Cate Anthony is currently in the final stages of a Bachelor of Theology degree through the Faculty of Religious Studies at McGill University. Cate has been a highly involved associate of MDTC over the past four years, not least of all through participation in community events and retreats, and the leading of the Daily Office. This summer she goes on to further adventures when she will join the Episcopal Service Corps for a year-long placement in Chicago.
I knew about Dio before I even knew I would be moving to Montreal.
It’s true. When I was first applying to McGill and perusing the university’s student housing website, I marked the Diocesan College residence (known at McGill as University Hall) as my first choice. The building alone made the residence attractive: all that red brick and a bell tower! Beyond that, though, as a church geek and hopeful ordinand, the idea of living in a residence with a church downstairs was too good to be true. When I got my notification email that I’d been placed in Dio for my first year dorm, I did a happy dance in my driveway.
I moved into Dio in August of 2010. Ten days later, on my first day of classes, I made my first university friend: Nicholas Pang, whom some of you may know. He was very kind, starting out his Bachelor Theology degree, as was I. We sympathized over New Testament Studies essays that first term, and he patiently, kindly, wisely offered advice as I adjusted to university life. Nicholas is now the Reverend Pang, ordained priest on March 30th and working at St. George’s, but to me he’s still just Nick, a dear friend in Christ.
It was Nick who first invited me to the Wednesday lunches at the Diocesan College. I remember feeling a bit nervous the first time I actually went to the 11:30am service; I think I was intimidated by all the priests and people who (like me) wanted to be priests and were actually in the process of making that happen. The service, too, was different than the Eucharistic service of the Episcopal Church in the States (I hail from Delaware, originally). I remember watching the students ringing hand bells as we sang the Psalm and being deeply moved by the clang of each note.
I kept going to the Wednesday services, and eventually John Simons, the principal of the College, asked me if I wanted to be considered an official associate there. I don’t think I’ve ever told him this, but that offer was the thing that made Montreal really feel like home. You see, for me, home is all about community, and Dio has been the most steadfast community of my time here. With John’s offer of “association” came a chance to be involved in Wednesday Eucharistic services as an assistant and intercessor and to lead Daily Offices, things I still do today. I got to preach, on two early Friday mornings my first and second year. I even got to take part in the annual Christmas skits (the year my fellow students impersonated certain faculty members will always be my favorite). Easily and without hesitation, the community at Dio invited me in and made me part of the gang. Now, I look back at that first Wednesday service and wonder how I ever could have been nervous.
Fast-forward a few more years, and soon I will graduate from McGill. My last Wednesday service is fast approaching. In the time since I first walked into Saint Luke’s Chapel, every student that I met my first day at the College has been ordained- some more recently than others (congratulations to Brian, Lorne, and Nick!). I’ve had the distinct pleasure of watching and participating in Rhonda Waters’ and Donald Boisvert’s first years of ministry at the Cathedral, and they have played no small part in making that place a home to me, too. The networks of relationship and community that Dio gave me in my first days here in Montreal last even to this day. I have no doubt that this community will continue on long after I leave. Who knows- maybe each of these people will be at my own ordination, laying on hands and continuing the tradition we all love and uphold.
As I said, I’m leaving Montreal soon. I graduate on June 3rd and then will head back home for the summer before moving to Chicago to join the Episcopal Service Corps for a year. After that, God-willing, I’ll go to seminary somewhere in the States and, one day, be ordained. As I set my face toward all these oncoming experiences of Christian community, I feel so grateful for what I’ve learned of community through my time at Dio. You know, most priests have one seminary they call their own. I will have two. And oh! What a blessing that is.