Terrio urges flock to turn to Jesus through Mary

Bishop Paul Terrio leads the congregation in the Lord's Prayer during his Mass of Ordination and installation as bishop of St. Paul.


Bishop Paul Terrio leads the congregation in the Lord's Prayer during his Mass of Ordination and installation as bishop of St. Paul.

December 24, 2012

Bishop Paul Terrio was eager to explain his vision to his new congregation. No sooner had he been ordained bishop of St. Paul than he was on the podium inviting the faithful of his diocese to let the Mother of Jesus into their homes and their lives.

"Mary is the sign our Father sends to bring us to his son," Terrio said in a speech from the podium at the end of the two-hour ordination ceremony Dec. 12, the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

"In this season of Mary in this Year of Faith it is my sincere hope that more and more of us in the Diocese of St. Paul will turn again to Mary and with her, go to Jesus."

Citing the words of St. Thomas Aquinas, Terrio said Mary is the only other person who can rightly call Jesus "son."

"Because she is the Mother of Jesus no one can help us more than her to grow in our awareness of being children of God," he said. "In fact, in his last words on the cross Jesus told us, 'Behold your mother.'"

Like the disciple who took Mary into his house after the crucifixion, "each one of us should do the same," the newly-ordained bishop said.

"We should take Mary into our homes and into our lives. We need to love her and to learn from her as our mother so that we can learn from her again and again how to act as God's daughters and sons."

Terrio, 69, was ordained as the seventh bishop of St. Paul, Alta., in the packed Conversion of St. Paul Cathedral.

The sanctuary area was filled with dozens of priests and about 13 bishops from across Canada, including co-consecrators Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton, Bishop Luc Bouchard of Trois-Rivières, Quebec and formerly of St. Paul, and Bishop Gregory Bittman, auxiliary bishop of Edmonton.

Bishop Paul Terrio converses with Jeannette Ozga, one of the faithful in the town of St. Paul.


Bishop Paul Terrio converses with Jeannette Ozga, one of the faithful in the town of St. Paul.

Among the congregation were several of Terrio's relatives from Nova Scotia, Calgary, Winnipeg and Oregon as well as many people from his former parishes, the chancery office, St. Joseph's Seminary and Newman Theological College, where Terrio served as president before his appointment.

In his homily, Smith described Terrio as "a pastor with a listening and a discerning heart."

"His many years of educational, formational and pastoral experience have disposed him to listen carefully to the movements of the Holy Spirit, to recognize the voice of the Lord in the various circumstances of his people's lives, and to point readily to the presence of Christ as the source of our abiding hope," Smith said.

"The people of this diocese will understand quickly why the Archdiocese of Edmonton is sorry to lose him, and why at the same time we rejoice with this local Church as it welcomes its new bishop."

Among Terrio's many gifts is his ability to lead and to gather people around him in a single vision, Smith said.

Added the archbishop: "We who know you are full of confidence that the Lord will awaken these gifts in new and exciting ways for the sake of the people entrusted to your care."

Catholics in St. Paul were pleased to receive their new spiritual leader.


"We have been waiting for a bishop for nine months so his ordination is an occasion of great joy for us," said Louise Lavoie, coordinator of pastoral services for the diocese. "He is newly arrived so I'm looking forward to getting to know him and to working with him."

Terrio's words to the congregation "show he has a sense of this diocese and the direction that he wants us to go," Lavoie said.

Fathers Martin and Mario Jubinville, pastors of Barrhead-Swan Hills and Cold Lake First Nations respectively, were overjoyed with their new bishop.

"I think it's a wonderful gift that we have received today," said Father Martin Jubinville.

"I know Bishop Paul is a gentleman who is very zealous and very devoted to our Blessed Mother and I've seen firsthand his love for the small country parishes so I'm looking forward to working under him and cooperating with the graces the Holy Spirit is going to give us through his leadership."

His brother Mario said it's important to have a new leader that unites the priests and develops a common vision for the diocese.


He welcomed Terrio's words because "it recognizes the fact there are many Catholics in this diocese who are devoted to the Blessed Mother and have experienced her ability to bring us to our Lord."

Crystal Dean, 33, came to the ordination with her five small children.

"It's very exciting to have a new bishop," she said. "I lead a youth group and Bishop Paul came one evening so I got to meet him. He is very personable. The youth all enjoyed his company when he came for our gathering."

At a reception at the nearby hall, people lined up to congratulate the new bishop and receive his blessing.

"He is very pleasant and talks very nicely," said 77-year-old Jeannette Ozga, a resident of St. Paul since 1949. "We are very lucky to have him."