Fr. Sylvain Casavant was born in Granby, QC in 1964. Because his father was in the military, Fr. Sylvain’s family moved several time and finally settled in Edmonton, AB. He has lived in Edmonton since 1970. It was during his last year in high school that Fr. Sylvain felt a call to consider the priesthood. Having to respond to the question, “What will you do with the rest of your life?” Fr. Sylvain began praying and asking for some sort of clarity. In prayer, he sensed the Lord may be calling him to consider the priesthood and so he embarked on further studies receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree through the University of Saskatchewan. He began in the seminary in 1986 and was ordained in 1992.
Fr. Sylvain first served as associate pastor at St. Theresa’s parish in Edmonton. His two years there quickly taught him the importance of being organized as the parish was so busy, without this skill, he would have easily felt overwhelmed. He was next assigned as pastor for Rimbey, Sylvan Lake, Bently and Winfield. This five year mandate was a wonderful growing experience for him. He learned how to pastor a parish and how to love parishioners. From this experience, he was made vocations director for the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton. This was a position he held for 2 years. Other parishes in which Fr. Sylvain has served are St. Francis Xavier (Camrose), Immaculate Heart of Mary (Bashaw) and finally St. Thomas More. His last parish was one of the most challenging but also so very rewarding.
Fr. Sylvain completed his Licence in theological studies in 2011 and began working at St. Joseph Seminary in August of that same year.
Jesus said: “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves.” (Lk. 10:2-3) I am always astounded that He should tell his disciples that he is sending them out like sheep among wolves. Talk about a non-confidence booster. Who would want to begin such a ministry with this in mind? Yet, this is what Jesus said. He never sugar coated the message he proclaimed and this statement makes that clear but I would suggests there is more to this statement. If the disciples are being sent out like sheep, does this not indicate that there is a shepherd? Is this shepherd not Jesus Himself? Now one begins to see the full meaning of the statement. Jesus is not simply asking his disciples to be realistic concerning their ministry of proclamation but first to recognize that they do not go out alone. No matter what they are asked to do, no matter how hard it may seem to be, they are never alone. As sheep, they must always remember to follow the shepherd and through this following, they are strengthened to do what has been demanded of them and protected from the wolves they will most surely encounter. This is priesthood. It is never a solo act but, always connected to Christ. This connection gives us the strength and the courage to respond as He has called us and to never fear the difficulties of the mission. “What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” (Rm. 8:31)
B.A., University of Saskatchewan
M.Div., Newman Theological College
S.T.L., Teresianum (Rome, Italy)
Theology and Practise of Preaching
Newman Spirituality Concerning Imagination and Obedience and Their use in Spiritual Direction