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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



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: For more information contact Myron Rogal: 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:  Pour plus d’informations, contactez Myron Rogal à ou 306-659-5841.

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

By Enriching faith

From Jan. 18 to Jan. 25, Christians all over the world are reminded of Jesus’ prayer for his disciples that “they may be one so that the world may believe” (see John 17.21). Hearts are touched and Christians come together to pray for their unity, holding special ecumenical celebrations and prayer services during the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Message from Bishop Mark Hagemoen – LINK

Prayer service from World Council of Churches (PDF) – English / French

Local events during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity can be found at and include:

Eight-Day Bible Study

“Do good; seek justice” (Isaiah: 1:17)

The Prairie Centre for Ecumenism in Saskatoon and the Regina Council of Churches will once again be offering an eight-day online Bible study on the theme of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Each day will be led by a different Christian leader from across Saskatchewan Jan. 18 to 25 held from 12:15 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. each day except Sunday, Jan. 22, when it will begin at 3:00 p.m.

Free registration required by using this link to join by Zoom:

This Bible Study series will also be available on YouTube at PCE YouTube Channel


  • Wed, Jan 18 – Rev. Brody Albers, Anglican, Christopher Lake
  • Thu, Jan 19 – Rev. Dr. Kathleen James-Cavan, United Church, Saskatoon
  • Fri, Jan 20 – Major Al Hoeft, Salvation Army, Regina
  • Sat, Jan 21 – Pastor Rachel Wallace, Mennonite, Eigenheim
  • Sun, Jan 22 (at 3 pm)– Deacon Harry Lafond, Roman Catholic Diocese of Prince Albert
  • Mon, Jan 23 – Dave Feick, Micah Mission, Saskatoon
  • Tue, Jan 24 – Rev. Keitha Ogbogu, Free Methodist, Calgary
  • Wed, Jan 25 – Rev. Dr. Ali Tote, ELCIC, Saskatoon

The 2023 theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, “Do good; seek justice” (Isaiah 1:17), was prepared by the Minnesota Council of Churches. The themes for each day should be familiar to everyone who lives in Canada. The issues facing the churches in the United States affect us because of their proximity to our borders and as they relate to our present situation in Canada. Although Canadians often speak of building a diverse, inclusive, and just society, we know that racism is deeply embedded in our society and that we have seen great violence against people of colour and against ethnic and religious minorities. As we undertake these Bible studies, let us bring the honest questions and reflections that come when the light of the gospel illuminates the truth of both our past and our present. As we seek greater unity, may it be in service to the love and justice God has revealed in Jesus.

De Margerie Series for Christian Reconciliation and Unity

“Ecumenical Log Drivers: Forming Agents of Reconciliation for Church and World”

The 2023 De Margerie Series on Christian Reconciliation and Unity will feature speaker Rt. Rev. Bruce Myers, OGS (Anglican Bishop of Quebec).

In the past century the ecumenical movement has made extraordinary efforts in healing the wounds of division in the church. However, despite efforts to educate and inspire successive generations of Christian leaders about the quest for the church’s visible unity, an ecumenical malaise has set in which ignorance, fear, mistrust, suspicion, stereotypes, caricatures, recrimination, anathematization—even persecution continue in the relations between divided churches. Drawing on decades of reflection on ecumenical reception and formation, Bishop Myers presents an approach to teaching the practical and theological aspects of ecumenism in a way that is both holistic and pragmatic and offers the potential to raise up a new generation of church leaders who are also agents of reconciliation and Christian unity.

Dates, times, locations for the 2023 De Margerie lectures:

      Wednesday, Jan. 18, 7:00 pm at Campion College, Regina

      Thursday Jan. 19 at 7:00 pm at St. Thomas More College, Saskatoon

These are two different lectures, which can be attended in-person OR viewed on video online at: Please plan to view or attend both.

About the Speaker – Bishop Bruce Myers has been Anglican bishop of Quebec since 2017. Raised on a farm in Glengarry County, Ontario, he studied at the University of Toronto before a decade as a parliamentary correspondent in Ottawa and Quebec City. He completed his theological studies at McGill University, Montreal Diocesan Theological College, Bossey Ecumenical Institute, and the University of Geneva. He has recently completed a doctor of ministry at St. Paul University in Ottawa. He is a professed member of the Order of the Good Shepherd, an international community of Anglicans who share a common rule of life. Before election as bishop, he served parishes in Quebec City and the Magdalen Islands, and as Coordinator for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations for the Anglican Church of Canada.

The De Margerie Lectures are named in honour of Fr. Bernard de Margerie, a priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon who has dedicated his whole life in ministry to the promotion of Christian unity. In this 11th year of the lecture series, we are expanding to offer lectures in both Regina and Saskatoon under the sponsorship of St. Thomas More College, the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism, the Archdiocese of Regina, and Campion College.

A Week of Prayer for Christian Unity youth event will be presented by the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism working in partnership with some of the Saskatoon downtown churches, taking place from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 15, starting with supper, followed by a presentation on Restorative Justice from Dave Feick, Executive Director of the Micah Mission in Saskatoon.

Participants must register here – Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Ecumenical Youth event 


Week of Prayer for Christian Unity service at Queen’s House

Representatives from the ecumenical community will  lead this prayer service, held at  11 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 19 at Queen’s House, 601 Taylor Street West, Saskatoon.

The prayer service will be followed by an optional lunch, cost: $15. Register for the lunch online at or call Queen’s House at (306) 242-1916.

Workshop for Clergy

Ministering Ecumenically in Our Congregations — A workshop for clergy and pastoral leadership with Bishop Bruce Myers will be held in-person only, Friday, Jan. 20 at St. Stephen Anglican Church, 10 Grosvenor Cres., Saskatoon from 10 am to 12:00 pm.

(Restricted to clergy and pastoral leadership, no registration required.) Presented in-person by the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon.




Public Workshop

Living into the Unity We Seek – A public workshop for all people of God with Bishop Bruce Myers will be held in-person only, Saturday, Jan. 21 at St. Stephen Anglican Church, 10 Grosvenor Cres., Saskatoon.

Schedule: 9:00 a.m. breakfast; 10:00 a.m. workshop.

All are welcome, no registration required.

Presented in-person by the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism and the RC Diocese of Saskatoon


Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Closing Service

7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023

Holy Spirit Parish, 114 Kingsmere Place, Saskatoon

Homilist: Rev. Dr. Ali Tote, Assistant to the Bishop, ELCIC Saskatchewan Synod





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: 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: 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

Farewell to Benedict XVI: ‘Humble worker in vineyard of the Lord’

By News

Saskatoon Bishop Mark Hagemoen recently reflected on the life and impact of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI during a Jan. 3 Mass in Saskatoon to pray for the repose of the soul of the retired pontiff who died Dec. 31 at the Vatican’s Mater Ecclesiae Monastery at the age of 95 years.

A number of priests from across the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon were among those attending the noon-hour Mass in Saskatoon, which was also live-streamed.

“He was a massive intellectual. He was an academic and theologian. And he was a pastor ­ in particular a shepherd very much informed by his vast experience and his work over many, many years in theology and its implications,” Hagemoen said of the man who served as Pope Benedict XVI from April 19, 2005 until his resignation Feb. 28, 2013.

Bishop Mark Hagemoen presided at Mass Jan. 3 at the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon, to pray for the repose of the soul of the late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. (Photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)

In his homily Jan. 3, Saskatoon’s bishop shared a number of quotes and insights from Pope Emeritus Benedict on a range of topics and concerns, from the fundamental right to life to social justice, from safeguarding in the church to the care of the environment, from the New Evangelization to Vatican II, from digital media to the call to follow Jesus Christ’s example of charity and love for others, especially those in most need.

Among the many works and statements of Benedict XVI was the Encyclical Spe Salvi (In Hope We are Saved, 2007) in which he exhorted all the church to embrace joy and hope in spite of all the challenges facing the world, noted Hagemoen.

“God is the foundation of hope,” wrote Benedict XVI in that letter to the faithful, “not any god, but the God who has a human face and who has loved us to the end, each one of us and humanity in its entirety. His kingdom is not an imaginary hereafter, situated in a future that will never arrive; his kingdom is present wherever he is loved and wherever his love reaches us.”

Reflecting later about the impact of Pope Benedict, Hagemoen said that being asked to comment on his life and work is “like asking the child to comment on the master, parent and teacher.”

Hagemoen continued “I very much appreciated Pope Benedict XVI’s keen mind about theological matters, and the crucial distinctions and insights he provided on a number of important and difficult topics. He also demonstrated a pastor’s heart, especially when it came to expressing Christian charity by service and care for others.”

“I also appreciated his contributions to the understanding and ongoing appreciation of the Second Vatican Council, and how he encouraged all clergy and laity to delve deeply into the Council’s rich teachings. In this way he was a major proponent of the reform of renewal movement, which greatly encouraged me in my own pastoral growth and efforts,” said Hagemoen.

Saskatoon’s bishop also pointed to the great courage and humility of Benedict XVI, demonstrated in his unprecedented decision to retire as pontiff. “He did that in the love of and service of the Church …it  took a very informed, insightful and very, very humble man to do that.”

In the conclusion of his homily Jan. 3, Hagemoen prayed:: “We give you thanks Lord God for the life of this man, we thank you for his extraordinary gifts, but most of all we thank you for the way in which he loved and served Christ and his Church always, a man of not only great gifts, but a man of great humility and remarkable courage. May he rest in peace.”

Other parishes around the diocese of Saskatoon also held Mass for the repose of Pope Emeritus Benedict and/or offered prayers throughout the week.

The Requiem Mass funeral for Pope Benedict was held Jan. 5, 2023 at St. Peter’s Bascilica at the Vatican.

Video of live-streamed Saskatoon Mass to pray for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI:



Vatican News – Requiem funeral Mass for Benedict XVI Jan. 5, 2023: LINK

Canadian Catholic Bishops – Statement by CCCB President Bishop Raymond Poisson on the death of Benedict XVI: LINK

CNA Article – People attending Benedict XVI’s funeral recall personal memories of “humble pope” LINK

Benedict sought to heal wounds of the past

By Quinton Amundson, The Catholic Register

[Toronto – Canadian Catholic News] – Tributes have been pouring in from across Canada as the Catholic community has joined the world in mourning the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

The former pope died Dec. 31 at the Vatican’s Mater Ecclesiae Monastery. He was 95.

Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, hailed the former pope as a man who inspired discipleship and theological wisdom.

“Throughout the Archdiocese of Toronto, we join in mourning the loss of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI,” wrote Collins. “We give thanks for his years of faithful, thoughtful and inspiring service to the Church. As a priest for more than 70 years and in his time as bishop and supreme pontiff, Pope Emeritus Benedict offered each one of us a personal example of fidelity and of what it is to be a devoted disciple of Jesus.

“As a theologian, he followed in the footsteps of the great St. Augustine, in offering to us profound insight into the mysteries of our Christian faith, insight arising by God’s grace not only from his astonishing intellect and learning, but also from his personal holiness and pastoral care for God’s people; his writings will help guide disciples of Jesus in the centuries that lie before us.”

Collins also lauded Benedict XVI’s leadership of the universal Church.

“As pope, he led the universal Church with wisdom and holiness, providing a clear and loving message of how our faith can inspire us and guide us through the storms of life’s journey. More than ever, his own witness, humility and invitation to put others before ourselves should resonate throughout the world.”

Collins asked all 225 parishes of the Toronto archdiocese to add a special prayer of the faithful at all Masses until Benedict XVI’s funeral on Jan. 5 at St. Peter’s Basilica. Parishes also lowered their papal flags until the conclusion of the former pontiff’s funeral and were asked to celebrate a special Mass before the celebration of life at the Vatican.

Benedict’s intellectual prowess and gifts as a communicator of the Catholic faith was also admired by Vancouver Archbishop Michael Miller.

“The death of Pope Emeritus Benedict is an occasion that causes us both sadness for our loss and gratitude for his ministry,” said Miller. “Although the Church and the world have lost one of the finest Christian minds of modern times, his passing invites reflection on his dedicated service to the Gospel.

“The former pope’s writings, known for their clarity and depth, form a legacy that will endure through the ages. History will remember his bold decision to resign from the papacy when he felt himself unable to fulfill the demands of the office.

“As a close collaborator of St. John Paul, he contributed greatly to a life-giving implementation of the Second Vatican Council and fostering the new evangelization for our times.”

Msgr. Raymond Poisson, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), remembered a man who sought to “heal the wounds of our past.”

“Benedict XVI was the first pope to meet victims of abuse by members of the clergy. He publicly acknowledged the scourge of abuse by these clergy, apologized for it, and strengthened Church processes to respond to allegations, including facilitating the prosecution or suspension from the clerical state those found responsible for abuse,” said Poisson, Bishop of St-Jérôme-Mont-Laurier.

Poisson also noted that years before Pope Francis’ papal trip to Canada this past summer, the late pope had met with and expressed sorrow to Chief Phil Fontaine and a delegation from the Assembly of First Nations for past wrongs done in the name of the Church.

“Pope Benedict XVI also invited a Canadian delegation, made up of representatives of Indigenous communities, as well as Catholic dioceses and religious communities across Canada, to a private meeting in April 2009 to discuss their experience of residential schools. During this meeting, the Pope listened to their stories and expressed his regret and sadness for the sorrow suffered by many Indigenous people in the residential school system.”

One of the highlights of Benedict XVI’s papacy, Poisson said, occurred on Oct. 21, 2012, when he canonized North America’s first Indigenous saint, St. Kateri Tekakwitha.

Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton offered “profound thanks to God for the gift that this humble servant of the Lord has been to the Church and world.”

A model disciple and gifted teacher, he leaves as his legacy both a personal example of loving fidelity to the Lord and a corpus of writings that offers sure guidance for Christian living,” said Smith. “May the merciful Lord now grant to this good and faithful servant eternal peace and joy.”

Montreal Archbishop Christian Lépine emphasized Benedict XVI’s efforts to foster bonds with leaders and followers of other faiths.

“He was, like every human being, a synthesis of different elements, and wanted to be a man of faith. But I think it was also very conscious in him to consider the importance of dialogue, especially between Christian and Jewish followers as well as with Muslims.”

Calgary Bishop William McGrattan unveiled a pastoral letter in memorium where he wrote fondly about the former pope’s mind, humility, spirit of service and encouraging warmth.

He also focused on the late Pope Eemeritus’ connection with youth. McGrattan reminisced about a speech delivered by Pope Benedict XVI at World Youth Day in 2011 in Madrid, Spain. There was a rainstorm so strong that his address had to be paused for some time.

“(He) resumed praising the youth for their strength which he described as ‘stronger than the rain.’ He then exhorted them to be grounded in Christ, ‘may no adversity paralyze you. Be afraid neither of the world, nor of the future, nor of your weakness. The Lord has allowed you to live in this moment of history so that, by your faith, His name will continue to resound throughout the world.’

“These words seem to have been a personal reflection of his life in that while he had envisioned a quiet of life of retirement, he instead received the call from God in the later stages of his life to become the Vicar of Christ. His service as pope was his contribution to the ongoing plan of God for the Church.”

“We have been blessed and are incredibly grateful to have had the guidance from Pope Benedict XVI to assist and sustain us with the fullness of Catholic teachings in matters of public importance in Canada and the world,” added the Catholic Civil Rights League of Canada in a statement. “We can find numerous references in his words where he brought Christ and the theology of the Church to the public square, against the onslaught of efforts to remove positions of faith from public engagement.”

Founded in 1985, the League came to be as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and the president of the International Theological and Pontifical Biblical commissions.

It was during the League’s 20th anniversary that Benedict was chosen pope. His homily at the opening Mass of the papal conclave was one of the occasions he inspired the League in its mission and mandate to “inform public policy and public opinion in the light of religious faith and reason.”
In that speech Pope Benedict XVI spoke about overcoming ideological currents and a “dictatorship of relativism” by building a mature faith centred on love of Jesus Christ.”


EWTN Video of Funeral Mass for Pope Benedict:

PDF – Prayer for the Repose of the Soul of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

Bishop Mark Hagemoen – 2022 Christmas Message (video and text)

By Bishop Mark Hagemoen's blog, News

Christmas Greetings and Reflection from Bishop Mark Hagemoen:

Complete message PDF / text version: LINK (also published below)

Christmas Mass times: LINK


2022 Christmas Message

“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins. By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1: 76-79)

Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

This New Testament passage from St. Luke continues to inspire and encourage me. It is known as the Canticle of Zechariah, or “The Benedictus” – the great prayer of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist.

Zechariah, filled with the Holy Spirit, spoke this great prophecy about the coming of the Messiah for the world. However, the Messiah would not only provide ‘blessing’ and ‘deliverance’ in ways that merely satisfied people’s sense and longing for what it meant to be safe, secure, and prosperous – but would call for a fundamental change that would affect our very being: our mind, heart, and human condition. With the coming of this Messiah, we would move from merely being blessed and cared for, to being called to share in the life and way of God!

 This conversion is so fundamental and so essential, that I find that no Christmas is the same. Each year we are called deeper into the meaning of this mystery, into such a salvific transformation. Christmas is a time when we recall God’s intervention into the state of affairs of all humanity. Despite the challenges and crises that the world experiences … God comes to us! And God comes not only to us, but in us and with us. As St. Irenaeus reflects, “God is man’s glory. Man is the vessel which receives God’s action and all His wisdom and power.”

I continue to be amazed, comforted, and challenged by how God deals with us – all of us. God invites us to respond in some small, faithful way to the absolute plentitude we receive from Him, the Absolute Giver. Although we can ‘give back’ or ‘pay forward’ a very small fraction of what God gives to us and the world – God does not measure or give back according to our limited desire or capacity. God is the Absolute Lover and Giver. As St. John says, “God is Love, and those who abide in Love, abide in God, and God in them.” (I John 4:16)

During these past few years and persisting into our current time, there is much fear and anxiety in the world. The Covid 19 pandemic, economic uncertainties, and the terrible war in Ukraine are among the major events that are so affecting us today.

As we struggle to make sense of such disappointment and crises for our communities and world, we can wonder, “Where is our Saviour? Why do good and innocent people continue to struggle with such things?”

Pope Francis recently reflected on John the Baptist’s imprisonment near the end of his life as he announced the coming of the Lord Jesus. As Pope Francis states, “John is in prison, and this, as well as being a physical place, makes us think of the inner situation he is experiencing: in prison there is darkness, there is no possibility of seeing clearly and seeing beyond it.”  The Pope notes that in John’s case, it is as if he is no longer able to see in Jesus the awaited Messiah, and out of doubt sends his disciples to verify it. Pope Francis continues:

“It surprises us that this should happen to John, the one who had baptized Jesus in the Jordan and had indicated him to his disciples as the Lamb of God (cf. Jn 1:29). But this means that even the greatest believer goes through the tunnel of doubt. And this is not a bad thing; on the contrary, sometimes it is essential for spiritual growth: it helps us understand that God is always greater than we imagine Him to be.” (Pope Francis, Angelus, December 11, 2022)

Ah, the lingering plague of doubt and fear! These sneak up on us, and take their toll on our trust and abandonment to the providence of God.

Let us remember that the first letter of John mentioned above goes on to contrast fear versus love: There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:18-19)

The realization of the meaning of Christmas must challenge and stretch us in new and greater ways – including our awareness of the care of our brother and sister – let alone the many who are “the stranger.” In Jesus Christ, our previously limited notions of what constitutes community and brotherhood are changed, because of what follows upon the birth of Christ the Saviour – namely the Paschal Mystery, which features an epic and unprecedented personal sacrifice for all men and women of every creed, language, and nation by the One who draws all humanity to a new heaven and a new earth: the Kingdom of God.

Nativity pageant at Holy Spirit Parish, Saskatoon. (Photo by T. Yaworski)

So, amidst our frustrations, regrets, and disappointments, CHRISTMAS COMESThank God, Christmas just… comes! O come, O Come, Emmanuel.  Whether we are ready or not…  whether we can celebrate as usual or not…  whether we can gather with many or with only a very few…  whether we come off a year feeling profoundly blessed or really broken…  Christmas comes!  GOD IS with us in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  GOD IS loving us, caring for us, holding us.

I recall last year Pope Francis warned against the “senseless notion” that the world can go back to what it was, relying on “…false securities, habits and projects that aim exclusively at pursuing wealth and personal interests, while failing to respond to global injustice, the cry of the poor and the precarious health of our planet.” (Pope Francis address to ecumenical delegation, June 28, 2021)

One way in which we have all been challenged this past year is regarding the approach we take – and our Church takes – to evangelization and spreading the faith. This past summer during Pope Francis’s visit to Canada, at Sacred Heart Church in Edmonton he reflected on two contrasting approaches to evangelization, with very different ways of expressing power and authority.

Pope Francis pointed to the lasting pain created when Christians and religious institutions are not careful about how they represent the faith of Christ to others – in particular, imposing our version of the faith through our own limited cultural models. Imposing versus proposing the Gospel can have terrible repercussions. This is not God’s way. By contrast, God loves, liberates, and leaves us free:

Pope Francis at Lac Ste Anne pilgrimage in July 2022. (Photo by M. Swan, CCN)

“One cannot proclaim God in a way contrary to God himself. And yet, how many times has this happened in history! While God presents himself simply and quietly, we always have the temptation to impose him, and to impose ourselves in his name. It is the worldly temptation to make him come down from the cross and show himself with power…. Brothers and sisters, in the name of Jesus, may this never happen again in the Church. May Jesus be preached as he desires, in freedom and charity. In every crucified person whom we meet, may we see not a problem to be solved, but a brother or sister to be loved, the flesh of Christ to be loved.” (Pope Francis at Sacred Heart Church of the First Peoples, July 25, 2022)

I pray that we will always proclaim ­ by our life and words – the true God because we are striving to know Him and to be created in Christ’s image.

Thus, as we approach another Christmas, we need to be open to ongoing growth and healing. There are many things that do need to change in our lives. The need for change and ongoing conversion – first and foremost in terms of our own minds and hearts – is absolutely crucial. As Pope Francis states:

Everything depends on our ability to see the need for a change of heart, attitudes and lifestyles … (and watch for) …human weakness, the proclivity to selfishness that is part of what the Christian tradition refers to as concupiscence”: the human inclination to be concerned only with myself, my group, my own petty interests.” (Fratelli Tutti #166)

I very much appreciate the Holy Father’s emphasis on the priority of forgiveness, mercy and reconciliation. The mercy and forgiving love of God for the world is why Jesus comes at Christmas. As the Pope states: “…Those who truly forgive do not forget. Instead, they choose not to yield to the same destructive force that caused them so much suffering.” (Fratelli Tutti  #252) There may be much to be angry about, however, left alone, our anger will consume and destroy us.

O how the world needs to choose another way – the way demonstrated in the life and way of Jesus Christ. Taking the path of Christ also means that we must continue to grow in our commitment and ability to listen, communicate and seek healthy relationship with one another – key themes as the Church continues to engage in the Synod on Synodality in the coming New Year.

May our celebration of Christmas seek Christ’s merciful and redeeming way. Let us ask ourselves:

  • How is God calling me to be more fully human, fully alive in my life right now?
  • Do I give the Christ permission to take my heart of stone and make it a heart of flesh?
  • In what way is this Christmas different for me, in terms of what God wants me to see, to change, to heal and forgive, to live and do differently?
  • AND …with whom am I called to forgiveness, reconciliation and healing?

Let us be awake and watchful at this Christmas time when God comes to us! 

Have a blessed and joy-filled Christmas season!


Sincerely in Christ,

Most Rev. Mark A. Hagemoen, Bishop of Saskatoon


Bishop Hagemoen visits parish cluster of Wynyard, Foam Lake and Wishart

By Bishop Mark Hagemoen's blog

At the invitation of local pastor Fr. Augustine Osei-Bonsu, Saskatoon Bishop Mark Hagemoen visited the parish communities of St. Mary, Wynyard; Christ the King, Foam Lake; and Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Wishart, SK, on the Fourth Sunday of Advent 2022.

Bishop Hagemoen was invited by Fr. Augustine Osei-Bonsu to celebrate with the parish communities of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Wishart (pictured), St. Mary, Wynyard, and Christ the King, Foam Lake. (Submitted photo)

The pastoral visits Dec. 17-18 included celebration of Sunday Mass in each parish, as well as parish and community social gatherings. The bishop also heard more about some of the pastoral challenges facing the Catholic communities.

“The parishioners that make up these Catholic communities are very faithful and supportive,” said Bishop Hagemoen, reflecting on the pastoral visit.

“In spite of that, the shrinking community in Wishart has been struggling with its operation since the pandemic, and has been discerning whether the parish should close,” he said.

Unlike Wynyard and Foam Lake – who have seen their communities stabilize over the last few years – Wishart has been more affected by the shifting demographics that many prairie communities have experienced when population declines and services such as schools and businesses leave the community, the bishop noted.

“The visit was therefore an opportunity to discuss with the parishioners of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Wishart, about ways to continue to operate, and also – if they ever made the decision to seek “decommissioning” as a parish — about the vision for the community beyond such a decision,” he said.

A meeting with parishioners following Sunday Mass in Wishart featured much discussion and many questions. Following the meeting the community continued their time with the bishop by joining together for a pot-luck lunch.

“My own impression is that the community will take at least the coming New Year to continue to discern next steps and their future,” Hagemoen said. “However, whatever happens – this is a faithful community that will persists in their faith life, and I look forward to working with them in the coming months.”

Community celebration in Wynyard

The visit to St. Mary Parish in Wynyard, SK for Saturday evening Mass on Dec. 17 was followed by a community celebration in the local hall, that included the participation of Filipino Catholic parishioners, and the donation of $700 that they raised in support of the parish at Wynyard .


At a community celebration Dec. 17 a donation of $700 in support of the parish at Wynyard was presented by the Filipino Catholic community to Fr. Augustine Osei-Bonsu. (Submitted photo)


Filipino Catholic parishioners were among those participating in a community celebration Dec. 17 in Wynyard, SK. (Submitted photo)

History of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Wishart:

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, Wishart, SK, was built in 1951-54. The present church is the third building to serve the parish community that was founded by Polish settlers who came to the area in 1906. The parish became part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon when diocesan boundaries in Saskatchewan shifted in 1998. (Information from “Building the Church, Living the Gospel” by Margaret Sanche, Photo by Daniel J. Classen)




Diocesan Pastoral Council gathers to reflect on the diocese’s Pastoral Plan

By Bishop Mark Hagemoen's blog

The Diocesan Pastoral Council gathered Nov. 30 with Bishop Mark Hagemoen to reflect, report, and plan, meeting both in person at the Catholic Pastoral Centre and via Zoom. The “DPC” is one of the major consultative bodies for Bishop Mark Hagemoen, with representatives from across the diocese from many parishes and partner organizations.

The DPC is presently reviewing the diocesan Pastoral Plan and the recent diocesan Synod on Synodality.

Thanks to all the DPC members for their faithful presence and their input!

Diocesan Pastoral Council (DPC) members gathered Nov. 30, 2022 in Saskatoon. (Photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatono News)

Clergy Study Days feature enrichment, fraternity and prayer

By Bishop Mark Hagemoen's blog

Clergy from across the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon gathered Nov. 14-17 at Elk Ridge near Waskesiu, SK, for prayer, reflection, fraternity and inspiration.

The Clergy Study Days included keynote sessions by Archbishop Emeritus Terrence Prendergast, SJ, speaking on The Call to Community, Accountability and Authentic Witness, as well as addressing the New Evangelization in the Year of Matthew (Year A). Archbishop Prendergast is retired archbishop of Otttawa-Cornwall, and former archbishop of Halifax.

“Supporting our Vocation in a Missionary Climate” was the theme of session presented by Rev. John Lemire of Timmins, ON, president of the Ontario Diocesan Vocation Directors Association, a member of the Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops Commission for Priests and the President of the Diocesan Vocation Directors of Canada.

Study Days also included a presentation by Msgr. John Renken and David Stack on canonical and civil statutes of incorporated parishes, and a “Bishop’s Forum” with Bishop Mark Hagemoen.

More information about Clergy Study Days speakers: PDF


(Photo by Fr. Darryl Millette)

(Photo by Fr. Darryl Millette)


Bishop Mark Hagemoen addresses priests at Clergy Study Days 2022. (Photo by Fr. Binu Rathappillil, VC)

Bishop Mark Hagemoen addresses priests at Clergy Study Days 2022. (Photo by Fr. Binu Rathappillil, VC)

(Photo by Fr. Binu Rathappillil, VC)

(Photo by Fr. Binu Rathappillil, VC)

Archbishop Terrence Prendergast. (Photo by Fr. Binu Rathappillil, VC)

Archbishop Terrence Prendergast. (Photo by Fr. Binu Rathappillil, VC)

Fr. Marvin Lishchynsky thanks Archbishp Prendergast. (Photo by Fr. Binu Rathappillil, VC)

(Photo by Fr. Binu Rathappillil, VC)

(Photo by Fr. Binu Rathappillil, VC)

(Photo by Fr. Binu Rathappillil, VC)

(Photo by Fr. Binu Rathappillil, VC)

Fr. Ralph Kleiter, Fr. Stefano Penna, and Fr. Greg Smith-Windsor (l-r) selecting burger toppings. (Photo by Fr. Binu Rathappillil, VC)



Bishop Mark Hagemoen in conversation with guest speaker Fr. John Lemire. (Photo by Fr. Binu Rathappillil, VC)

Fr. Kevin McGee with guest speaker Fr. John Lemire. (Photo by Fr. Binu Rathappillil, VC)

Vicar General Fr. Kevin McGee. (Photo by Fr. Binu Rathappillil, VC)

Fr. John Lemire. (Photo by Fr. Binu Rathappillil, VC)

(Photo by Fr. Binu Rathappillil, VC)

(Photo by Fr. Binu Rathappillil, VC)


Bishop Mark Hagemoen addresses priests at Clergy Study Days 2022. (Photo by Fr. Binu Rathappillil, VC)


(Photo by Fr. Darryl Millette)


Rooted in Christ