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Corner Brook bishop says faith led him to priesthood

St. Padre Pio Church photo 
Corner Brook and Labrador Diocese Bishop Peter Hundt has been appointed as the new archbishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of St. John's.
St. Padre Pio Church photo Corner Brook and Labrador Diocese Bishop Peter Hundt has been appointed as the new archbishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of St. John's. - Contributed

Coming from a family of deep faith, Bishop Peter Hundt said that faith has always been an important part of his life.

His dedication to his faith is about to take the Roman Catholic bishop of the Corner Brook and Labrador Diocese in a new direction.

Hundt was appointed archbishop of the Archdiocese of St. John's by Pope Francis on Wednesday. The Corner Brook bishop’s name was one of three sent to Rome for consideration to replace Archbishop Martin Currie, who resigned on Tuesday, his 75th birthday.

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Hundt, 62, said he was honoured to have been asked to assume the role.

A native of Hanover, Ont., Hundt spoke about the faith of his family during an interview on Wednesday afternoon.

“Coming from that context where we believed that God was all loving and all wise, you pray to know what he wants you to do,” he said.

As he was going through high school, and trying to decide what to do after, he would pray and came to the realization he needed to try the seminary.

“I didn’t know if I’d stay, but I thought I wouldn’t be settled if I didn’t at least give it a try.”

As he studied it became clearer and clearer to him that God had called him to the priesthood.

He was ordained a priest on May 8, 1982 and first served as an associate pastor at St. Eugene Parish in Hamilton, Ont.

In 2006, he was appointed an auxiliary bishop in Toronto, and was appointed bishop of the Corner Brook and Labrador Diocese in 2011.

“The bishop thing is something you don’t plan for,” he said, adding it’s somebody else who discerns where a person is called.

The appointment as archbishop, he said, is an honour and humbling, and brings with it some fear.

“Because from a faith perspective you’re a successor of the apostles and you’re being called to a role that you really can’t be worthy of. You can only try to do your best to carry it out.”

Hundt said leaving Corner Brook after seven years will be hard, as he’s had a wonderful staff and the people have been so welcoming. He’s spent time at every parish in the diocese and has gotten to know many of the people, almost like when he was a pastor of his own parish.

Hundt said the Archdiocese of St. John’s is by far the largest in the province in terms of Catholic population. As the metropolitan archbishop oversees the province’s other two dioceses, he’ll still have some involvement with the Corner Brook and Labrador Diocese.

A date for his installation as archbishop has not yet been set. Until that occurs, Currie will serve as apostolic administrator of the diocese.

Hundt expects the process will now start to find his replacement.

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