into joy, grace, peace and love of God for God is love,” concluded Ledoux.