Over the next few days, I have the great privilege of getting to know western Canada better. I am in Edmonton, Alberta, here for the main reason that I am speaking at the
session on April 30th, but also to do some filming for future Catholic Focus shows.
S+L cameraman Wally Tello and I arrived Saturday to Natalie Rose waiting for us at the rectory where Wally is staying (Natalie Rose is the Administrative Assistant for “Nothing More Beautiful”), followed by warm hugs and a delicious meal hosted by Ken and Mable Solomon, in whose home I am staying. It was a great welcome for us, for sure!
Sunday, April 26th, was our first day of filming. We went to the Sacred Heart Church of the First Peoples to film for my Focus examining the blending of First Nations with the Gospel spirituality. Fr. Jim Holland, O.M.I. has been at this church for 13 years and loves it! I asked him why, and he said, “Well, for one, because these people are so real. Once, during the intercessory prayer, one woman said, ‘I would like to pray for so-and-so because I just hate her!’ That’s being real.” My favourite part of the church is the set of paintings behind the altar. More details about this later.
The evening was my highlight. I had dinner with around eight Regnum Christi ladies from the Edmonton area. I learned all about their projects so far, and they asked about the founding of Salt + Light. They were very impressed with the spiritual formation – that we have Mass, adoration, and work retreats. But I’ve got to tell you about Graham Hicks, the husband of the woman who hosted the evening, Maria. Aside from Wally, he was the only man there.
Graham Hicks is a columnist for The Edmonton Sun, and his column is called “Hicks On Six” because he’s usually on page 6. I jokingly told him, “I heard you’re the best columnist at The Edmonton Sun, and he said, “I hope so – I’ve been there for 30 years!” He talked about his experiences having to deliver a column five days a week, a busy schedule that has as an addition to it supporting his wife's activities with Catholic ladies! He also shared his struggles with his faith. “But you know what,” he said, “I’ll see where this all ends up. I’ll wait it out.” It was great to see him proud of his work – I’m taking home with me a copy of The Sunday Sun with his column on page 6. I think I can say about him the same as Fr. Jim Holland did earlier today about members of his congregation – he’s just so real!