Ordination ceremony draws 500 to Rankin Inlet church
31 May 2013
May 30 brought unprecedented pomp and ceremony to Rankin Inlet, when Nunavut’s next Roman Catholic Bishop took on his duties in an ordination ceremony that drew Catholics from throughout Canada and abroad.
The ceremony took place in a midday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., which packed more than 500 people into Rankin Inlet’s Mary Our Mother church, according to Fabienne Theytaz, pastoral assistant at the church. Community members prepared the church for the ceremony with a new décor, including elaborate sealskin banners behind the altar decorated with traditional and Christian symbols, and traditional carvings for the altar.
Faithful also showed their support for the new bishop with gift offerings for the church, including works of art made from whale bone, caribou antler and stone.
“It was just fantastic, the reaction — not only of the parishioners, but the whole community,” Theytaz said May 31. “I’m very moved and touched by the welcoming of this event here in the community, and the support and kindness and generosity of the people.”
In addition to regular church-goers who usually attend mass in the largely Catholic community, the ceremony hosted bishops from throughout the country, including dignitaries from as faraway as Poland, Krótki’s birthplace.
Krótki, 48, was ordained as a priest in his native Poland in 1990, and first came to Canada that year to serve in Manitoba. He served as pastor in Igloolik from 2001 until his Pope Benedict named him bishop earlier this year. As bishop, he will take up the work of Rouleau at the Churchill-Hudson Bay diocese head office in Churchill, Manitoba.
Krótki will spend about half his time travelling throughout Nunavut, according to Rouleau, visiting the 16 communities where the Catholic church has a base.
Parishioners say he will now be called Bishop Tony, a step up from “Father Tony,” as he has been known throughout Nunavut over the past 22 years. Among Inuktitut speakers, he has now earned the designation Ataatatsiaq, or “grandfather,” the next step up from Ataata, “father.”
“It was a real moment of pride for Rankin Inlet, and for our Catholic community here,” said Adriana Kusugak, 31, who attended the ceremony with her mother-in-law. “To showcase our church, our people and our faith.”
Kusugak, like many in the community, contributed to the community feast at the community hall after the service, where residents, visitors and dignitaries alike celebrated over traditional food from the land, and cooked meals and baked goods from the kitchens of community members, Catholic and non-Catholic alike.
OMI Lacombe Canada
May 27, 2013 Volume 10, Number 18
TONY KROTKI OMI
Rev. Anthony Wieslaw Krotki OMI
Bishop of Churchill-Hudson Bay, Canada-NunavutMary Our Mother Church Rankin Inlet, Nunavut
May 30th , 2013
Principal Celebrant & Consecrator
Assisted by: Most Rev. Murray Chatlain
Most Rev. Gilles Cazabon O.M.I. Bishop emeritus
In the presence of: His Excellency Archbishop
Master of Ceremonies: Rev. Marcin Rumik…
Assisting Bishop-elect: Rev. Bogdan Osiecki O.M.I.
COAT OF ARMS
Heraldry Description (short version)Bishop Anthony Wieslaw Krótki OMI
Bishop of Churchill-Hudson Bay
The Budded Cross (top center) with the five red circles represents the 5 wounds of Christ.
The Oblate Cross on the left side indicates that Bishop Anthony has lived an Oblate life for over 25 years. The Green Colour represents Eternal Life.
The North Star (Polaris) on the right continues to be a very important navigational tool for people travelling in the north. The Blue Colour for the Star is taken from the Nunavut flag and is superimposed on a White background indicating the enormous territory of the lands of the Inuit – with their purity, freedom and vulnerability.
Below, the Colour Blue evokes the Virgin Mary, the principal patroness of the Congregation of Oblate Fathers. The faithful of the Arctic pray to her each time they say: “ Jisu, Mari, Jusi pigisinga, Tirisi Jisusimiuta tuksiutitigut”.
The Radwan Banner (bottom right) is a Polish coat of arms used by noble families in the Radwan clan, originating in the Kingdom of Poland during the reign of Boleslaw Krzywousty [1101-1138]. The “Krotki” family name carries this coat of arms.
The Motto: “IN TE CONFIDO” – “In You I trust”
“Ilingnik tatiqaqpunga” – “wo1i4 btc6Sz” “Ufam Tobie” Ps 25,2
Inspired by Pope John Paul II’s words to the Youth, “Do not be afraid” and Sister Faustyna Kowalska’s devotion to Divine Mercy, “Christ, Jesus, I trust in you” I trust in the total mercy of Christ and dedicate my service to his people as shepherd of the Diocese of Churchill-Hudson Bay.
Tony Krotki, OMI
(Submitted by Nestor Gregoire, OMI Reprinted from INFO Lacombe)
Nineteen years in the Eastern Canadian Arctic (the territory of Nunavut) has rooted Tony Krotki in his Oblate identify. The Arctic not only has Tony as one of its citizens, it flows through his very veins.
His vocation emerged as part of a puzzle that was fitted together over the years. The desire to work with the Inuit peoples first surfaced at the age of fourteen. “This has been my dream since 1978.” During the years at the minor seminary the desire developed quite strongly. “I read all the articles I could find. I read the book, Inuk three times.”
“In 1979 a Polish Oblate who worked in the MacKenzie Delta for forty-five years, Fr. Leon Mokwa, came and spoke to us. He told us how hard it was to live and work among the First Nations peoples. He told us of the difficulties of travelling. I also remember that he told us of people who lived further north of his missions but he did not know them. In my young mind I remember that he told us that life for these people is very hard and there is nothing but snow!”
“Already I had a desire to go to Greenland or Alaska but it was here that the fire exploded in my heart. This was the first time I had heard of the Inuit in Canada.”
“Nine years went by and I was very quiet about my passion to go north. When I told my desires to the Provincial, he informed me that I did not have an Oblate vocation! Nothing more was said until 1987 when Jacque Johnson, OMI visited our Scholasticate. He talked about the First Nations and the need of missionaries for the First Nation Peoples in the Mackenzie. As he was folding up the map of Canada he remembered to say one more thing. ‘I went to Rome where the Superior General asked me to look for two men in the Scholasticate who would be willing to go to live and work with the Inuit in Hudson Bay.’”
“All the scholastics knew about me. I hesitated to stand up when Jacque asked but my confreres pushed me up. I stood up, alone, and Jacque Johnson said, ‘Sorry. The Superior General will never send one man. There has to be two.’ The case was closed. I sat down!”
“I prayed! Then I became a missionary for the Arctic. I found Adolf Filas who would accompany me. Later we received a letter from the Provincial of the Manitoba Province. He wanted us to join the Manitoba Province.”
“My Provincial insisted that I finish my studies in Poland, be ordained in Poland and spend the first two years in parish ministry. I was also informed that it would take two years to obtain a passport … but God had different plans.”
“We applied for a passport. It arrived one week later. We went to the Canadian consulate and within one hour had a visa for Canada. We then went to the Provincial and told him we were ready to move to Canada. We purchased the airline ticket, said good-bye to our families and on October 28, 1990, left for Canada. This all happened three months after ordination.”
“On May 10, 1991, we were sent on an exploratory mission to Arviat, Nunavut and spent one week with Fr. Rivoire; one week at Baker Lake and four days at Chesterfield Inlet.”
Would this be a suitable mission and living conditions for these two young Oblates? They flew back to Winnipeg and purchased the proper clothing and supplies for the North.
“On July 12, 1991, we flew to Igloolik. This was a learning time of two and one half years with Fr. Jusipi Meeùs, OMI and Fr. Robert LeChat, OMI as my mentors. After two years I moved to Gjoa Haven, with the missions of Pelly Bay and Taloyoak. This was a ministry that lasted eight years.” During this time he learned to hunt, to travel over land and to become part of the community. “I could travel alone and would go to Repulse Bay, which is seven hundred kilometers, one way, to visit Fr. Fournier, OMI. This trip would happen two to three times a year.”
Every week of the eight months of winter there was travel with the snowmobile. “I probably travelled the most miles of anyone. I learned all the skills to survive, hunt and at times I would become a guide. The people would ask me to lead when the weather was bad.” With a smile he added, “I became a brother to them.”
How is the North part of your blood?
Without hesitation the answer came forth. “It’s the Founder. We are meant for the most difficult missions. In my understanding these are the most difficult missions. Sacred Scripture sends us to the ends of the earth. These peoples are at the end of the earth. This feeling has stuck in my heart since that age of fourteen.”
“I accepted this mission. I never regretted it. This is God’s place for me. Things in my life have gone His way.”
What have your received from the Inuit people?
Thoughtfully, he replied, “They taught me humility and they taught me to be respectful, to be patient and caring. They taught me to be sensitive to the pain of their past, their sufferings and their life. They also taught me to be courageous and never give up!”
His eyes moved around the northern community. “When you lose your own family, you look for family. They became my family. I am very close to these people. Their pain is my pain. Their joy is my joy.”
Sitting at the renewal program in Texas seems a very far distance from the Canadian north but Tony affirmed that when the semester ends, “I know I must go back. My time is not done. This is the place where I fit best. This is where I feel most comfortable.
“I am open to the new if I am called to do new things. With the experiences of life behind me I am ready to meet new challenges and I am ready to do it with passion.”
Summarizing his missionary life Tony framed it with: “When you become a person of passion, the passion becomes your life. I pray that I will always recognize the will of God.”