February 3, 2014
It all began in 1997, when I returned to Thunder Bay from a 2-year ministry in Emo, Ontario, and surrounding towns and villages. I was called to join the Parish Council at the Cathedral. In quick succession this position led to coordinator of parish activities for First Communion, First Confession, Confirmation, Lectors, Eucharistic Ministers, Greeters, then Extraordinary Ministers in homes and apartments around St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Finally, I began working in McKellar and Port Arthur Hospitals, to identify out-of-town Catholics and bring them Communion during the week, all of this, under the guidance, and “with” Father Allan Savage.
Heart surgery and removal from Parish Ministry in January 2003 left Father Allan’s ministry in health care empty. Bishop Colli realized a much broader ministry at this point. He mandated me to go into the 3 hospitals and 9 long-term-care facilities to find all the Catholics missing in growing numbers, from all the parishes in the city and discover their parishes, while bringing them Communion. Courtesy letters to each facility explained my presence and stressed their need to establish with me, truly “holistic” health care. It took all of that first year, 2003, to bring about a clear picture of the actual numbers of Catholics to be served—approximately 400-500 in the long-term-care buildings (9), and another fluctuating 100-120 or so in the 3 hospitals.
This ministry gave a heads-up to our wonderful clergy, and also the volunteer laity for apartments, homes, retirement homes, etc. Personally, my entire life was transformed as I carry Jesus 6 days a week to our people in Thunder Bay.
Dolores Turgeon, CSJ