Young Catholic leaders honoured at fundraiser for St. Joseph Seminary and Newman Theological College

27 June 2024

Appears in: Archdiocesan News

Two young adults in the Edmonton Archdiocese are being honoured for their leadership in building up the kingdom of God. 

Andre Boudreau and Laura Guindon received the Volvo Edmonton Leadership Award in Memory of Father Mike McCaffery at the 32nd annual Newman Golf Classic June 24. The tournament is a fundraiser in support of theological education through the Foundation of St. Joseph Seminary and Newman Theological College, which exists to raise funds for seminary and theological education in the Archdiocese of Edmonton. 

Andre Boudreau shares with the audience at the 32nd annual Newman Golf Classic.

“I’ve realized to be a leader isn’t to do everything yourself,” said Boudreau. “In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It’s trying to facilitate and build up other people’s gifts and charisms and to help them ‘enter into’ those gifts. So I deeply look forward to doing that, as I continue to grow.”

Boudreau is entering his fifth year at St. Joseph Seminary, studying to be a diocesan priest for the Diocese of Calgary. This fall he will begin a master of divinity degree at Newman Theological College, a degree required of all diocesan seminarians. 

As he moves forward with his discernment of the priesthood, Boudreau knows the responsibility that priests are called to as leaders within the Church. 

“It is daunting, because it’s not a small thing,” he said. “I very much see [leadership] as a very important and very good role that the priest has. It’s definitely very exciting, because you get to build up the kingdom of God and support people and help them enter into the different roles that they have within that kingdom.”

Andre Boudreau is a fifth-year seminarian for the Diocese of Calgary.

Boudreau was recognized for organizing an ecumenical Taize Prayer service at St. Joseph Seminary, which brought together more than 90 people of different faiths this past January. He also assisted with various liturgies at Newman Theological College, and he was on the students’ council for two years.. 

For Boudreau, the $2,500 Father McCaffery Award was also an answer to his prayers. 

“This summer I very much felt called to reduce my hours of work and spend more time working at my parish because I’m in seminary. I am trying to enter more deeply into my seminarian commitments,” he said. “

“To do that, it would mean that I would make less money, so I can volunteer at the parish. This [award] is an answer to prayer and my worries about that. I asked the Lord, ‘please provide for me in my poverty!’ So this means a lot!”

Father Michael McCaffery was a leader in the Edmonton Catholic community for more than five decades. He served in numerous parishes across the province and was honoured with the Alberta Order of Excellence in 2005. 

Father McCaffery taught at Newman Theological College and served as Chancellor of the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton. Father McCaffery died in 2021. The Leadership Award was established in his name to recognize students – both undergraduate and graduate – who have been exemplary leaders within the Catholic community. 

Laura Guindon in the Canadian wilderness. Photo courtesy of Laura Guidon.

Laura Guindon is also studying towards her master of divinity degree at Newman Theological College. Her desire to work in ministry is informed by an awareness that the Church needs more leaders.

“I believe that leadership doesn’t [always] have to be positional,” she said. “This is especially highlighted when you realize that the Church in Canada is poor in leadership in the sense that we don’t have enough priests; many priests have more than three parishes that they need to attend to and even though they can be amazing leaders. . . they just can’t do it all alone. . . so I believe that we need lay people to be involved in the Church.”

Guindon is an invested member of the local Catholic community, taking the initiative to serve in many capacities, including serving the homeless in downtown Edmonton, singing Newman Theological College’s student choir and volunteering with C-YEG, a Catholic young adults community in Edmonton. 

Laura Guindon sharing with the audience of the 32nd annual Newman Golf Classic.

Guindon has a background in ministry, with a certificate in Outdoor Leadership from Prairie College and having served at Frontier Lodge in Nordegg. A personal relationship with Christ is at the heart of her aspirations. 

“[I’m taking my master’s in divinity], because I want to be prepared for ministry properly. A master’s degree in divinity is focused on the whole person: the spiritual, the intellectual and the pastoral elements of ministry,” Guidon said.

“So getting my [degree] is important because I can’t be a good leader in the Church if I don’t know the Church,” she said. “ If I don’t know Scripture and if I don’t know God, how can I lead people to God? I can be a better instrument of the Lord’s and lead with His joy and His love and His mercy, if I am closer to him.” 

Jenny Connelly, Archdiocese of Edmonton

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