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Pastoral Letter and New Appointments

August 2023

My Dear People,

We are grateful to almighty God for the blessing of a new deacon. David Rankin was ordained  to the Order of Deacon on Tuesday August 15, 2023, the Solemnity of The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary at St. Mary Church, Mabou. Deacon David will be returning to St. Augustine’s Seminary along with Joseph MacMaster to continue their studies.

On Wednesday, August 23, we had the Bishop’s Barbecue hosted at St. Pierre Church in Chéticamp.

These summer months have passed by rather quickly. Across the world, our country, and our province, we have experienced wildfires and flooding which have led to loss of life and property. According to scientists, July 2023 was the hottest month on record. Apparently, global sea ice coverage also hit a record low in July. We are living in challenging times, and we all need to look at ways to reduce our carbon footprint.

We are also witnessing changes in the Church, and we anticipate more changes to come beginning with the upcoming Synod in October. We are encouraged to pray the Synod prayer at Sunday Mass.

In only a few weeks we begin another school year with all its many challenges. We celebrate September as Nova Scotia Polish Heritage month. As we know, September 1st marks the 84th anniversary of the invasion of Poland and the start of World War II with its unspeakable horrors, such horrors continue today in our world, especially with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. We continue to pray for peace in our world.

Beginning with the World Day of Prayer for Creation on September 1 to October 4, the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, we also acknowledge this month has been designated by Pope Francis as the Season of Creation. As part of the Vicar of the Founder lecture series, Dr. Hilda Koster, Associate Professor of Ecological Theology at Regis-St. Michael’s Faculty of Theology in the University of Toronto will be offering a presentation on Sunday, October 1 at St. Francis Xavier University entitled Hope in a time of Climate Emergency: Lessons from Laudato Si’

Our Atlantic Episcopal Assembly, AEA will meet in Halifax on September 5 and 6.  Our Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops will meet in King City, ON from September 25 to 28.

On Saturday, September 16, we celebrate the feast of St. Ninian, our Diocesan Patron Saint. St. Ninian Cathedral is launching the celebration of their 150th anniversary in 2024 with a Mass on the feast day this year. St. Ninian, pray for us.

A community picnic is planned for parishioners and families/friends in the Northside/Victoria, Sydney, and Glace Bay/New Waterford Deaneries on Sunday, September 17 at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Sydney River. Rain or shine

Holy Guardian Angels Parish in L’Ardoise continues celebrating its 200th Anniversary on Sunday, September 3 with Mass at 3 p.m.

St. Mary’s Polish Parish is celebrating its 110th Anniversary on Sunday, September 10 with a special Mass followed by gathering at the Polish Village Hall.

Our new Atlantic Dioceses’ Diaconate Formation Program (ADDFP) will be meeting on September 15 to 17  at Villa Madonna, in Saint John, NB. We are beginning a combined four-year diaconate preparation program along with the Archdiocese of Halifax – Yarmouth, the Diocese of Saint John and the Diocese of Grand Falls. Two candidates from our diocese were accepted into this program.

In September of 2021, our Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops agreed to establish a $30 million National Reconciliation Fund to support and advance healing and reconciliation initiatives for Indigenous People. Every diocese including the Diocese of Antigonish has committed to raising revenue for this fund over a five-year period. Once again this year, on the weekend of September 30 / October 1, we will have our annual collection. Appropriately these dates correspond to National Day of Truth and Reconciliation on September 30 and Treaty Day on October 1. Posters and envelopes will be ready for distribution by the end of this month.


Rev. Andrew Gillies will serve at St. Mary Church, Mabou effective August 31.

Deacon David Lewis will serve as Producer for Mass for Shut-Ins effective August 31. Nick Vince will continue to serve as Coordinator.

Rev. Bedford Doucette has agreed to serve as Assistant Diocesan Master of Ceremonies. Deacon Berkley Guthro will serve as the Diocesan Master of Ceremonies. We thank Father Bedford Doucette for his continued service.

Deacon David Lewis and Deacon Lorne MacNeil will serve as Co-Spiritual Directors to the Cape Breton – Richmond Cursillo.

Rev. Fabian Ihunegbo, our Vocation Director and Rev. Danny MacLennan will serve as members of the Antigonish Diocesan Society.

Rev. Donald MacGillivray has been elected by the Executive to serve as Chair of the St. Joseph’s Society replacing Father Duaine Devereaux who is going on sabbatical. We thank him for his ten plus years of serving with the St. Joseph’s Society.



+ Wayne Joseph

Bishop Wayne Kirkpatrick

Communications Officer, Diocese of Antigonish