Ex-Lutheran bishop found Catholic rock
Joseph Jacobson will be ordained a Catholic priest by Christmas
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Forty years after he was ordained a Lutheran minister, Joseph Jacobson is looking forward to becoming a Catholic priest.
Jacobson, the former bishop of the Alberta Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, was to be ordained a deacon for the Grouard-McLennan Archdiocese at St. Albert Church Sept. 21.
The 66-year-old father of two and grandfather of five expects to be ordained a priest before Christmas and to be appointed chancellor of the Grouard-McLennan Archdiocese and interim pastor of St. John Baptist Cathedral in McLennan immediately after his ordination.
"I'm very excited," he said. "After 12 years of retirement and wondering where God was leading us, it is good to have a direction. And the job couldn't fit me better as I see it. As chancellor I'll be able to draw on my own experience as a Lutheran bishop. It's amazing."
Jacobson and his wife Carolyne, who live on a farm near Bashaw, joined the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Bashaw in 1999 and became Catholics at the Easter Vigil of 2000. Their two adult children are also in the process of joining the Church.
Jacobson's journey to Catholicism began many years ago, but took a decisive turn in the late 1990s.
"There was a long process leading up to it and a long process that followed after it. But the key moment was in Ireland in 1997 when I realized that the teaching authority of the Church is something Jesus gave to Peter and the bishops and no other Church really can duplicate what Jesus gave," he explained in a recent interview in Camrose.
"You can't substitute for it. You can't find something better. You can't do without it. The Church needs a rock and the rock is the one Jesus gave us and it's the holy father with the bishops and without that there is no rock.
"Any Church that tries to live without that is subject to the shifting sands. Most churches function by a majority vote of members and that means they are very vulnerable to the popular culture. In fact they are exposed to all kinds of extremes with the result that there is no safeguards that we are going to stay on the rock, stay on the foundation of Christ."
Clarity in Ireland
That realization hit him like a ton of bricks while sitting on a rock in Ireland looking at the Atlantic Ocean. "I said, 'Oh, good Lord. I have been trying to reinvent something Jesus made right the first time."
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Welcome home (soon to be) Fr. Joseph Jacobson!