Fredericton — Pope Alexander VIII canonized Saint John himself as an official saint in 1690. He is known as the patron saint of hospitals, the sick, nurses, fire-fighters, alcoholics and booksellers. You would think that this is more than enough for one man to patron, but a local priest thinks that Saint John can handle one more.
“It just makes sense to me — it’s the St. John River, so why not have the Patron Saint of Floods be Saint John?” said Father Bob Bolan, of St. Dunstan’s here in Fredericton, N.B.
“The St. John River floods every year without fail, and that’s what you want from a Patron Saint: consistency.”
We asked Bolan what kind of effect he sees this having on the view of Saint John himself considering the severe damage that these annual floods cause.
“Floods are neither malevolent or benevolent — floods just are,” he stated. “But I think with a Patron Saint of Floods we could have someone to blame for the damage and also someone to thank if one is fortunate enough to avoid that damage. You know, in keeping with the Christian tradition of casting blame.”
Bolan admitted, though, that he is quite unaware of how the whole process works.
“I’ve sent a letter to the bishop of our district signed by myself, and a number of members in my congregation. We will see where that goes. My next step is to send a letter directly to the Pope — he’s one of the more liberal popes we’ve had and I think he could get behind this.
“I don’t know…he just seems like a chill dude.”
The Manatee caught up with some of the parish members who had signed the letter.
“I think it’s a cool idea! To my knowledge there isn’t a Patron Saint of Floods [there is] so why not have Saint John do it?” said Gary Loucks, whose house was completely washed away in the flood of 2008.
Another member, Sharon Silverstone, seemed aware of the humour in the situation. “Sure I signed it, I love a good pun!” she said with a smile. “Although I’m not sure that’s a pun…but it’s ironic, I think. I’m not sure what you call it but it’s good wholesome humour. I like that.”
Though he will have to wait for an undetermined amount of time for any results on his undertaking, Father Bob remains optimistic.
“Worst-case scenario is I get suspended for blasphemy. Best-case scenario? I get to say I did something kinda neat.”