C. Fed Olds
Father Fred Olds
Father Fred Olds, BA, MTh, MAS
Priest, Archdiocese of Saint Boniface, Manitoba. Ordained 25 April 1975 for the Archdiocese of Saint Boniface, Manitoba.
Served for 10 years as a hospital chaplain at St. Boniface and Misericordia hospitals “particularly in chemical dependency”
November 2016: placed on administrative leave over allegations of “impropriety” and was the subject of a preliminary enquiry. According to a diocesan spokesman, the allegations do not involved minors.
June 2017: Unconfirmed reports that Father Olds has moved back to his home in Hamilton Ontario
30 August 2017: Courtroom allegations by a former parish administrator that he was sexually exploited by Father Fred Olds
We are aware that in this current process certain statements were made respecting Father Fred Olds, former pastor of the parishes of St. Timothy and St. Bernadette in the Archdiocese of Saint Boniface. We make no comment at all on these statements, but note that certain allegations against Fr. Fred Olds had earlier been brought forward to us, in approximately July of 2016. We can say that these earlier allegations did not involve minors.
As a result of these earlier allegations, the Archdiocese immediately engaged a third party for a preliminary enquiry. The process of discovery is ongoing and we have not yet conclusively determined what has taken place. We continue the search for the whole truth but do emphasize that Fr. Fred Olds is presumed innocent until proven otherwise.
Still, and in accordance with Canon law and diocesan protocol, as of October 27, 2016, Fr. Fred Olds was:
1. Removed from the Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Protection of Minors and Vulnerable Adults;
2. Temporarily placed on administrative leave from his office of Pastor of St. Timothy;
3. Temporarily restricted in his faculties such that he is not to exercise public ministry in the Archdiocese of Saint Boniface. He may, however, continue to celebrate the Eucharist privately within his own home.
These actions were taken pending review and direction by the Holy See (Vatican) as to the appropriate final course of action. The Archdiocese remains committed to taking all necessary steps to address things in a manner which is fair and appropriate for all concerned.
Archbishops of Saint Boniface from time of Father Fred Olds’ ordination: Antoine Hacault (o7 September 1974 – 13 April 2000 ); Émilius Goulet, P.S.S. (23 June 2001 Appointed – o3 July 2009 ); Albert LeGatt (o3 July 2009 – )
Auxiliary bishops from time of Father Fred Olds’ ordination: Antoine Hacault ( Auxiliary Bishop to Bishop Maurice Baudoux: 30 July 1964; Coadjutor Archbishop: 28 October 1972; Archbishop: 07 September 1974 to 13 April 2000)
31 September 2017: Church calls for forgiveness
30 August 2017: “Church calls for forgiveness” & related article
Media Coverage and BLOGS
17 July 2017: BLOG Was it financial “impropriety”?
30 November 2016: Winnipeg priest put on leave, investigated for impropriety
30 November 2016: BLOG Saint Boniface priest subject of internal investigation
Unless otherwise indicated, the following information is drawn from copies of the Canadian Catholic Church Directories (CCCD) which I have on hand, media (M).
10-17 September 2017: Scheduled, with Father Renato Pasinato to lead a “pilgrimage” to Poland (First two pages of Mother of the Church bulletin, 02 October 2016)
July 2015 – ?: Pastor, St. Timothy Roman Catholic Church, Winnipeg, Manitoba (CCCD & CV)
26 November 2016: screen shot of St. Timothy website – Father Olds is gone (St Timothy webpage screen shot 26 Nov. 2016)
20 November 2016: St. Timothy bulletin shows Fr. C. Fred Olds as pastor (St. Timothy Parish Bulletin, 20 November 2016)
07 November 2016: The Wayback Machine shows St. Timothy webpage of 07 November 2016 with Father Olds as Pastor – this is the exactly as the webpage appeared 24 November ’16 – unfortunately I did not take a screen shot. (St. Timothy-Wayback Machine, 07 November 2016)
25 November 2016: Diocesans website lists Father Olds as Pastor at St. Timothy Roman Catholic Church, Winnipeg, Manitoba (CCCD)
5-15 June 2016: Was xcheduled, with Father Renato Pasinato to lead a “pilgrimage” to Ireland (Holy Rosary Church bulletin, 13 Nov. 2015)
08 October 2015: Panelist at “Spiritual Paths from Addiction to Recovery” workshop sponsored by the Manitoba Multifaith Council (Multifaith Workshop)
01 September 2015 – 31 August 2018: Re-appointed as member of the Funeral Board of Manitoba – by Order in Council. ( Reappointed to Funeral Board)
September 2015: Pastor, St. Timothy Roman Catholic Church. Welcoming picnic for Father Fred Olds at “St. Tim’s” ( Welcoming picnic)
1992 – July 2015: St. Bernadette Roman Catholic Church, 820 Cottonwood, St. Boniface, Manitoba (CV)
2015: Pastor, St. Bernadette Roman Catholic Church, Winnipeg, Manitoba (CCCD)
17 June 2015: Pastor, at St. Bernadette Roman Catholic Church, Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Fr. Fred’s Come & Go Tea ( Bulletin Page 3, Come $ Go Tea)
**FR. FRED’S COME & GO TEA** Please come by and wish Fr. Fred well at a ‘Come & Go’ Tea on Wednesday 17 June from 4-7pm in the upper level of the parish centre. Hope to see you there! Donations of dainties for this celebration would be most welcome. They can be dropped off the day before, 16 June, during office hours. Thanking you in advance for your generosity.
01 September 2012 – 31 August 2015: Member of the Funeral Board of Manitoba – by Order in Council. (Funeral Board 2012-2015)
May 2013: Member of the Education Committee of Funeral Board of Manitoba (Father Olds on Funeral Board Education Committee)
17-28 October 2014: Scheduled, with Father Renato Pasinato to lead a “group tour” to Fatima and Lourdes (Group Tour of Fatima and Lourdes)
19 March 2014: Speaker at St. Mary, Charleswood Anglican Church Lenten Series on Human Dignity. Father Olds’ topic: Human Dignity & Addiction ( Human Dignity & Addiction workshop)
25 October 2013: Funeral Board of Manitoba meeting (Funeral Board of Manitoba Minutes)
07-18 October 2013: Scheduled, with Father Renato Pasinato to lead a “pilgrimage” to shrines of Italy (St. Bernadette Church bulletin 26 May 2013)
2012: Pastor, St. Bernadette Roman Catholic Church, Winnipeg, Manitoba (CCCD)
27 October 2011: Listed as founder of Conifer House “Addiction Care“
Father Fred Olds, BA, MTh, MAS, a parish priest and former chaplain at Misericordia and St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg
12 October 2011: By an Order in Council is appointed to the Board of the Manitoba Chiropractors Association by the Manitoba Chiropractors Association (Order in Council 2011)
Notice is hereby published that, under the
authority of the Marriage Act, the following
clergy has been temporarily registered from
August 14, 2010 – September 14, 2010 for
the purpose of solemnizing marriages in the
province of Prince Edward Island:
Rev. Fred Olds
C/O St. Augustine’s Parish
Hunter River, PE C0A 1N0
Director of Vital Statistics
2009: Has served as retreat director for the Kenora Catholic District School Board (Ontario). (Extract cover and page 44 from English Catholic Council of Ontario Direcors of Eduction 2009 Catholicty Best Practices)
Best Practice #2: System Retreat
Details: This is an optional retreat opportunity provided on the first Saturday in May by the KCDSB to all its employees, trustees, priests/pastoral workers, and representatives
from school councils, retired teachers, and some community services.
This retreat has been held for a number of years at Andy Lake Resort, a most beautiful place in God’s creation, isolated in the bush yet only a half-hour drive from Kenora. It begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends with the celebration of Eucharist at noon followed by lunch. Both body and spiritual nourishment are exceptional. This is always an extremely positive experience for a community that desires to gather, to be nurtured spiritually, to pray, and to celebrate together.
We have had some of the most inspiring retreat directors for this occasion, such as Jamie McCracken from the Ottawa-Carleton School Board, Archbishop Weisgerber from Winnipeg, Msgr. Pat Stilla and Bishop Colli from Thunder Bay, Sister Clare Fitzgerald from Boston (with Bishop Colli able to join us as presider for the Eucharistic Liturgy), Fr. Fred Olds from St. Bernadette’s Parish in St. Boniface, Fr. Gerry Ward from Winnipeg, and Fr. Patrick Fitzpatrick who also does chaplaincy for OCSTA.
May 2009: According to his comments posted online, he was in Israel when a good friend in Ottawa died suddenly
2009: Established Conifer House ” a new recovery centre … where, unlike traditional addiction care, Father Fred recommends the component of chiropractic in addition to group and one-on-one counselling. Father Fred, a 25-year veteran of addiction counselling, has described chiropractic as the missing link in addiction care.” (Addiction counselling Draft) The centre is ” “’a centre for state of wellbeing and human potential,’ not addiction care. ” It offers counsel “not only to addicts, but also to those in grief and to families of those affected by addiction” (Addiction Care)
07 November 2007: at St. Bernadette speaking on “addictions” followed by “healing Mass” (Faith Briefs, Winnipeg Free Press, 07 November 2009)
St. Bernadette Church seminar. Conquering addictions, anxiety and depression, Nov. 7, 10 a.m., healing mass, 9 a.m., 820 Cottonwood Rd. Speaker: Father Fred Olds. Register: Bruce, 489-0023 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
November 2007: guided meditations throughout the month at St. Timothy, Christ the King and St. Bernadette parishes (Faith Briefs, Winnipeg Free Press, 04 November 2007)
Promise of Parables
The Promise of the Parables, a four session series of guided meditation, music and preaching with Laura and Dan Carroll and Fr. Fred Olds as follows: Nov. 6, 13, 20, 27 at St. Timothy Parish; Nov. 7, 14, 21, 28 at Christ the King Parish; Nov. 8, 15, 22, 29 at St. Bernadette Parish, 7:45 to 8:30 p.m. Information call 255-1951, ext. 41.
17 May 2006: appeared before The Legislative Assembly of Manitoba Standing Committee on Social and Economic Development regarding Bill 36–The Youth Drug Stabilization Act. Father Olds is identified as “from” St. Rafael Centre. The following is an excerpt from Hansard:
Mr. Olds: Yesterday I saw someone whom I had referred to the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba for treatment for crystal meth. He was one of the exceptions. He was a young man in his mid-twenties who came in to see me about a month ago to six weeks ago, saying that he was addicted with crystal meth and he needed help. This is one in probably a hundred.
Just a little bit of background about myself. I worked for 10 years in health care as Chaplain at St. Boniface and over at Misericordia, particularly in chemical dependency. But in the early eighties, I was very involved with Child and Family Services. I chaired the board at NEW FACESS, the agency for North Kildonan, East Kildonan, Elmwood and Transcona. At that time, parents themselves were saying to the agency, we have children under 18 years of age who are out of control with drugs. What do we do?
So this is not a new issue that is facing us. In the early seventies, I was an emergency intake worker for the Catholic Children’s Aid Society in Toronto. We saw cases of that in the early seventies. If there is any good in the crystal meth epidemic that we are hearing about, it has drawn the public’s attention to the need for help for our young people.
Just after the Second World War when the United Nations was formed, the World Health Organization defined health and well-being as four quadrants. They were healthy emotionally, socially, spiritually and physically. Some people would add cognitively as well. Most people would add cognitively as well. Of course, finally the World Health Organization defined illness as something that can be seen or identified or diagnosed. For it to be seen or diagnosed means it has a life of its own, and it will have a life of its own by drawing life from us to the point that we die. Now that is the yardstick by which all illnesses are accepted as an illness whether they be emotional, social, spiritual or physical illnesses. It was under that yardstick that in 1956 the American Medical Association agreed that alcoholism was an illness, and the World Health Organization, in turn, agreed that it is an illness.
So our starting point has to be that we are dealing with an illness that affects us in all areas of our life; physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually. But I would also add cognitively. If you look up at the DSM-IV, the DSM-IV tells us that the largest form of disorder is caused by addiction. We are cognitively impaired in our thinking processes by the effect of an illness. Therefore, there is kind of a moral or social responsibility upon society to help those who cannot help themselves, particularly minors. So the upside of the crystal meth epidemic is that there is a lot of public attention being given to it, but my concern would be that we, above all, realize that we are dealing with an illness that affects us in all areas of life.
My mind also goes back to the mid-1980s. I was on the first AIDS team of this province. AIDS hit the province like it hit the rest of the world, particularly North America, as kind of a new urgent illness that needed to be dealt with. Well, a lot of mistakes were made in and around HIV in the mid-eighties of the urgency to provide services. [Father Olds-legislature]
15 September 2005: “Theology on Tap.” Insert in 21 Aug. ’05 Holy Family bulletin – when now convicted molester Father Ronald Leger csv was pastor (Theology on Tap)
THEOLOGY ON TAP
Topic: Dilemma of Our Time, Finding the Spiritual in a Secular Society
Speaker: Fr. Fred Olds, pastor of St. Bernadette Parish
Date: Thursday, September 15th from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Place: Maxine’s Restaurant (1131 St. Mary’s Road)
Food and refreshments available for purchase at this event. Opportunity to participate in discussions. Please call Bruce …
2005-2006: Departing Board of Directors Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (Extract from Winnipeg Regional Health Authority 2006/2006 Annual Report – cover and page 4)
A number of our members finished their
terms and have left us, while a number of new
members have joined. …. I’d like to close by thanking all of
our departing Board members, … Fr. Fred Olds, … for the time and commitment they gave this organization.
2004-2005: Board of Directors Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (Extract from Winnipeg Regional Health Authority 2004/2005 Annual Report – cover and page 5)
08 June 2004: St. Bernadette Roman Catholic Church, St. Boniface, Manitoba (Father Olds comments in parish bulletin re renovations at St. Bernadette Roman Catholic) Excerpt from “Freditorial” online:
And so it goes…
Since last fall, as you know, we have been in the process of planning for a major renovation of your church. Initially our parish administration committee compiled a list of physical needs that must be addressed, ranging from airconditioning to washroom accessibility. A year ago we engaged Michael Boreskie as our architect to help sort through these various issues. Last November we held a series of town hall meetings where our parish might properly articulate its vision of a renewed worship space. A building committee was formed and with our architect various proposals were looked at. This past Tuesday, after many meetings and much discussion, our building committee accepted a conceptual design and recommended that we move to the next phase – the schematic detailing of this design. Several important issues have been dealt with in this proposed design. It addresses our physical problems and, even more importantly, it brings our worship space into the norms for liturgy called for by the current Church. At present we are doing our best to celebrate good liturgy which engages everyone in “full, conscious, and active participation” but this is a real challenge in a building designed for a liturgy now foreign to most of us. Imagine celebrating mass in an environment that fully supports the liturgy rather than in one that creates barriers to it, as our building now does.
Let me address certain misconceptions that I believe might be circulation within our parish community. There are some who state categorically that nothing has to be done. I wish that were true. The easiest path in life is to do nothing. But we do not have this choice. If we do nothing we ignore real and serious issues facing our parish church. This would be irresponsible on our part and morally reprehensible.
Others are stating that we are opting for a “Lexus” when all we need is a “Hyundai Elantra”. Would that were true as well! There is nothing “luxurious” in the proposed design. It includes aspects that most other churches take for granted” accessible washrooms, a gathering space, airconditioning and a proper airflow system, and, imagine this luxury, a place to hang up your coat! At this stage of the game we do not know the price of this renovation. To determine that price we need to move to the schematic design phase.
There are some in our parish who have stated that the design is a “done deal”. They have ignored the fact that several consultations have taken place. Several options and proposals have been considered by the building committee. After much dialogue and debate over the past months our building committee is now comfortable with our architect’s proposed design and in fact accepted it unanimously. We are asking you to both believe and to trust in your fellow parishioners who only have the parish’s best interests in mind in accepting this proposal. They have sacrificed enormously of themselves in doing this work on our behalf and will continue to work with our architect during the coming months. They are doing their utmost to apply due diligence to this project and ask for your trust and your open mind.
Perhaps the greatest challenge we face is the “fear factor”. There are those who state our parish community is not up to the financial challenge that this renovation presents. I have been pastor of this parish for nine years. I believe our parish is one of the most generous in the archdiocese. How is it that other parishes and churches in our area have been able to build or renovate their gathering places? Is not our parish as generous as others? To state that we could not support this badly needed renovation of our 43 year old complex shows little faith in our community. I hold an opposite view. I believe that St. Bernadette is above all a faith-filled community. We have a tremendous faith in our God. Perhaps we need a little more faith in one another.
[to view the “Freditorial, viewers must click on the picture of Father Fred Old – posted at top of page)
28 April 2004: St. Bernadette Roman Catholic Church, St. Boniface, Manitoba. Excerpt from “Freditorial” online:
He is Risen!
It is with heavy heart that I must pass on the following news. Please join me and the St. Bernadette staff in remembering a great icon from the entertainment community. The Pillsbury Doughboy died yesterday of a yeast infection and complications from repeated pokes in the belly. He was 71. Doughboy was buried in a lightly greased coffin. The grave site was piled high with flours. Dozens of celebrities turned out to pay their respects, including Mrs. Butterworth, Hungry Jack, the California Raisins, Betty Crocker, the Hostess Twinkies and Captain Crunch. Aunt Jemima delivered the eulogy and lovingly described Doughboy as a man who never knew how much he was kneaded. Doughboy rose quickly in show business, but his later life was filled with turnovers. He was not considered a very smart cookie, wasting much of his dough on half-baked schemes. Despite being a little flaky at times, he still – as a crusty old man – was considered a roll model for millions.
Doughboy is survived by his wife, Play Dough, two children (John and Jane Dough), plus they had another child in the oven. He is also survived by his elderly father, Pop Tart.
The funeral was held at 3:50 for about 20 minutes. May he rest in peace!
2002: Pastor, St. Bernadette Roman Catholic Church, Winnipeg, Manitoba (CCCD)
1998: Pastor, St. Bernadette Roman Catholic Church, 820 Cottonwood, St. Boniface, Manitoba (CCCD)
1996: President of of health and healing centre (scroll down to Saskatoon Star-Phoenix article “Churches explore role in healing.”
Rev. Fred Olds, president of the health and healing council, says “the old models are breaking down both within medical care and within churches. We’ve all been at fault. Just as the hospitals operated under a purely medical model, the churches operated under a purely spiritual model.”
1997: Pastor, St. Bernadette Roman Catholic Church, 820 Cottonwood, St. Boniface, Manitoba (CCCD)
1996, 1995: 412-15 Cornish Ave., Winnipeg, Manitoba 204-786-1458 (CCCD)
1992-1995: Sunday Ministry at St. Bernadette Roman Catholic Church, Winnipeg, Manitoba (CV)
1995: President of the ecumenical Christian Health and Healing Council Inc. (Scroll down to Toronto Star article “New model for healing reunites body and soul”)
1989-1992: St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, Morden, Manitoba (Father Olds at St. John’s)
also serving as Chaplain at Misericordia Hospital for at least some of the years he served at St. John’s (CV)
1992: 406-366 Qu’Appelle Ave., Winnipeg, Manitoba – no phone number listed (CCCD)
September 1991: Diocesan representative of the Archdiocese of St. Boniface on the Manitoba Interfaith Council (CV)
1991: 1006 – 15 Carlton St. Winnipeg 204-788-8283 (CCCD)
1990: Repres. of Saint Boniface Archdiocese on the Manitoba Catholic Clergy Peer Assistance Committee (CV)
01 October 1986 +1989: Parochial Administrator, St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, Morden, Manitoba (CV)
July 1986-August 1987: St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, Morden, Manitoba (Father Olds at St. John’s)
1978 – 1985: Blessed Sacrament Roman Catholic Church, Winnipeg, Manitoba (CV)
1985 – ? : Chaplain, St. Boniface General Hospital (CV)
1981-1985: Pastor Blessed Sacrament Roman Catholic Church, Winnipeg, Manitoba (CV)
1985-1986: address and phone number for the diocesan centre 151 Cathedral Ave, Saint Boniface, Manitoba 204-237-9851 (CCCD)
Mid 80s: was on the first AIDS team in Manitoba (Father Olds-legislature)
Early 1980s: “I was very involved with Child and Family Services.” Chaired the board at NEW FACESS, the agency for North Kildonan, East Kildonan, Elmwood and Transcona. (Father Olds-legislature)
1978-1981: Administrator, Blessed Sacrament Roman Catholic Church, Winnipeg, Manitoba (CV)
1975-1978: assisting at Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church, Winnipeg, Manitoba (CV)
23 December 1978: Large article profiling Father Fred Olds in Weekend Edition of the Ottawa Journal (Father Fred Olds in Ottawa Journal, 23 December 1978)
25 April 1975: ORDAINED by Archbishop Antoine Hacault (Archbishop of Saint Boniface)
1973: Incardinated into the Archdiocese of Saint Boniface, Manitoba (CV)
Early 70s: emergency intake worker for the Catholic Children’s Aid Society in Toronto (Father Olds-legislature)
St. Michael’s College, Toronto
1965-1969: King’s College (U. of Western Ontario) (CV)
1961-1965: Bishop Ryan High School, Hamilton, Ontario (CV)
1952-1961: St. John the Baptist, Hamilton Ontario (CV)
30 October 1947: Born in Hamilton, Ontario (CV)
Church administrator accused of embezzling $400K
Winnipeg Free Press
Posted: 01/6/2016 11:26 AM | Last Modified: 01/6/2016 7:51 PM
A longtime parishioner says she’s ready to forgive after hundreds of thousands of dollars were allegedly stolen from the St. Bernadette Parish in Windsor Park.
A former church administrator is accused of stealing $400,000 from the Roman Catholic church on Cottonwood Road.
Leo McCaughan, 39, is charged with theft, fraud and falsification of documents dating back to March 2009. None of the allegations has been proven and he is presumed innocent.
Denise Novog, a parishioner at St. Bernadette for 40 years, said she never suspected anything of McCaughan and will forgive him if he is convicted.
“It’s easier to forgive if it wasn’t your money,” she said with a laugh. “But you’ll have to do it.
“My dealings with him is that he was very nice and he tried to help me with whatever I was doing,” she said Wednesday.
“It’s kind of disappointing. We just have to keep on fundraising. Embezzlement is wrong, certainly. It happens and we just have to go on.”
Audit uncovered problems
McCaughan, of Winnipeg, was an administrator at St. Bernadette for about a decade before an audit uncovered problems.
Police allege that, over a nearly five-year period ending in December 2014, McCaughan exploited his position by embezzling and withdrawing over $400,000. He then covered up his actions by entering false information into the general ledger, police added in the release.
The inconsistencies were detected during a routine audit done by the Archdiocese of St. Boniface that began in late May 2015. The church called in the police commercial crime unit in July.
McCaughan worked at the church for about 10 years and left of his own accord in January 2015, prior to the church audit. He is single and didn’t have any children — a fact that meant some who knew him didn’t think twice about his spending, an acquaintance told the Free Press.
Parisioners ‘feel betrayed’
The police had already been informed of the fraud allegations by the time St. Bernadette parish pastor Fr. Phil Daley was appointed to the church in August 2015.
Daley said he has never met McCaughan.
The priest said he believed the funds were stolen through fraudulent cheques, cash donations being pocketed and “creative bookkeeping.”
Daley said he’s going to help his parishioners — about 1,500 to 2,000 families — heal from the news their donations and Sunday collection money was allegedly stolen for years and used to pay for a “lavish” lifestyle.
“It’s a place where a lot of people come together and they think they’re doing good, they know they’re doing good. So to have somebody betray that, I think that’s really where the biggest impact of victimization for the parishioners is going to be. They’re going to feel betrayed by this, and we’ll have to get over that.”
The church was bleeding money even though the community was “trying desperately” to raise money for necessary renovations to the aging building, Daley said.
He said the church was in need of maintenance when he arrived: lights were burnt out and paint was peeling.
“They were having trouble making ends meet, even just from the point of view of maintaining the parish and they were talking about ways to cut. They were constantly cutting and still not making it,” Daley said.
A new bookkeeper took over after McCaughan left and the church now has more oversight in place to make sure one person doesn’t have authority over all the money-handling, Daley said, and there are plans to seek restitution for the stolen funds.
McCaughan worked for many years with the previous pastor, Fr. Fred Olds, who left St. Bernadette last summer after 20 years. He’s now a pastor at St. Timothy Parish in St. Vital, but could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
‘Devastating’ news: usher
Don Buccini has been an usher with the church since 1968 and described the news as “devastating” for the church.
He acknowledged that McCaughan was no longer a member of the congregation, but said most of the regular church members were just finding out why he left the organization.
“I think a lot of this was hush-hush,” Buccini said Wednesday, adding it was most likely for privacy reasons. “I know there is going to be a lot of comments.”
As a longstanding member of the church and usher, Buccini said he was informed of the allegations about six months ago when the archdiocese conducted the audit.
“I did not know anything about what was happening and I knew Leo very well,” he said. “It was very surprising.”
Buccini described McCaughan as a friendly thrill-seeker who used to race cars at Red River Co-op Speedway and was a frequent face at the church.
“He (McCaughan) has been there for a long time and I have done business with him for a long time,” he said. “But it is only one person and sometimes you have to take a backseat and see what transpires.”
‘Major setback’ for St. Bernadette: archdiocese
In a written statement, the Archdiocese of St. Boniface said since the discovery of the missing funds, it has issued an audit report outlining recommendations to establish internal controls. The archdiocese said it is working closely with the church’s new pastor and the parish finance committee to implement safeguards to ensure parish assets are protected. The archdiocese has been conducting routine audits of all parishes during the last two years.
“The Archdiocese of Saint Boniface is deeply saddened for the parishioners of St. Bernadette. People have donated funds to the parish in good faith,” said the statement. “This is a major setback for the people of St. Bernadette. However, the archdiocese, the new pastor, the deacon and the staff are committed to working together to heal the parish’s wounds.”
Winnipeg Police Service spokesman Const. Jason Michalyshen said the case is “incredibly concerning.”
“Whether we’re talking about $1,000 or $400,000 is essentially irrelevant,” Michalyshen said.
“If an individual is in a position of trust such as this, any group or organization has those high standards or the expectation that they’re going to conduct themselves professionally and ethically.
“But unfortunately, from time to time, individuals will take advantage of their positions.”
Michalyshen said co-operation from the church and archdiocese moved the investigation forward.
“This is serious. This is a significant amount of money and it’s important that these funds, that essentially come from the public, that this be made public,” Michalyshen said.
— with files from Kristin Annable
Churches explore role in healing
Saskatoon Star Phoenix
14 September 1996
Bob Harvey Ottawa Citizen
OTTAWA: Even Canada’s churches sometimes have trouble accepting that prayer and spirituality make a difference to physical health.
“We’ve developed a kind of body-oriented approach to medicine that’s not consistent with what we believe, that a person’s spiritual well-being is connected with his physical well-being,” says Rev. Henry Fischer, president of the Lutheran Health Care Association of Canada.
There’s been a close connection between medicine and religion for thousands of years. Hospitals were first founded in monasteries. But Fischer says many Christians lost interest in physical healing when the state took over health-care institutions.
Now, says Fischer, “the church has to reclaim its healing ministry.” That means far more than just praying for miracles, he says. It also includes healing services that help the sick deal with their illnesses, working with families, and putting support systems in place.
Fischer’s volunteer-led association of Lutheran health-care institutions and individuals is also promoting the development of parish nurses in Canada. There are already more than 3,000 parish nurses in the United States, but probably fewer than 30 in Canada, including five involved in a pilot project that Fischer supervises in the Oshawa area.
Parish nurses are hired by religious groups. They work with congregations, clergy and medical professionals to educate and counsel members of the congregations. They also promote an appreciation of the connection between spiritual, emotional and physical well-being.
Fischer was in Ottawarecently for a conference at the Grace Hospital, which plans to hire a parish nurse this fall to work with inner-city people and a Salvation Army congregation.
In Edmonton, the University of Alberta has also begun to train parish nurses and expects 20 to begin work placements this fall.
Jane Simington, the professor of nursing who helped develop the course, says the health-care system has done an excellent job of caring for acute illness, but it has lost sight of the spiritual factors that exacerbate and may even cause chronic illnesses. She says the medical literature suggests that 80 to 90 per cent of physical symptoms may have their roots in such spiritual concerns as guilt, despair and lack of hope, as well as a lack of connections with friends and family.
The United Church of Canada is also paying new attention to the connection between spirituality and physical health. Rev. Wayne Irwin, of Centenary United in Hamilton, helped start the Lowville Prayer Centre, which is working with congregations across the country to develop healing ministries and prayer chains.
Irwin says the church is beginning to reclaim its historic emphasis on healing. This is partly because some skeptics have been convinced by growing scientific evidence of the benefits of such practices as channeling energies for healing through therapeutic touch, a secular version of the church’s traditional practice of laying on hands while praying for healing.
In Winnipeg, more than 200 people from seven different Christian denominations have also joined together to form a Christian Health and Healing Council.
They’re working with the town of Teulon, 50 kilometres north of Winnipeg, in an attempt to get provincial funding for a wellness centre that would include traditional medicine, Christian prayer and music therapy. There are 26 similar wellness centres in Great Britain, where the National Health System pays both the spiritual healers and the physicians involved.
Rev. Fred Olds, president of the health and healing council, says “the old models are breaking down both within medical care and within churches.
“We’ve all been at fault. Just as the hospitals operated under a purely medical model, the churches operated under a purely spiritual model.”
He says that although he saw the occasional miracle during 10 years as a hospital chaplain, such physical healings are rare. Faith- healers “have given God a bad name” by encouraging the idea that God can be programmed to create miracles, he says.
But just as bad as the faith-healers, he adds, are those who “take an overly scientific approach to life and leave no room for God’s intervention.”
Home care struggle continues in Manitoba
Catholic New Times
09 June 1996
The strike by Manitoba home care attendants (see CNT 12 May ’96) has been settled after a month of struggle on the picket fines. But Manitoba’s Conservative government is still taking steps towards privatizing home care of the sick, disabled and frail elderly in the province.
The Manitoba Government Employees’ Union is “proud of the agreement” that settled the strike on May 17, and “proud of the 3,000 workers who made this strike such a success,” said president Peter Olfort.
The workers won a two-year extension of their existing contract at the same salary rate they have had (with no increases) for the past five years, and a guarantee of the same number of hours of work as before.
Besides winning temporary protection of wages, the union bargained for and got the right to take part in an assessment of privatization that will be done after a year’s trial run. Two regional offices of home care will be closed in Winnipeg — about 20 per cent of the case load. Private for-profit companies will be invited to bid for work in those regions. Those companies currently pay their workers about $6.50 per hour, a rate 30 to 40 per cent lower than the rate for government-employed home care attendants.
Yes, I think the home care attendants who struck did get a fair deal,” said Jenny Gerbasi, a leader of the broad-based Coalition to Save Home Care. “But we fear that it will turn out to be a two-year severance package. I feel sure that the government is still out to privatize the service. The big insurance companies are rubbing their hands with glee, waiting to get into home care insurance in a big way. We (in the coalition) are not finished our work at all.”
So far, the young coalition’s track record has been impressive. It gathered 60,000 signatures on a petition asking for full public hearings before the privatization plan goes any further. Nearly 12,000 citizens put up lawn signs making the same point. The government refused to hold public hearings, so Save Home Care went ahead and held its own, on May 8 and 9.
According to a spokesperson for the Manitoba Government Employees’ Union, a major political gain was made by the active entry of church communities into the debate.
The government simply lost the high ground. They found themselves on the wrong side of a moral issue,” said Father Fred Olds, a Winnipeg-area pastor with 10 years’ experience as a hospital chaplain.
Olds, who chairs the Manitoba Christian Health and Healing Council, spoke at the May 8-9 public hearings. On social ethics grounds and from his experience of what actually works in the process of healing people, Olds argued that home health care services will lose, not gain, from privatization and competition.
The Manitoba Oblate Justice and Peace Committee presented a brief about the minimal rights of the workers involved, and the need of vulnerable home-bound patients for dignity and continuity of care. “The Manitoba Government’s proposals to restructure the Home Care program, at least in its present configuration, clearly and directly violates” fundamental social principles taught by the Catholic church, said Winnipeg-based Oblates Jean-Paul Cormier and Thomas Novak.
The respected Mennonite Central Committee also took a strong stand on moral grounds against the government’s plan. The Winnipeg Presbytery of the United Church, speaking from the “longstanding commitment (of the United Church) to a publicly funded and administered health care system in Canada,” mourned the impact of federal cuts. But even with those cuts, said Alison Norberg, the provincial government has “neither the mandate nor the data to support” privatization of home care, which is “not in the best interests of health care reform in Manitoba.”
New model for healing reunites body and soul
Te Toronto Star
11 June 1995
by Tom Harpur
In the beginning, healing and religion were one. There was a holistic view of life. Spiritual leaders, priests, or shamans used their wisdom for the health of the community. You can’t really understand a book such as the Bible without comprehending that “salvation” and wholeness or health are the same.
Unfortunately, ever since the philosopher Rene Descartes split soul or spirit and the body apart – compounded by Isaac Newton’s model of the universe as a machine governed by unchanging physical laws – healing and religion have kept apart. But a revolution in how science sees the cosmos and the gradual recovery of a healing ministry by the churches are changing this.
If you think that the antics of Benny Hinn, Oral Roberts or other TV “healers” are what religion and healing are all about, you’re wrong. Go to Winnipeg for a moment. Two years ago, a group there invited me to come and talk about spiritual dimensions of physical and emotional health. People from various churches were there but the surprising thing was the number of doctors. They asked the best questions. In the discussions it became clear that quiet services for healing were regularly held in Roman Catholic, Anglican, United and other churches in that city.
Since that time, some amazing things have developed. Most importantly, lay people, clergy and doctors from these churches have formed the ecumenical Christian Health and Healing Council Inc. Though there is a prototype of this in Britain, it’s the first in Canada. It has already become a network promoting the theme: “Salvation ultimately means healing.” What’s more, they have now acquired a building, adjacent to Winnipeg’s Grace Hospital, and are proceeding to establish a Wellness Centre modelled on similar healing centres in England. Every city in Canada should have one.
The council holds public lectures on spiritual healing. For example, on May 10, the speaker was Dr. Paul Blood, who is an oncologist and palliative care physician working at the Manitoba Cancer Foundation and at St. Boniface Hospital. He is also active in the healing ministry at Fort Garry United Church. His topic was “Touching the Soul.” You can get the council’s newsletter and/or more information at 440 Wabasha St., Winnipeg, Man. R2C 4G8. Telephone: (204) 222-7042. Fax: (204) 224-0990. The president is Father Fred Olds.
One could cite many cases of Canadian doctors who are no longer satisfied that the mechanistic view of healing they learned at college is sufficient to meet the full needs of patients today. They are not all religious but they have a new appreciation for the role of the mind and the spirit in promoting health. As Dr. Bill Bryant of Kitchener, Ont., puts it, the old model, with its world of lab tests, x-rays, physical examinations and drug therapies, works well enough for such things as fractures, emergency medicine, coronary thrombosis or perforated peptic ulcers. But “the medical model seems to let us down for many problems we see as family physicians. Some examples might include: migraine headache, angina, chronic fatigue, anorexia, postpartum depression, pelvic congestion syndrome and many others.”
Bryant, in addition to his own practice, teaches in the University of Western Ontario’s Department of Family Medicine. He is much in demand these days both with fellow doctors and the public. He lectures on the theme: “The Other Side of Healing.” His thesis is that there is much more to healing than allopathic medicine – as the conventional approach is called – has allowed for in the past.
Four years ago, Bryant became associated with a Cancer Support Group. He became intrigued with the way in which some of the patients continue to remain quite well in spite of very serious malignancies. The patients include those with leukemias, lymphomas, bowel cancers, sarcomas and metatastic breast cancer. He discovered that patients who survive at the end of a five-year period have rather similar traits. He told a recent audience: “These patients tend to take charge of their illness and expect a great deal of support from care-givers. They are focused and have tremendous energy which they are able to direct toward their own healing.” These patients seem, he says, to interpret their malignancy as a kind of “wake-up call” to make needed changes in their lives. They tend to be positive and “have an uplifting outlook on virtually everything.”
Today doctors such as Bryant are part of the wave of the future in health care. So are those churches that are now recovering what belonged to them all along.
*Tom Harpur is a Toronto author and broadcaster.