TORONTO – As of May 30, a little after 11 a.m. Father Anthony Wieslaw Krotki of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate will be bishop of 8,700 Catholics in Nunavut. While small in number, the Diocese of Churchill-Hudson Bay is nearly three times the size of France at 2.6-million square kilometres.
Appointed bishop Feb. 16, Krotki is currently pastor of St. Stephen's Parish in Igloolik. Since arriving in the Arctic in 1991 he's twice been the pastor in Igloolik and has been a missionary in Gjoa Haven, Kugaaruk and Taloyoak with frequent visits to Pond Inlet.
The 49-year-old priest was born June 12, 1964 in Istebna, Poland, where he studied for the priesthood with the Oblates from 1985 to 1990. Ordained in June 1990, he was immediately missioned to Canada.
In 2011 Krotki fled Igloolik just before Easter after receiving death threats. The atmosphere was tense as a former priest, Eric Dejaeger faced trial for multiple sexual assaults on Inuit children.
"Given this situation, the entire context of the residential school (Truth and Reconciliation) Commission and the case of Dejaeger, which has not yet been in court, and the fact that there had been threats from one person, I think he had to leave," Rouleau told Nunatsiaq Online journalist Jane George.
Krotki had no connection to the abuse case. Dejaeger's case continues to wind its way through the courts.
Krotki has twice been superior of the little community of seven Oblates in the region. As bishop he will have nine priests to cover 17 parishes in the diocese. There are two religious sisters and three lay missionaries and a permanent deacon in Churchill-Hudson Bay. But the real strength of the diocese is its 50 trained catechists and 80 catechetics animators.
Recently the diocese informed Catholic Missions In Canada it no longer needed the organization's help, and would rather see the money go to other mission dioceses.
Krotki will be ordained at Mary Our Mother Church in Rankin Inlet by outgoing Bishop Reynald Rouleau, Keewatin-Le Pas Archbishop Murray Chatlain and Bishop emeritus Gilles Cazabon of St. Jerome, Quebec.
Rouleau had been bishop for 25 years. He resigned in 2010.