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January 2023

Day of Prayer for Reverence for Life – 2023 message

By Bishop Mark Hagemoen's blog

Message from Bishop Mark Hagemoen – PDF

By Bishop Mark Hagemoen, Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon

The day of prayer for Reverence for Life will be celebrated in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon on Sunday, January 29, 2023, providing our faith communities with an opportunity for prayers, reflection and discussion about the value of the precious gift of human life.

2022 featured a year when we continued to struggle with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the terrible war in Ukraine. I continue to hear from many that the events of the last few years have highlighted both the fragility and strength of human life. It is in these times that we continue to struggle with care of the vulnerable, and especially with protection and care for the unborn and critically ill in our communities.

SINS AGAINST HUMAN LIFE CONTRIBUTE to an UNCARING and UTILITARIAN CULTURE

Canada continues to deal with the tragic repercussions of removing abortion from the Criminal Code. We now mark the 35th anniversary of the Supreme Court of Canada decision in the Morgentaler case on January 28, 1988, which removed all remaining restrictions on abortion in Canada. Incredibly applauded by many in our society, this moment in our nation’s history holds within it the tragic reality of millions of lost lives.

Victims of abortion include the unborn children who are killed, but also the mothers, fathers and families left wounded after an abortion. The community is also weakened and damaged as the weakest and most vulnerable among us are not valued and protected.

As the Canadian government continues to seek to expand access to doctor-assisted suicide – also known as “Medical Aid in Dying” or “MAiD” – the words of the Holy Father only a few years ago continue to ring prophetic:

“The victims of this [throwaway] culture are precisely the weakest and most fragile human beings – the unborn, the poorest, the sick and elderly, the seriously handicapped, etc. – who are in danger of being ‘thrown away’, expelled from a system that must be efficient at all costs.”

During the Papal visit to Canada on his Penitential Pilgrimage for healing and reconciliation in July, Pope Francis called on all Canadians and people of good will to dream and work for a future that is able to see the God-given dignity of all peoples, and gain inspiration from Indigenous people’s cherishing of the relationship between elders and youth. On the feast day of Saints Joachim and Ann, he implored these saints to help us treasure the presence of our elders in order to create a better future:

“…a future in which the elderly are not cast aside because, from a ‘practical’ standpoint, they are ‘no longer useful’. A future that does not judge the value of people simply by what they can produce. A future that is not indifferent to the need of the aged to be cared for and listened to. A future in which the history of violence and marginalization suffered by our Indigenous brothers and sisters is never repeated. That future is possible if, with God’s help, we do not sever the bond that joins us with those who have gone before us, and if we foster dialogue with those who will come after us. Young and old, grandparents and grandchildren, all together. Let us move forward together, and together, let us dream.” (See +Francis’s presentation at Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton, July 26, 2022.)

This statement reminds me of the Pope’s call several years ago to continue the steady work to turn our culture from one of convenience and short-sightedness, to a cultural movement that seeks – through good-will and honest reflection – the realization of a truly human culture. (+Francis’s speech to Dignitatis Humanae Institute Dec. 7, 2013)

INCOMPATIBILITY of CARE FOR CREATION with ABORTION and EUTHENASIA

Pope Francis highlights that respect for creation and human dignity are issues that are only realized together. As he states:

“Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion… How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties?” (see Laudato Si, #120)

The Gospel’s moral and social teaching calls on all people of good will to bring to bear intellectual, social, and political consciousness on the inconsistency that is affecting the well- being and flourishing of human cultures throughout our world. As Pope Francis states:

“It is necessary to raise awareness and form the lay faithful, in whatever state, especially those engaged in the field of politics, so that they may think in accord with the Gospel and the social doctrine of the Church and act consistently by dialoguing and collaborating with those who, in sincerity and intellectual honesty, share – if not the faith – at least a similar vision of mankind and society and its ethical consequences. (+Francis’s speech to Dignitatis Humanae Institute Dec. 7, 2013)

Indeed, this effort is at the service of every person on the planet! If we do not engage in calling each other to a greater and fuller humanity, we should then not be surprised at the larger deterioration of a culture of human care and respect.

The LOSS of HEART

Current advances in science, genetics and embryology clearly show the distinct humanity of each unborn child, which comes into existence at conception. Each new, distinct human person shares the fundamental human right to life that we as Canadians celebrate and support on so many other fronts.

Failing to recognize that right has left our country damaged – not only in the missing and lost lives of millions of unborn children – but is removing ‘the heart’ from our society. Devaluing human life at any age or stage has inexorably led to the legalization and growing acceptance in our country of euthanasia and assisted suicide: our lives seem to cease to have meaning and value as we face the fear of not being ‘useful’, or that we are a ‘problem’ to those on whom we rely for care.

The loss of heart is also the root cause of so many other evils in our midst, including: discrimination, injustice and racism, violence, poverty and hunger, debilitating addiction. It also contributes to the problem of indifference towards those outside my own immediate circle of concern. The recovery of heart will be a very important feature in the coming times – as we work towards the goals of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous and all peoples. The recovery of heart must also contribute to finding true and lasting pathways for a true peace – not a superficial peace that removes us from caring for and being engaged with one another.

Sisters and brothers, let us respond to loss of heart by holding steady to the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: the Sacred Heart for our world. Let us join in our common prayer for Reverence for Life on January 29, and throughout this year. Sisters and brothers, we again pray that as a people and nation we may re-discover our heart!

______________________________________

 

“Nazareth” – painting by Michael O’Brien:  used with permission on the Reverence for Life prayer card, Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon

Prayer:

Almighty God, giver of all that is good,
we thank you for the precious gift of human life:
For life in the womb, coming from your creative power,
For the life of children, making us glad with their freshness and promise,
For the life of young people, hoping for a better world,
For the life of people who are disabled, teaching us that every life has value,
For the life of the elderly, witnessing to the ageless values of patience and wisdom.

Like Blessed Mary, may we always say “yes” to Your gift.
Help us to realize the sacredness of human life and to respect and cherish it from conception to its natural end.

And bring us at last, O Father, to the fullness of eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.

AMEN

Prière

Dieu Tout-Puissant, donateur de tout ce qui est bon, nous te remercions pour le don précieux de la vie humaine:

Pour la vie dans le sein maternel, provenant de ton pouvoir créatif,
Pour la vie des enfants, nous rendant heureux de leur fraîcheur et de leur promesse,
Pour la vie des jeunes, espérant pour un monde formidable,
Pour la vie des personnes qui sont handicapées, nous apprenant que toute vie a de la valeur,
Pour la vie des personnes âgées, témoignant des valeurs intemporelles de patience et de sagesse.

Comme la bienheureuse Marie, puissions-nous toujours dire “oui” à Ton don.

Aide-nous à réaliser le caractère sacré de la vie humaine, à la respecter et à la chérir de la conception à sa fin naturelle.
Et amène-nous enfin, ô Père, à la plénitude de la vie éternelle en Jésus-Christ notre Seigneur

AMEN

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Week of Prayer for Christian Unity celebration

By Bishop Mark Hagemoen's blog

By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News

A joyful celebration of shared faith, reflection on sins of division, and affirmation of unity concluded the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Jan. 25, 2023 in Saskatoon.

The Wednesday evening ecumenical service at Holy Spirit Catholic Church wound up a week-long program that saw a return of in-person gatherings as well as online offerings Jan. 18-25, exploring the 2023 theme “Do good, seek justice” (Isaiah 1:17) from the Minnesota Council of Churches.

The closing celebration in Saskatoon began with words of welcome from Fr. Joseph Salihu, pastor of Holy Spirit Parish, and from Mary Nordick, Chair of the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism board of directors. “Ecumenism is not just one week,” she said. “It is an ongoing movement, guided by the Holy Spirit, and prayer is its foundation.”

Prayer leaders Fafali Ahianhonu of St. Andrew Presbyterian Church and Cathryn Wood of St. Stephen Anglican Church then offered the call to gather, saying: “By the waters of baptism, we have become members of the Body of Christ, yet our sins have caused pain and trauma to each other. We have failed to do good. We have not sought justice in the face of grave oppression, nor heeded God’s command to care for the widow and orphan. As we gather, let us reflect on our actions and inactions, and learn to do good and seek justice.”

The service continued with an invitation to confession and prayers for forgiveness, grounded in scripture. “As we have been washed clean in the living waters of baptism, forgive us anew and reconcile us to one another and to creation,” prayed the leaders.

Susan Burns of Holy Spirit Parish proclaimed a reading from Ephesians 2:13-21, and Rev. Ron McConnell of the United Church of Canada led the Psalm 42 response. Bishop Mark Hagemoen proclaimed the gospel from Matthew 25:31-40 – “Whatsoever you did for the least of these, you did for me.”

Other readers included Joanne Steckler, Carol Pek and Melissa Schubert of Holy Spirit Parish, and Carol Claypool and Sharon Weins of McClure United Church, which shares a covenant relationship with Holy Spirit Catholic Church.

Rev. Dr. Ali Tote of the Saskatchewan Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) gave the homily during the ecumenical service held Jan. 25 at Holy Spirit Catholic Church to conclude the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in Saskatoon. (Photos by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)

In the homily, Rev. Dr. Ali Tote of the Saskatchewan Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) reflected how our intentional effort to “do good and seek justice” is the important first step, even when our hopes to “do good” fall short. He shared his own struggles, coming to Canada from Cameroon to live and work in a L’Arche community. “I thought I came to do good,” he said, but was dismayed by failures and inadequacy, before ultimately finding strength and comfort from the prayers and acceptance of those he came to help.

Tote led the assembly in a refrain of “Yet we are the people of reconciliation,” in response to a litany of examples of division, racism, oppression, hurt and failure — such as the treatment of Indigenous Peoples and the tragedy of Residential Schools involving Christians and churches.

In the midst of these failures, God continues to “bless our desire to be willing to do good and seek justice,” he said, pointing to the hope of conversion, reconciliation and unity and urging his listeners to “take heart” and continue the journey. “Be renewed in your commitment to labour and do good.”

The service continued with a ritual action of “stones and stories” introduced by Holy Spirit parishioner Cam Choquette. Guests representing many nations and cultures came forward to share where they come from and to place a stone in front of the altar. All those assembled were then invited to also place a stone, representing “the struggles and triumphs, the hopes and dreams that your ancestors knew; the lived stories embedded in your culture and history.”

During the ecumenical service Jan. 25 to conclude the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in Saskatoon, representatives with roots in many nations and cultures came forward to place a stone at the front of the altar in recognition of the “beauty in our diversity and in our God-given birthright of unity.” The service at Holy Spirit Parish in Saskatoon concluded a week of in-person and online events. (Photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)

“We are all part of one bigger story on earth,” said Choquette.

Together the assembly offered a prayer of renewed commitment: “Let us stand courageously against all abuse of power — where women, children, ethnic and religious minorities, and all others who are rendered vulnerable for some particular reason, are treated as less than equal in dignity. Let us stand for the deepest dignity of all human beings. Let us strive always to elevate others and work with one heart towards unity. Let us know and strengthen the bonds of our unity as Christians, that we may be a beacon of hope and a light on the hill for the world.”

Bishop Mark Hagemoen gave the final blessing, noting that the closing celebration fell upon the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul — a reminder of the constant call to conversion. “We go forward knowing that we are people humble before God and one another, and that we will find our common strength and source in Him.”

Other events during WPCU 2023

Earlier in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Prairie Centre for Ecumenism in Saskatoon and the Regina Council of Churches once again offered an eight-day online Bible study, with each day led by a different Christian leader from across Saskatchewan.

Speakers for the Bible study included Rev. Brody Albers, Anglican, Christopher Lake;  Rev. Dr. Kathleen James-Cavan, United Church, Saskatoon; Major Al Hoeft, Salvation Army, Regina; Pastor Rachel Wallace, Mennonite, Eigenheim; Deacon Harry Lafond, Roman Catholic Diocese of Prince Albert; Dave Feick, Micah Mission, Saskatoon, Rev. Keitha Ogbogu, Free Methodist, Calgary and Rev. Dr. Ali Tote, ELCIC, Saskatoon

A Week of Prayer for Christian Unity youth event was also presented by the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism working in partnership with some of the Saskatoon downtown churches, starting with supper, followed by a presentation on Restorative Justice from Dave Feick, Executive Director of the Micah Mission in Saskatoon.

Queen’s House of Retreat and Renewal in Saskatoon again hosted an ecumenical prayer service during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, held Jan. 19 and followed by a lunch.

The De Margerie Series for Christian Reconciliation and Unity featured two lectures — one in Regina and one in Saskatoon and both available online. The series guest speaker was the Anglican Bishop of Quebec, Bishop Bruce Myers, OGS, speaking on “Ecumenical Log Drivers: Forming Agents of Reconciliation for Church and World.”

The De Margerie Series is named in honour of Fr. Bernard de Margerie, a priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon who has dedicated his life in ministry to the promotion of Christian unity. In this 10th year of the series, the annual event was expanded to offer lectures in both Regina and Saskatoon under the sponsorship of the Leslie and Irene Dubé Chair for Catholic Studies at St. Thomas More College, the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism, the Archdiocese of Regina, and Campion College.

Bishop Myers was also the speaker at two morning workshops held at St. Stephen Anglican Church in Saskatoon presented by the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism – one Jan. 20 for clergy and leaders entitled “Ministering Ecumenically In Our Congregations,” and the second on Jan. 21 “Living Into The Unity We Seek”, which was open to all.

Related:  WPCU Message from Bishop Mark Hagemoen – LINK

Related: 2023 WPCU Bible Study series is available on PCE YouTube Channel – LINK

Related: De Margerie Series held in two cities (article)

Related: De Margerie Series – Lecture 1 video (Regina Jan. 18) – LINK / Lecture 2 video (Saskatoon Jan. 19) – LINK

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Meeting with Development and Peace representatives

By Bishop Mark Hagemoen's blog

Bishop Mark Hagemoen met with representatives of Development and Peace / Caritas Canada on Jan. 25 for updates about local parish and deanery initiatives and about the new national five-year theme of “Create Hope,” as well as plans for Share Lent and a year-long focus on “Standing Up For the Land.”

Read more from D & P Animator for Saskatchewan and Keewatin-Le-Pas at: “Ready, Set, CREATE HOPE!”

“Journey into Exile” / “Un Voyage en Exil”

By Enriching faith

Offered Feb. 7 at Holy Spirit, Saskatoon (English) and Feb. 8 at Sts-Martyrs-Canadiens, Saskatoon (French), this is an immersive and interactive activity to raise awareness about the reality facing refugees around the world.

Tuesday Feb. 7:

The Journey into Exile Event will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7 at Holy Spirit Parish, 114 Kingsmere Place, Saskatoon In English. This is a simulation exercise aims to raise awareness about the reality of refugees around the world seeking safety, security, and a better life in a new country. This immersive and interactive activity — designed for ages 14 and up — will enable you to gain first-hand experience about the challenges and hopes of refugees.

There is no charge to attend, however space is limited; register at: https://form.jotform.com/230224198607253. For more information contact Myron Rogal: mrogal@rcdos.ca or call (306) 659-5841

 

Journey into exile Info Sheet (PDF)What is it? What will I do? Why should I participate?

mercredi le 8 février:

Un Voyage en Exil – Le 8 février, 19h00 à Sts-Martyrs-Canadiens situé au 1007, rue Windsor à Saskatoon. Ces un exercice de simulation visant à sensibiliser à la réalité des réfugiés du monde entier en quête de sécurité et d’une vie meilleure dans un nouveau pays. Cette activité immersive et interactive vous permettra d’acquérir une expérience directe en lien avec les défis et les espoirs des réfugiés et est recommandé pour les 14 ans et plus.

Cet événement est gratuit, mais le nombre de places est limité et vous pouvez vous inscrire dès aujourd’hui sur: https://form.jotform.com/230174555042247.  Pour plus d’informations, contactez Myron Rogal à mrogal@rcdos.ca ou 306-659-5841.

Applications now being accepted for healing and reconciliation projects

By News

Indigenous Reconciliation Fund –

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, the diocesan Indigenous Discernment Circle and its Granting Committee are now accepting applications for funding projects addressing Indigenous healing and reconciliation initiatives as part of the national $30-million commitment by the Catholic Bishops of Canada announced in September 2021.

Find more information at: rcdos.ca/indigenous-reconciliation-fund and/or via the links below.

Indigenous Reconciliation Fund diocesan grant application process DONATE to the Indigenous Reconciliation Fund

 

All grants are to be made in support of local projects and initiatives of:

  • Healing and reconciliation for communities and families.
  • Culture and language revitalization.
  • Education and community building.
  • Dialogues involving Indigenous elders, spiritual leaders and youth with focus on Indigenous spirituality and culture.
  • The diocese may seek support from or provide support to other dioceses and/or regions for projects that have impact beyond their diocese/region or are in excess of the committee’s budget.

General consideration and process will be as follows:

  • Sourcing of grants is the responsibility of the Discernment Circle and board.
  • All grants are to be made with Indigenous consultation based upon an assessment of the project’s merit and local value.
  • All recipients must be registered charities.
  • Projects and collaborations will be guided by integrity and align with miyo pimatisiwin and Catholic Social Teachings.
  • Grants will be made for up to 5 years.
  • Available funds are to a maximum of $250,000 per year over 5 years.
  • Preference will be given to initiatives that support legacy projects.
  • While the Granting Committee of the Discernment Circle guides the application process, approved grants will be made by the national “Indigenous Reconciliation Fund” directly to the recipient.

(Download application form and submit to Indigenous Discernment Circle Granting Committee, Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, 2nd floor, 123 Nelson Road, Saskatoon, SK S7S 1H1, or via e-mail to: bishop0ffice@rcdos.ca for more information contact Myron Rogal at the Catholic Pastoral Centre, 306-242-1500).

Discernment Circle Covenant Statement

 

NEWS - Discernment Circle unveils vision for national Indigenous Reconciliation Fund

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