Visit to Yellowknife in June 2019 for a
Canadian Catholic Indigenous Council gathering
By Bishop Mark Hagemoen, Bishop of Saskatoon
In early June 2019 I joined the members of the Canadian Catholic Indigenous Councilin Yellowknife for our annual meeting.
The Council was established in 1998 by the Catholic Bishops of Canada. It encourages Aboriginal leadership in Catholic Christian communities, supports healing and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous, and advises the Canadian Bishops on a variety of indigenous issues.
Flying into Yellowknife – still ice on Great Slave Lake on June 13!
This distinctive Cross sits above the “Trapper’s Lake Retreat Center” of the Diocese of Mackenzie-Fort Smith. The center was the site for our meetings.
Chief Ernest Betsina welcomed and greeted the members of the Council to Chief Drygeese territory of the Yellowknife Dene Nation.
View from “Trapper’s Lake Retreat Center”: the reteat house of the Diocese of Mackenzie-Fort Smith, located 10 kilometers outside Yellowknife, NWT.
Members of the Canadian Catholic Indigenous Council are:
- Fibbie Tatti, Yellowknife and Dettah, NWT (co-chair);
- Bishop Mark Hagemoen, Diocese of Saskatoon (co-chair);
- William Angalik, Arviat, Nunavut;
- Bishop Jean-Pierre Blais, Diocese of Baie-Comeau, Quebec;
- Bishop Marcel Damphousse, Diocese of Sault Ste.Marie, Ontario;
- Gary Gagnon, Edmonton, Alberta;
- Archbishop Peter Hundt, Archdiocese of St. John’s, Newfoundland;
- Deacon Rennie Nahanee, Vancouver, BC;
- Melanie O’Neil, Toronto, Ontario;
- Paul Soucie, Ottawa, Ontario;
- Dennis Whitford, Grand Prairie, Alberta.
Members of the Canadian Catholic Indigenous Council in session.
Staff from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops also attend the meeting: Kyle Ferguson and Tracy Blain.
Council members prepare to celebrate Holy Eucharist at St Kateri Tekawitha Church in Dettah, about 40 minutes from Yellowknife.
Deacon Rennie Nahanee of Squamish First Nation near Vancouver, BC., proclaims the Word of God.
Committee members had the opportunity to participate in “Aboriginal Days” celebrations, which began with Sunday Eucharist and a community meal at the Yellowknife River traditional site.
Pausing for a photo after Mass at St. Kateri Tekakwitha Church, in Dettah – about 40 minutes from Yellowknife on Great Slave Lake.
Several of the bishops were available for Confessions before Mass.
This year’s Aboriginal Days was dedicated to the conclusion of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Women and Children, and its “Calls to Action” that were features of its concluding report.
Drummers from the Dettah community with Chief Edward Sangrese.
Members of the Dene community proclaimed the Word of God. Bishop Marcelle Damphousse looks on as Cecilia Rabesca proclaims the 2nd Reading.
William Angalik is the first Inuit representative on the Council. He lives in Arviat, Nunavut.
The bishop celebrants are joined by Jim Lynn of Dettah. Jim works for the Diocese of Mackenzie – Fort Smith in its Chancery Office and Archives.
Anglophone Safeguarding Conference at the Irish Pontifical Institute, Vatican, July 1-5, 2019
By Bishop Mark Hagemoen, Diocese of Saskatoon
Bishop Robert Bourgoin (Diocese of Hearst-Mosonee) and I represented the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops at this year’s conference in Rome, which aims to develop awareness and best practices for Catholic dioceses and organizations regarding ‘safeguaurding’ in relation to all ministries and activities run by Catholic organizations.
The aim of the conference is to improve all protocols in ensure the safety of young people of vulnerable adults, and to also facilitate dialogues amoungst dioceses and Bishops assemblies in anglophone dioceses about developing safegaudring ‘best practices.’
Some of the insights and learnings included the following:
- Safeguarding of Children is becoming an increasingly complex and urgent issue, especially due to the expansion of technology;
- Awareness of the need of initial and ongoing formation for clergy and religion on the topic of safeguarding. Formation and education is an ongoing feature in our education support, and will address the following themes
- Developing best practices re: safeguarding;
- Contextual challenges: living in a culture where abuse of women, children, and vulnerable adults continues to expand;
- Developing expertise regarding: a) dealing with the trauma of victims; and b) responding appropriately to those who are guilty of abuse.
- The challenge of implementing and overseeing consistent ‘best practices’ amoung various diocesan and religious entities;
- Being ‘victim-focussed’ when complainants come forward;
- Review of “Vos Estis Lux Mundi” by Pope Francis.
Gathering for the celebration of Eucharist during the Conference at the chapel of the Irish Pontifical Institute.
Rock Your Roots: National Indigenous Day Walk for Reconciliation June 21, 2019
By Bishop Mark Hagemoen, Diocese of Saskatoon
On Friday, June 21, organizations from across Saskatoon joined in the annual “Rock Your Roots” walk in support of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. The event was very well attended. Thousands of people walked through downtown Saskatoon.
The atmosphere was festive, while respectful. I was very pleased to see so many of our Catholic schools well represented. Many church groups were also present.
Stopping for a picture at the gathering with Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark.
Celebrating Confirmation and First Eucharist across our diocese
June saw the conclusion of the celebrations of the Sacraments of Confirmation and First Holy Communion across the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon.
These celebrations are truly an occasion of important celebration with the faith communities and parishes of our diocese. The celebrations are also great opportunities for me in my role as bishop to share dreams and hopes for our diocese, as well as communicate to our young people how God calls them – and how our bishop and diocese needs them – to discover and share their God-given charisms and gifts in service of the life and mission of Jesus Christ.
Confirmation and First Holy Communion celebration at St. Patrick Parish in Saskatoon.
Confirmation and First Holy Communion celebrated at St. Mary Paish in Wynyard.
Other photos from Confirmation/ First Eucharist celebrations in the diocese: Photo Gallery
Visit to the Parish Communities of the Wadena Deanery
By Bishop Mark Hagemoen, Bishop of Saskatoon
From July 8 to 14, 2019, I visited the parishes of the Deanery of Wadena. The deanery is located in the eastern-most area of the diocese, and has been a part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon for just over 20 years.
The first visit was to St. Theresa’s, Lintlaw. The community gathered from early evening Mass. A cemetery blessing followed.
Fr. Emmanuel Banahene at St. Theresa, Lintlaw, SK
St. Theresa Parish, Lintlaw, July 7.
Blessing the graves at St. Theresa cemetery, Lintlaw, SK.
Fr. Emmanuel Bahanene introduces the evening townhall meeting at St Joseph’s Parish in Kelvington:
Town Hall Meeting with the Bishop at St. Joseph Parish, Kelvington on July 9, 2019.
On Wednesday morning July 10, St. Mary’s Parish in Wadena gathered to celebrate morning Mass, followed by Eucharistic adoration – a regular event for the parish.
The community of Our Lady of Poland Parish in Fosston is very proud of their church. Following a visit to the Church and cemetary blessing, a community meeting was held at a local community hall.
Pastoral visit to Fosston, SK.
Community members gather for a picture at the blessing of graves held at the Fossten cemetery.
Blessing the graves at Fosston, SK.
Community of St. George Parish in Naicam gathered with their pastor Fr. Charles Nweze for a luncheon and meeting following the celebration of Mass.
Fr. Charles Nweze at St. Felix Catholic Church, Archerwill, SK
Visit to St. Felix, Archerwill in the Wadena deanery.
The Rex Mundi Camp was another stop during this visit. The outdoor recreation facility and ‘camp’ is located north of Nobleville, and just within the Prince Albert diocese. It now operates as a rental facility for various church and community organizations who can offer their own family and youth programs.
Fr. Charles Nweze and Fr. Travis Myrheim of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Prince Albert at the Christ the King / Rex Mundi Youth Camp chapel at Marean Lake, SK.
Fr. Travis Myrheim of Prince Albert diocese serves on the Rex Mundi board, and assists with some of the programs.
A small chapel-church is a feature of Rex-Mundi, as well as an outdoor shrine to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
St. Lawrence Parish in Nobleville:
There was a gathering of the community at St. Lawrence, Nobleville for evening Eucharist, followed by the blessing of the cemetery and a luscious pot-luck dinner. Many summer vacationers from areas cottages in the ‘lake country’ gather at the church for the celebration.
Parishioners at St. Lawrence, Nobleville, SK, prepared for the potluck dinner.
The blessing celebration at the adjacent cemetery followed the Mass. The evening was a blustery on this part of wild prairie. The weather and setting certainly gives a sense of the grandeur and immensity of God’s creation on the prairie.
The community gathered at Christ the King Parish in Rose Valley, where following Mass we had a wonderful pot-luck lunch. Following the lunch, we travelled to the Rose Valley parish cemetery for a blessing service.
Parishioners at Christ the King Parish in Rose Valley.
Parishioners of Christ the King Parish in Rose Valley join in prayers at the cemetery.
Following the lunch, we travelled to the Rose Valley parish cemetery for a blessing service.
Foam Lake, Wynyard, Wishart parishes:
Community at Christ the King Parish in Foam Lake gathers following morning Mass July 13.
Following the Mass we travelled to Sheho, where we visited the former site of the Church, and celebrated a cemetery blessing. A parish luncheon and meeting followed back in Foam Lake.
Prayers at Sacred Heart cemetery at Sheho, SK.
A cemetary blessing was also held at the Foam Lake cemetery with Pastor, Fr. Augustine Osei-Bonsu, Pastor of: St. Mary’s, Wynard; Christ the King, Foam Lake; Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Wishart.
A Town Hall Meeting with representatives of the three parishes was held at St. Mary’s Parish in Wynyard after an evening celebration of the Eucharist.
Parishioners from St. Mary, Wynyard, Christ the King, Foam Lake and Immaculate Heart of Mary, WIshart , at celebration of the Eucharist July 12 at St. Mary Catholic Church, Wynyard.
Parishioners from Foam Lake, Wishart and Wynyard participated in the Town Hall Meeting with the Bishop July 12 at St. Mary, Wynyard, SK.
The deanery visit concluded with the celebration of evening Mass with a pot-luck dinner and community meeting at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Wishart.
Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, Wishart, SK.
The parish features an outdoor Stations of the Cross. This station is the “Death of Jesus on the Cross.”
Preceding Mass in Wishart was a blessing of the cemetery several kilometers outside of Wishart.
Gravesite of Fr. Richard Kunka, who served the parish in the late 1960’s, and who died in 1972.
Bishop Mark Hagemoen celebrated Eucharist with Fr. Augustine Osei-Bonsu and parishioners at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, Wishart, SK.
Summer Spiritual Pilgrimages in the Diocese of Saskatoon
By Bishop Mark Hagemoen, Diocese of Saskatoon
Spiritual pilgrimages are a great feature in the summer season in the Diocese of Saskatoon. They occur across the diocese and province as soon as schools close. They are opportunities for spiritual devotion and community celebration. They are also occasions when people from across different areas of the province and beyond can celebrate their common fellowship in our One Lord, and gain inspiration from the legacy of faith of persons who have gone before us, who have contributed through their lives of faith, service, and devotion – evident also in the presence of the various churches and pilgrimage sites.
The 87th Annual Pilgrimage to Reward, SK, featured a group of pilgrims who walked from Unity to Reward (above) the day before the Pilgrimage celebration.
The trip was roughly 34 kilometers, and featured times of prayer and petition, and remembering in solidarity those faithful from the area who have gone before us in faith, prayer, and life – as the faith was lived in this western area of the area known at St. Joseph’s Colony and the Saskatoon diocese.
The walking pilgrims departed from St. Peter’s Parish in Unity at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 6 – the day before the Sunday gathering at Reward. The walk was about 8 hours in all.
Fr. Greg Roth behind the wheel of his Charger, providing support to the walking pilgrims.
Fr. Greg Roth led the pilgrims in his Charger through the country roads leading to the Reward church site. Fr. Greg would drive ahead every 2 kilometers for the entire 34 kilometer trip, to make sure traffic was aware of the walk, and to address any needs of the pilgrims along the way. Fr. Greg also walked several kilometres himself – changing places with Matthew Witzany behind the wheel.
A model of Holy Rosary Church was on display this year at the Reward shrine site. The replica was built by Roy Kappel. Originally on display at the heritage museum in Lloydminster, the model has now been donated back to the Holy Rosary pilgrimage site. Completing the detailed model involved about 1,500 hours of work.
Celebration of Sunday Eucharist July 7, 2019 at the Holy Rosary Shrine at Reward.
Blessing of the graves at the cemetery of Holy Rosary Church at Reward, after the pilgrimage Mass.
The annual pilgrimage at the Mount Carmel shrine, west of Humboldt, was held two weeks later, on July 21.
Abbot Peter Novecosky, OSB, and several Benedictines from St. Peter’s Abbey in Muenster were on hand for the celebration. Music ministry was provided from a choir from St. Scholastica Parish in Burr, SK.
Proclamation of the Word at Mount Carmel Mass July 21, 2019.
Carrying the Blessed Sacrament in procession to the top of the hill at Mount Carmel Shrine for the blessing of the fields.
Clergy “Sports Days” held at St. Peter’s Abbey, Muenster, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus of Saskatchewan
The annual “Clergy Sports Days” were again held at St. Peter’s Benedictine Abbey on July 15 and 16, 2019. There was a good turnout of clergy from the dioceses of Regina, Saskatoon, and Prince Albert.
The clergy played a surprisingly intense and competitive series of sports, including soccer, volleyball, and basketball. The previous evening featured ping-pong and board games. The bishops tried to quell the competitiveness – but, alas – this effort was in vain.
Annual celebration at St. Ann Seniors Home
I again had the privilege of celebrating with the residents and community of St. Ann Seniors Home in Saskatoon on the Feast of St. Joachim and St. Ann – July 26, 2019.
Sisters Margaret Beaudette and Dianne Naud – Sisters of St. Joseph of Canada (below) – attended the Mass. Both have worked in the Diocese of Mackenzie-Fort Smith, NWT, for decades, providing education, counselling, and ministerial support in several parish communities. They visited Saskatoon during the time of the St. Ann celebration.
Mass and Luncheon Celebration at Columbian Manor
Another of our Catholic senior housing facilities – Columbian Manor – was the site for a gathering and celebration this summer. The residents of Columbian Manor includes several priests and religious. The Manor has plans to expand. On Aug. 5, residents and community supporters came together for a mid-summer celebration of the Eucharist, and a community event.
Monsignor Stan Urbanoski and Monsignor Ray Senger concelebrated at the Mass, along with Fr. Michel Bedard. Mass was followed by a lunch-time banquet. There was a large turn-out at the annual event.
Blackstrap Youth Camp – operated by the Knights of Columbus
On July 25, 2019, I again had the opportunity to celebrate the Mass for the leaders and campers at Blackstrap Youth Camp, run by the Knights of Columbus at Blackstrap Lake, south of Saskatoon.
The Camp Coordinator, Julien Dale, led a capable team of councillors and youth leaders. Julien started his first year as a teacher with Saskatoon Catholic Schools this September.
Several campers enjoy their ‘gourmet camp meals’ at Blackstrap. Meals feature a competition for who goes first – a very spirited and fierce competition!
Our Lady Queen of Peace Polish Catholic Church 100th Anniversary Celebration on August 11, 2019
Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church (north of Prud’homme) was constructed in 1918-1919. Many former residents gathered for a centennial celebration at the church in August.
There was a very large turn-out and a festive mood as many recalled their days celebrating at the church. The views are stunning – as one looks south from the entrance of the Church one can see rolling prairie farm landscapes. The power and the blessing of the land is evident, and certainly contributed to the faith and spirit of the pioneers of the church community.
It was a pleasure to have Monsignor Stanley Urbanoski and Fr. Denis Phaneuf join regional pastor Fr. Colin Roy to concelebrate at the Sunday Eucharistic liturgy.
Community members gathered for celebration of the Eucharist at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church. The interior of the Church is in very good shape, and features most of the original liturgical elements.
Following the Mass, a procession to the cemetery adjacent to the followed, which featured blessing of the grave sites.
Bishop Bryan Bayda’s father, Joseph Michael Bayda, joined the celebration.
The cake was so large, we couldn’t finish it!
Dedication of Statue of St. Mother Theresa on the Feast Day of St. Mary Parish, Macklin
The Nativity of Mary – the Mother of Jesus – September 8, 2019
The weekend of Sept. 7-8, 2019 was a time of special celebration for the parishes that make up the north-west region of the diocese.
For St. Mary Parish in Macklin, the feast-day of the parish was also the occasion to celebrate a significant ‘pro-life’ saint of the Church – St. Mother Teresa. The community is demonstratively pro-life!
The Mass and dedication of the statue was on the grounds of St. Joseph’s Health Care facility. The statue is located on the grounds where many religious sisters prayed the ‘Stations of the Cross’ as they lived and worked at St. Joseph’s facility. In attendance was Jean Morrison – President and Executive Director of Emmanuel Care.
Statue of St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta holding a small child.
Fr. Binu Rathappillil, VC, addresses the congregation at the beginning of the Sunday Eucharistic celebration and dedication/ blessing of the statue of St. Mother Teresa.
The homily at the event celebrated St. Mother Teresa as an example of the power of one holy person’s “YES” to giving themselves to Christ and caring for the beloved little ones – especially those on the peripheries. It was also the occasion to invite the community to get ready to receive the upcoming “Diocesan Pastoral Plan” soon to be promulgated in the diocese.
Local musicians led the celebration of the Mass for the parish feast day.
Blessing of the statue at the beginning of the Eucharistic liturgy.
Applicants to the Permanent Diaconate Program
Paul Wheeler, Nicholas Blom, Ryan LeBlanc and their wives, Ely, Maureen, and Monique gathered for an informal dinner at my residence on Sept. 5, 2019.
Receiving New Clergy in our Diocese to Serve our Parish Communities
The Diocese of Saskatoon continues to be blessed by the clergy who come to serve our diocese. This summer several priests arrived from Ghana, Nigeria, and India to serve our parish communities.
A New Clergy Formation program was recently held for newly-arrived priests in the diocese of Saskatoon (left to right): Fr. Prosper Abotsi (Associate Pastor for Humboldt cluster); Fr. Santhosh Thekkekulam, VC, (Pastor for Wilkie cluster); Fr Jerome Ogunleye (pastor for Wadena cluster); Fr. Francis Appiah-Kubi (pastor for Fox Valley cluster); Bishop Mark Hagemoen; Fr. John Abban-Bonsu (Associate Pastor, Holy Spirit, Saskatoon); Fr. Habila Musa (Pastor for Rosetown cluster); Fr. Paul Oshin (Associate Pastor, St. Paul, Saskatoon); and Fr Clement Arthur (Pastor, St. Michael and St Peter the Apostle, Saskatoon). – Photo by Kiply Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News.
The spring and summer season was a time of experiencing an abundance of God’s blessings and the experience of the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a striving and faithful People of God. ministry and blessing.
The Diocese of Saskatoon continues to reveal so many ways in which love and dedication to Christ and the Church is evident in the many activities and devotions of dedicated and zealous people.
I look forward to the upcoming Fall season as we introduce our Diocesan Pastoral Plan, and propose to our parish communities pastoral goals to help our communities and diocese continue to engage in the life, mission, and ministry of Jesus Christ.