Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver



September 22, 2003

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Other stories in this week's paper

Bishops concerned anti-hate legislation may target Church

MPs vote against traditional marriage

Life Chain Oct. 5

‘Safe-injection site’ deplored by experts

San Lorenzo Ruiz chapel dedicated at St. Patrick’s

The man behind the names of three ‘Catholic’ mountains

Plea for Stein Valley

Does abortion lead to breast cancer?

Ending disability by ‘de-selection’

Celibacy is a gift cherished by the Church

Msgr. Neumann accepted death with ‘serenity, peace’

As Notre Dame turns 50, new school planned

EWTN now available on StarChoice

CCCB pleased with support for traditional marriage

United Nations recognizes Catholic health organization

Failure of WTO talks reveals credibility gap

Pope crisscrosses Slovakia with message of hope

Focus on basic Gospel values

Sainthood fast track? It’s a test of time

Front Page

B.C. bishop was catechetical pioneer


A pioneer of the Canadian Catholic catechetical movement, Bishop Emeritus W. Emmett Doyle of Nelson, has died in Kelowna at the age of 90.

He was born in Vancouver and was a member of the numerous local Doyles, a family whose forefathers came to Canada from County Wexford in Ireland. It was a favourite pastime in his retirement years to trace his family tree, said a friend.

A long-time religious educator, Bishop Doyle served as Nelson bishop for 32 years before retiring in 1990. At the time of his appointment he was a priest in the Edmonton diocese.

Bishop Doyle submitted his resignation to the Holy See when he turned 75 in May of 1988, but he continued to act as diocesan administrator until Father Peter Mallon of the Vancouver archdiocese was appointed the next bishop of Nelson in 1990. Bishop Eugene J. Cooney, installed in 1996, is the current bishop.

The bishop had been living at Kelowna’s St. Elizabeth Seton House of Prayer on Chute Lake Road prior to his death, but he and others were evacuated when raging forest fires threatened to consume the residence.

He was staying with friends until it was safe to return but had been ailing recently and died peacefully in his sleep Sept. 14, said a Seton House staff member.

Seton House is located up the mountain from Kelowna’s Mission district and was directly in the path of the fire. While the facility was spared, its administrator, Father Don Wilson, lost his mobile home which stood across the road.

The house of prayer was one of three which Bishop Doyle opened while in Nelson. He also established Anawim House in Nelson and Marywood House in Cranbrook. He invited the contemplative Sisters of the Precious Blood from Edmonton to make a foundation in Nelson in 1962.

Bishop Doyle was appointed head of the Canadian Bishops’ Office for Religious Education when the Come to the Father catechetical series was expanded into English Canada from Quebec, where it had originated more than a decade before Vatican II.

While the Come to the Father program was not used in the Vancouver archdiocese, said Vancouver’s archdiocesan Office of Religious Education director Chuck Luttrell, the Born of the Spirit series, which evolved from Come to the Father, has been used by a number of local parishes.

Bishop Doyle served as national Canadian director of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine from 1962 to 1986. He was President of what was then the national Office for Religious Education from 1966 to 1970, national director of the National Office of Religious Education from 1966-1967, and chairman of the Episcopal Commission for Religious Education from 1966 to 1969.

In a talk to religious educators in Ottawa after his retirement, he told the story of a catechist once saying to him, “My spiritual life began when I started teaching the Come to the Father series.”

“Those of us who are teachers and catechists have to be born in the Spirit ourselves if we’re going to teach the catechism,” the bishop said. “We have to live it.”

After retiring from the Nelson diocese, Bishop Doyle returned to Edmonton, where he continued to work in retirement. He also spent a few months in the Kamloops diocese before moving to Seton House at age 88.

A funeral Mass for Bishop Doyle was offered at Immaculate Conception Church in Kelowna on Sept. 18. The next day the bishop’s body was flown to Nelson for interment.

Archbishop Adam Exner, OMI, who attended the bishop’s funeral in Kelowna, recalled the many kindnesses Bishop Doyle offered him when he was appointed Bishop of Kamloops.

“He gave me a lot of fatherly advice on being a bishop which I appreciated very much. He also gave me a lot of historical background on the Church in B.C. and particularly about religious education at a time when I was named to the Commission on Religious Education. I found this very helpful indeed.”

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