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Bishop offers insights and reflects on challenges at 2018 Bishop's Dinner

Bishop Mark Hagemoen describes “faith in action” during gala event

By Kiply Lukan Yaworski

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon’s new bishop shared insights about mission and ministry during the 2018 Bishop’s Dinner held May 11 at the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon. Proceeds will go to support ministry and outreach in the diocese.

Bishop Mark Hagemoen gave an overview of goals, focuses and priorities that have started to consolidate since his installation as bishop of Saskatoon nearly six months ago.

“I am looking very much forward to continuing to work with you and the people of our diocese as we hone and fine tune the ongoing vision for supporting the life and mission and ministry of the People of God of the diocese of Saskatoon,” Hagemoen told the nearly 300 in attendance at the gala dinner.

He described getting to know the people of his new diocese, which he did not know much about when he was asked to leave his position as Bishop of Mackenzie-Fort Smith diocese in the North to come to Saskatoon. “I have encountered many very dedicated, energetic, generous people involved in so many different projects, initiatives and ministries, works of caring and hospitality, social justice, children, youth, and family initiatives, community service and building projects, just to name a few,” he said.

He noted the strong Catholic school system, the ecumenical and interfaith relationships, the outreach of Catholic health care facilities, and in prisons and rehabilitation centres, and very important inner city support initiatives that are happening in the diocese. “These are places where the church should and must be – and you are – we are.”

 

A vision for the diocese needs much prayer, reflection and collaboration, Hagemoen said, listing some general focuses for the diocese – including sacramental life which “draws and strengthens the People of God” into the life and ministry of Jesus Christ; faith formation; community programs and support for community healing, social outreach and ministries of support to those in need or on the margins; and the stewardship needed in building, development and resource support, for parish facilities and for developing clergy and lay leaders.

“As I reflect on my early months here… I am amazed and impressed with the dynamic life of this diocese,” the bishop said. “I am very grateful to my predecessors for their vision, leadership, and hard work.”

Challenges ahead

The bishop also outlined challenges facing the diocese, including anticipating growth and the need for properties for new churches in the growing urban area, as well as the need to repair and maintain existing churches in the rural environment. Hagemoen said that he anticipates that there will be an increasing demand for decreasing program funding, with some organizations changing criteria for grants, for instance. “We will as a diocese need to be more creative about building and maintaining our own funds if we are to sustain lasting, effective, ministry programs.”

He also addressed the relationship with Indigenous peoples, noting how the diocese has made the truth and reconciliation process a key priority. “The recent announcement that at this time Pope Francis would not personally be coming to Canada to address Call to Action 58 is disappointing,” Hagemoen said, but added that the diocese’s resolve to move forward with reconciliation efforts continues. “Our journey of reconciliation involves all of us. Relationship involves more than we may think.”

Related to this theme is the new priority of supporting the northern archdiocese of Keewatin-Le Pas, he added. “Dioceses across Canada in the south are committing to provide ministry and funding support to northern dioceses (that) face tremendous challenges, with very limited resources,” he said, noting this support will be an addition to this year’s Bishop’s Annual Appeal. “As we reach out to our brothers and sisters in northern Saskatchewan, we will also be blessed by such relationship building.”

 

On the leadership side, there is a need to continue to build a culture of calling and fostering vocations to the priesthood and religious life. “We have now launched into the early stages of a new Permanent Diaconate program in our diocese,” he added, announcing the first cohort of men preparing for ordination as permanent deacons will begin formation in the fall.

“In terms of lay leadership, we need and we must continue to invest our resources and efforts into calling, forming and supporting our diocesan and parish leadership,” Hagemoen said. “Life is not getting any simpler or easier, and providing strong supports and good training for leadership is an ongoing and necessary priority.” He thanked the many lay leaders and members of the faith community for their “generous and active support,” in particular those who have stepped up to serve on diocesan committees and commissions.

In conclusion, he thanked all those present at the dinner for their support. “What a legacy of faith to build on: faith has been active and expressed here for a very long time,” Hagemoen said. “We are a people of faith in action, especially as we care and help our community to be a blessing, God’s blessing, for a hungry, searching world.”

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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