The Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon
A Message from the Most Reverend Mark Hagemoen, Bishop of Saskatoon:
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
This Annual Report covers the 2019-2020 fiscal and ministry year, which began so hopefully with the launch of our diocesan Pastoral Plan in the fall of 2019 and which ended in the midst of the global pandemic that has changed so many things in our lives, our ministries and our outreach.
Before and during the challenges of the global COVID-19 pandemic in this 2019-2020 period, our mission to Proclaim Christ and God’s Kingdom Today has not changed or wavered. The Church has not stopped or closed – in fact during this tragedy we have seen God’s grace inspire many new insights and opportunities for outreach.
During the 2019-2020 year we saw three main themes unfold, namely:
- PASTORAL PLAN – The launch of a three-year diocesan Pastoral Plan with its identified mission to “Proclaim Christ and God’s Kingdom Today” and the new initiatives and renewed focus resulting from the proclaimed priorities of the plan introduced across the diocese starting in September 2019.
- SAFEGUARDING – The ongoing efforts to strengthen safeguarding and the Covenant of Care in our diocese, parishes and ministries, with training sessions, updates to policy, and the March 15, 2020 release of a Safeguarding Action Plan, entitled “Safer Church, Safer Communities,” which includes 20 safeguarding commitments to prevent and respond to abuse.
- COVID-19 RESPONSE – The efforts that followed the March to May 2020 shutdown of worship gatherings under public health orders and restrictions, which saw our diocese and our parishes diligently and creatively using new methods of communicating and providing outreach, the increasing use of live-streaming and other technology, as well as ongoing efforts to maintain church operations during the shutdown, including accessing government funding assistance to maintain staffing levels.
In this Annual Report you will see examples of ministry and services provided in our diocese as together we answered our call to Proclaim Christ.
I would also note that a number of initiatives have since come to fruition past the 2019-2020 scope of this report, including: the arrival of the Verbum Dei Sisters to provide ministry in our diocese, the introduction of an Academic Vocation Program and of an Indigenous Pastoral and Lay Leadership Education Program, a change in the age of confirmation of children from Grade 2 to Grade 6, the introduction of a new format for the Adult Faith Enrichment program and the hiring of an Evangelization and Mission leader, as well as the continuation of online events, communication and outreach.
I am profoundly grateful for the ongoing generous and faithful support of the people of God in this diocese and for the solidarity and zeal that I have witnessed every day during the scope of this report and beyond. I recognize that I speak this message of hope given that our country and our world face many challenges to the message and vision of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Together we go forward into 2021, seeking and trusting in God to guide us through the challenges of this pandemic and form us as His disciples who Proclaim Christ to a hungry and searching world.
+ Mark A. Hagemoen
Bishop of Saskatoon
Our Diocese: An overview
Eatonia Deanery includes parishes located at Burstall, Dodsland, Eatonia, Eston, Fox Valley, Kindersley, Lancer, Leader, Liebenthal, Marengo, and Richmound.
Kerrobert Deanery includes parishes located at Biggar, Denzil, Handel, Kerrobert, Landis, Leipzig, Luseland, Macklin, Major, St. Donatus, Tramping Lake, Unity, and Wilkie.
Saskatoon Rural Deanery includes parishes located at Allan, Asquith, Beechy, Colonsay, Davidson, Dundurn, Elbow, Elrose, Kenaston, Langham, Outlook, Martensville, Prud’homme, Rosetown, St. Denis, Vanscoy, Viscount and Vonda.
Saskatoon City Deanery includes parishes located in the city of Saskatoon: Cathedral of the Holy Family, Holy Spirit, Our Lady of Czestochowa, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Anne, St. Augustine, St. Francis Xavier, St. John Bosco, St. Joseph, St. Mary, St. Michael, St. Patrick, St. Paul Co-Cathedral, St. Peter the Apostle, St. Philip Neri, St. Thomas More, and Sts-Martyrs-Canadiens.
Humboldt Deanery includes parishes located at Annaheim, Bruno, Burr, Cudworth, Englefeld, Humboldt, Lake Lenore, Lanigan, LeRoy, Middle Lake, Muenster, Naicam, Peterson, Pilger, Quill Lake, St. Benedict, St. Gregor, Watrous, Watson, and Young.
Wadena Deanery includes parishes located at Archerwill, Foam Lake, Fosston, Kelvington, Lintlaw, Nobleville, Perigord, Rose Valley, St. Front, Wadena, Wishart, and Wynyard.
109 Religious Sisters
7 Religious Brothers
755 First Communions
103 Catechumens (RCIA)
• 44 Catholic Elementary Schools / 7 Catholic High Schools (Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools in Saskatoon, Humboldt, Biggar, Martensville and Warman; Light of Christ Catholic School in Unity)
• 2 Catholic Colleges (St. Thomas More College, Saskatoon; St. Peter’s College, Muenster)
• 1 Catholic School of Faith & Learning (St. Therese Institute, Bruno)
• 1 Catholic Hospital (St. Paul’s Hospital, Saskatoon)
• 5 Catholic homes for the aged (Emmanuel Care facilities in our diocese: St. Joseph Care Home, Macklin; St. Ann’s Home, Saskatoon; Samaritan Place, Saskatoon; Trinity Manor, Saskatoon; and St. Angela Merici, Saskatoon)
Proclaim Christ: Pastoral Plan launched for diocese in 2019
Growing in Faith: Deepening Intimacy with the Lord
Christian Initiation Forming missionary disciples
At the Rite of Election on the first Sunday of Lent March 1, 2020, Bishop Mark Hagemoen blessed 47 catechumens from across the Diocese of Saskatoon who were preparing to be baptized in the Catholic Church. The newly-elect signed their names in the Book of the Elect during the diocesan celebration. The bishop also blessed 21 already-baptized candidates who were preparing to join the Catholic Church.
Proclaiming Christ: Making Every Sunday Matter
Sunday experience changes with pandemic
The importance of Sunday worship is recognized among the priorities of the diocesan Pastoral Plan.
During 2019-2020 familiar features of gathering together for the Eucharist were disrupted by the global pandemic declared in March 2020, with public worship first suspended for several weeks, then slowly resuming with limits on numbers and other measures to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
In spite of all the challenges, worship and outreach continued, with parishes and ministries using technology and creativity to find ways to continue to connect and to pray together.
Proclaiming Christ: Providing Sunday witness during shutdown
Outdoor Cross – Holy Week 2020
With public celebration of Easter 2020 liturgies an impossibility because of COVID-19, Bishop Mark Hagemoen initiated a unique project. A log cross was constructed and raised on the grounds of the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon, and a previously-carved wooden figure of the crucified Christ was placed on the rough-hewn wood. From Holy Thursday to Easter Monday 2020, the cross stood on the grounds, with many driving by, stopping to pray and to venerate the cross. Members of the Knights of Columbus held vigil, monitoring traffic and ensuring that all physical distancing requirements were met.
Prayer and worship: Connecting in creative ways during a time of pandemic
Shortly after the global pandemic was declared in March 2020, Fr. Matthew Ramsay of St. Anne Parish Saskatoon flew over the city with the Blessed Sacrament and a statue of Our Lady of Fatima (above), praying for all those affected by COVID-19. From parish “phoning trees” to sacramental preparation via Zoom, faith communities found innovative ways to stay connected and to pray together during COVID-19.
Prayer and worship: Connecting in creative ways during a time of pandemic
Throughout the pandemic, the diocesan Liturgy Commission, under the leadership of Bishop Mark Hagemoen, has provided direction and guidelines related to public worship. As well, the diocesan Finance Office worked diligently to assist parishes in applying for government assistance to offset declining collections as public worship was affected. A diocesan website for live-streaming of Mass was quickly established, and the Diocese of Saskatoon Catholic Foundation set up an online “parish giving” service for directing donations.
Growing in Faith: Evangelization and Catechesis
Confirmation and First Eucharist
The spring 2020 Confirmation and First Holy Eucharist season was disrupted by the global COVID-19 pandemic, with gathering for public worship suspended from mid-March to mid-May.
Like schools in the province, some parishes in the diocese switched to “distance learning” method and Zoom meetings for catechism classes and sacramental preparation, with scaled-down celebrations of the sacraments held for children once the numbers permitted to gather slowly increased.
Growing in Faith: Evangelization and Catechesis
Change in Age of Confirmation
After consultation with pastors, parishes, and Catholic schools, at the end of the 2019-2020 ministry year in July 2020, Bishop Hagemoen announced that going forward, children in the diocese of Saskatoon would be confirmed in Grade 6, rather than in Grade 2. Since 2006, Grade 2 children in the diocese have received the sacraments of Confirmation and First Holy Communion at the same celebration). Going forward, First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion will continue to be celebrated by children in Grade 2.
Proclaiming Christ: Nurturing and blessing leaders
Delvin Kanewiyakiho, First Nations and Métis cultural consultant for Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools
offered a drum song during the opening celebration for the 2019-2020 school year.
Proclaiming Christ: Nurturing and blessing leaders
Catholic school year launched
“Led by the Spirit” was the theme of the opening day celebration for teachers and staff of Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools (GSCS) who gathered together Aug. 30, 2019 at the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon to launch a new school year, that would include a worldwide pandemic declared in March. Bishop Mark Hagemoen presided at the opening Mass.
Installation of pastors
In the fall of 2019, Bishop Mark Hagemoen continued a commitment to celebrate Mass with parish communities welcoming new pastors, including a special blessing ritual for pastors such as Fr. Mick Fleming, CSsR, who was appointed pastor of St. Mary Parish in Saskatoon.
Proclaiming Christ: Enrichment and Prayer
Call to evangelize
It is time for Catholics to “get into the game” and actively proclaim the gospel as missionary disciples, Pete Burak of Renewal Ministries told a crowd gathered Nov. 7, 2019 at the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon. Pete Burak’s presentation at the diocesan event in Saskatoon followed keynote presentations at a diocesan Priests’ Study Days earlier in the week.
At the public event, Nicole Laliberte also gave a dramatic presentation of the “Woman at the Well” about the Samaritan woman’s encounter with Jesus (John 4).
Growing in Faith: Formation and Prayer
Proclaiming Christ: Vocations
In 2019-2020, a new Academic Vocation Program was under development as a partnership between the Diocese of Saskatoon and St. Thomas More College (STM). The program eventually launched in the fall of 2020, combining academic studies at the Catholic college with spiritual formation. The diocese learned in 2019-2020 that the Verbum Dei missionary community would send religious sisters to Saskatoon to embark on ministry in the diocese, particularly in the area of retreats and young adult ministry.
A Breathe Marriage Conference in the Diocese of Saskatoon brought 170 people together at the Saskatoon Inn in September 2019 in a program featuring talks, celebration of Mass with Bishop Hagemoen, prayer ministry, opportunities for confession and time for couples to spend focusing on their relationship.
Day of Prayer for Reverence for Life Jan. 26, 2020
Proclaiming Christ: Reverence for Life
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.
(Reverence for Life Prayer Card artwork: “Nazareth,” a painting by Michael O’Brien – used with permission)
Pro-Life Advocacy Continues
The Diocese of Saskatoon Justice and Peace Office worked with various partners throughout 2019-2020 on letter-writing campaigns and petitions to provincial and federal government representatives in favour of conscience rights for health care providers unwilling to participate in taking a life and opposed to expanding access to euthanasia / assisted suicide.
Proclaiming Christ: Justice, Witness and Prayer
Federal election issues from a Catholic perspective were up for discussion at an event Oct. 9, 2019 in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, held during a federal election campaign. Myron Rogal, coordinator of the diocesan Office of Justice and Peace; Cristin Dorgan Lee, vice-principal St. Michael Community School, and Fr. Joseph Salihu, pastor of St. Augustine Parish in Humboldt (above, l-r), were panelists at the pre-election event, which was hosted by Bishop Mark Hagemoen. Questions and issues addressed from a Catholic perspective included poverty, Christian persecution, life issues, and the environment, as well as reconciliation with Indigenous people.
Prayers for Creation
The Season of Creation
The Season of Creation was marked Sept. 19, 2019 with a multi-faith prayer service and program of speakers hosted by the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saskatoon. The theme of the 2019 “Akathist” event was: “Reconciling with Each Other, Healing Mother Earth.” The Season of Creation begins each year on Sept. 1, the World Day of Prayer for Creation, and continues until Oct. 4, the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology and the environment.
Proclaiming Christ: Ministries of Service, Outreach and Healing
Grow Hope Saskatchewan
Feeding the hungry
At a Grow Hope Saskatchewan field day Aug. 24, 2019, local farmer Nathan Janzen, Myron Rogal of the Diocese of Saskatoon Justice and Peace Office, Canadian Foodgrains Bank representative Jacqueline Block, and Mennonite (MCC) representative Rick Guenther (l-r) stand before a field of wheat planted for the Grow Hope Saskatchewan project. Farmers donate land, time and expertise, while donors cover input costs, with funds from the sale of the harvest going to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank to feed hungry people around the world
Week of Prayer 2020
An opening service for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity was held Jan. 19, 2020 at Knox United Church in Saskatoon, with participants joining Christians around the world in praying for unity and reconciliation.
Fr. Bernard de Margerie and Rev. Ron McConnell together light a single candle March 8, 2020, during a 20th anniversary celebration of the ecumenical covenant between Holy Spirit Catholic Church and McClure United Church in Saskatoon. The history of the covenant, its impact and meaning, and next steps forward were highlighted.
Chapel at new hospital blessed
Diocesan Hospital Chaplaincy coordinator Jackie Saretsky and Fr. Matthew Ramsay of St. Anne Parish, Saskatoon (pictured, left to right), were among those attending the October 2019 blessing of the multi-faith chapel in the new Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital in Saskatoon.
The diocesan Hospital Chaplaincy office is coordinated by Jackie Saretsky, whose time is divided between visits to patients at Saskatoon City Hospital and Royal University Hospital, and working with volunteers, providing administration and education. When the pandemic hit in March 2020, volunteers were no longer permitted to visit, with only hospital chaplains permitted as part of the care team (Saretsky and priest chaplain Fr. Rhèal Bussiere until June 2020). Jackie Saretsky also presents the Dying Healed workshop to groups in the diocese, focused on providing compassionate care to those at the end of life.
Dianne Anderson coordinates the diocesan Office of Restorative Ministry, offering visits, prayers, and healing programs to inmates, as well as outreach to families, and coordination of volunteers and parish involvement. In-person ministry was interrupted by COVID-19 in March 2020, which shut down visiting at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre, leading to a new emphasis on telephone ministry. Before that pandemic interruption, in-person programs presented at the prison through the Restorative Ministry Office included worship services, healing circles, grief programs, parenting classes, and a unique “bedtime stories” video project – in which screened inmates are selected to be videotaped reading a story and a short message to send to their children. The video is then delivered to the children along with the book and new pyjamas in a backpack (all provided through donations).
Office of Migration
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon has been helping refugees for about 40 years, mostly through the dedicated work of committed volunteers, now supported by staff in the Migration Office, including Coordinator Rev. Dr. Jan Bigland-Pritchard.
The diocese is a Sponsorship Agreement Holder with the Government of Canada, able to apply for between 30 and 50 refugees a year. In 2019-2020, the diocesan Migration Office had an active caseload of some 100 people, with 36 refugees applied for in 2019, and 37 in 2020.
The average time it takes from when a parish agrees to sponsor a family until the family arrives at the airport is between 18 months to 2.5 years. The worldwide coronavirus pandemic border closures that started in mid-March 2020 meant arrivals stopped for several months, before finally resuming in the fall of 2020.
A special grant from the federal government through United Way this year has meant that the Migration Office has been able to provide laptops, printers and training (in their own languages) to a number of families so that newcomers had access to online language classes, medical help, government benefits, and remote learning for children, when the schools were closed to in-person attendance.
Proclaiming Christ: Moving from Maintenance to Mission
Stewardship and fundraising
The Diocese of Saskatoon Catholic Foundation began the 2019-2020 ministry year fresh from hosting a successful Western Canadian Catholic Stewardship Conference in June 2019. The 2019 Bishop’s Annual Appeal was launched and completed as usual by year-end, with a $1.405 million goal.
A few short months later, in March 2020, everything was changed by the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.
Restrictions placed on gatherings, including worship, fund-raising events like the Bishop’s Dinner, parish collections, and in-person training, as well as on the distribution of printed materials, disrupted many plans.
However, through it all the diocese’s fund-raising and stewardship arm found ways to stay connected with parishes and with Catholics across the diocese, sharing information about the diocese’s continuing and ongoing ministry needs. The Catholic Foundation initiated Zoom meetings with parishes, pursued electronic communication with renewed vigour (including a new texting service), undertook more mailouts, and set up a new online “Parish Offertory” program to assist parishes.
Covenant of Care: Safeguarding commitments
As part of an ongoing commitment to safeguarding children, youth and the vulnerable in our churches, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon in 2020 published a Safer Church, Stronger Communities safeguarding action plan featuring 20 commitments aimed at preventing and responding to abuse by clergy or others in the church.
The Safer Churches, Stronger Communities action plan reflects the recent work of a diocesan Safeguarding Committee established by Saskatoon Bishop Mark Hagemoen in 2018, to review and update the diocese’s long-standing policies related to safeguarding and abuse.
“With this action plan we wanted to explain how our own local Catholic community is responding to this important issue,” says Safeguarding Committee Chair Brenda FitzGerald. “The bottom line is that we are committed to do all we can to make our churches safe for all, and to heal the hurt caused by the crime of sexual abuse.”
View the Safer Churches, Safer Communities document (four pages) below:
Proclaiming Christ: Communicating in many ways
The diocesan Communications Office has continued to use traditional communication vehicles such as a weekly insert prepared for church bulletins and a printed Diocesan Newsletter (with a 24-page edition published and distributed to parishes and Catholic schools in November 2019.) At the same time, communication efforts have also expanded to include an improved diocesan website at rcdos.ca, e-mailouts of news and materials, as well as the increasing use of video and social media, including the live-streaming of Mass since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
An online Catholic Saskatoon News portal, created in 2018 (after the closing of the Catholic weekly newspaper The Prairie Messenger) has also become an important online vehicle for sharing local, national. and international Catholic news – especially this year: news.rcdos.ca
Facebook: @saskatoonrcdiocese – www.facebook.com/saskatoonrcdiocese
Twitter: @saskatooncath – twitter.com/saskatooncath
News site: Catholic Saskatoon News: news.rcdos.ca
Live-stream of Mass website: – saskatoonmass.com
Financials at a Glance
EPISCOPAL CORP OF SASKATOON STATEMENT OF OPERATIONS
Consolidated with Parish Development Fund
or contact (306) 242-1500 to request a printed copy of the Audited Financial Statement
Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon
123 Nelson Road
Saskatoon, SK S7S 1H1
We pray that our Lord will bring healing as this terrible pandemic afflicts the world.
We pray for the healing of all who are sick, especially the elderly and infirm.
We also pray for God’s protection for all those we rely on who are on the front lines of response –
especially health care workers and other service providers.
May we also recommit to walking always with the Lord.
(Excerpt from Bishop Mark Hagemoen’s 2020 Easter Message)