In a celebration rich with music, prayer and symbolism, Most Reverend Gregory Bittman was ordained on September 3, the memorial of St. Gregory the Great, as the first Auxiliary Bishop of Edmonton. Over 1,200 friends, family and well-wishers joined 23 bishops and more than 120 priests and deacons for the Mass at St. Joseph's Basilica. In his homily, Cardinal Thomas Collins offered words of encouragement for Bishop Bittman, with whom he worked when he was Archbishop of Edmonton.

"As Bishop Gregry Bittman begins this day his episcopal ministry, he does so surrounded by the love and prayers of us all," Cardinal Collins said. "I hope the bishops school in Rome will be of some help, but every day really is bishops school. It is in serving the servants of God that one learns how to be a servant of the servants of God, as long as one does so in a spirit of abandonment to God's will, a spirit deepened through a life of prayer, and as long as one humbly learns from the mistakes that are sure to come."

Archbishop Richard Smith reminded the people that long ago, through the prophet Jeremiah, God had promised to guide and govern his people by raising up shepherds "after his own heart". He called the new bishop a wonderful gift to the Archdiocese. "With great joy and enthusiasm the clergy and faithful recognize the fidelity of God to his promise in the choice of Bishop Bittman."

Bishop Bittman was humble in thanking those who joined the celebration. "Once more God has manifested his great love for us by gathering us toegether to show his care and concern for his people through the gift of the episcopate. All of you who have prayerfully and faithfully supported me in my years as a priest know that I will continue to pray for you and bring your needs and intentions before the Lord. Pray for me, especially that I serve the Lord and serve you with the mind and heart  of the Good Shepherd."

If you missed it, the ordination ceremony can still be viewed at our Live Webcast page (the audio is not great in the first minutes but improves immensely after that.)

Listen to a podcast of Bishop Bittman's interview on the CBC radio show Edmonton AM.

Find out more about Bishop Bittman