DECLARATION — During this year’s Western Conference for the Catechumenate gathering in Saskatoon, Bishop Donald Bolen presented members of the late Msgr. Michael Koch’s family a declaration from Pope Benedict XVI about his appointment as monsignor. Koch was the founder of the WCC and the director of Christian Initiation for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon. (McKay photo)
Koch noticeably absent at conference
By Arch McKay
SASKATOON — Noticeably absent at the 22nd annual Western Conference for the Catechumenate (WCC) gathering in Saskatoon this spring was Msgr. Michael Koch, who died May 10 after a short but valiant battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or “Lou Gehrig’s disease.”
Bishop Donald Bolen of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon
celebrated mass May 26 with those attending this year’s WCC event at Holy
Spirit Parish. Members of Koch’s family also attended the celebration,
which focused on Koch’s life and the many contributions he made
to the catechumenate.
During his homily, Bolen quoted a letter that Koch had
written to Bishop Klein, indicating his desire to go to the seminary,
stating that he was “most
willing to labour for the souls of the diocese.” In the work of
Christian initiation Koch often cited that “God does the calling
(and in RCIA) there was no need to push.”
Bolen also described Koch’s strong belief that the
RCIA process had the potential for transforming lives and renewing parish
life and the life of the church.
The bishop related how after being diagnosed with ALS,
Koch accepted the journey he was given, saying “how can I preach (the Gospel)
if I do not live it?” In Koch’s last days, “while the
outer person was wasting away, the inner person was being renewed,” Bolen
said, quoting St. Paul.
During the celebration, Bolen presented members of Koch’s family with the declaration from Pope Benedict XVI, honouring Koch with the title Honorary Prelate of His Holiness which included being addressed as monsignor. At the family’s request, the framed declaration will be kept at the Diocesan Pastoral Centre.