St. Catharine’s Standard
10 November 2010
By Don Fraser, Standard Staff
In a ceremony before a packed cathedral Tuesday, he was installed as the fifth bishop of the diocese of St. Catharines, on the 52nd anniversary of its establishment.
“We are very blessed to live in a region and diocese that is surrounded by water,” he said in a 12-minute address, noting the life this water brings.
“For 52 years, the diocese of St. Catharines has also been a source of great life for this region,” he added, comparing the contribution of the diocese to “living water.”
In September, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Bergie following his selection by the congregation of bishops in Rome.
Bergie is a Hamilton native and was a longtime priest there. In 2005, he was named an auxiliary bishop in that city.
He is graduate of the University of Western Ontario and the University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, and was a pastor at St. Margaret Mary church in Hamilton. Bergie was officially appointed head of the Niagara diocese last month by the Vatican.
That post had been vacant since Rev. James Wingle resigned in April.
Wingle quit unexpectedly and left a note saying he no longer had the stamina to continue on as a bishop, and asked forgiveness for his shortcomings.
In August, he released a second note to the diocese saying he was on sabbatical in Jerusalem. Monsignor Wayne Kirkpatrick was the diocesan administrator prior to Bergie’s appointment.
On Tuesday, Bergie recounted his reaction on first hearing news of his appointment.
He said he felt honoured, but still had “a degree of doubt and even fear” when contemplating his new responsibilities.
These feelings were shared with the Lord in prayer, he said.
“Over and over again, I heard Jesus say to me, ‘trust me, trust me, trust me.'”
Bergie said his spiritual response was “‘use me, use me, use me.'”
Bergie also spoke directly about the sexual abuse crisis shaking the church worldwide.
“We know that we live in a sinful world, and in a church whose members sinned,” he said.
“We can become discouraged, fearful and even angry by the actions of others, especially when this happens in God’s temple, the church.
“As a church and diocese, we must acknowledge our sins, make restitution for wrongs committed … and move forward in faith.
“In all of our power, we must ensure that this will not happen again.”
Bergie said he looked forward to his new calling.
“The Lord has called me to be your shepherd,” he told the group. “And with great humility and joy, I have accepted.
“I wish to assure you, that as we move forward in faith I will do all in my power to model my life on that of Jesus the good shepherd.”