Bishop Mark Hagemoen’s blog

Running in Rocky Mountains to raise funds for Catholic TRC Healing Response

By Bishop Mark Hagemoen's blog

Four Bros and a Bishop” fund-raising effort

The race at Grande Cache is a grueling course that begins and ends on a 4200-foot plateau, passes over three mountain summits, that includes over 17,000 feet of elevation. (Submitted photo)


Bishop Mark Hagemoen and a team of brothers — Luc, Jerome and Dominic Montpetit and their brother-in-law Jacob Powell, along with Montpetit cousin Raphael Pelletier — completed the 118-km extreme relay run known as the Canadian Death Race July 20-31, raising funds in support of the diocese’s Catholic TRC Healing Response fund.

The bishop’s team placed 25th (out of 83 teams).

The “Canadian Death Race” features a 118-km course beginning and ending on a 4200-foot plateau, passing over three mountain summits, with over 17,000 feet of elevation. You can support the “Four Bros and a Bishop” fund-raising effort by visiting the Diocese of Saskatoon Catholic Foundation website:

Bishop Hagemoen, Jacob Powell, Dominic Montpetit, Jerome Montpetit, Luc Montpetit and Raphael Pelletier (l-r).

The course at Grande Cache includes amazing views. (Photo by Bishop Mark Hagemoen)

Pausing for a photo at one of the great heights of the race. (Photo by Bishop Mark Hagemoen)

Team member Jacob Powell crosses the finish line. (Submitted photo)

Luc Montpetit and Raphael Pelletier


Jerome Montpetit, Dominic Montpetit and Raphael Pelletier (Submitted photo)


Bishop Mark Hagemoen, Jacob Powell, Luc Montpetit, Raphael Pelletier, Dominic Montpetit and Jerome Montpetit (l-r) tackled the Canadian Death Race 118-km relay run at Grande Cache, AB, July 30-31, running in support of the diocese’s Catholic TRC Healing Response fund. (Submitted photo)

Participating in the historic penitential pilgrimage of Pope Francis to Canada

By Bishop Mark Hagemoen's blog

Members of the Saskatoon delegation to papal visit events July 25-26 were among the pilgrims joining Pope Francis at Lac Ste. Anne – including Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Life Director Debbie Ledoux and parishioner Sandra Harper. (Photo by Bishop Mark Hagemoen)

A diocesan delegation travelled to Edmonton July 25-26 to participate in events with Pope Francis.

The pilgrimage group from Our Lady of Guadalupe Indigenous parish witnessed the papal apology at Maskwacis, as well as joining Pope Francis on his pilgrimage to Lac Ste. Anne.

Bishop Mark Hagemoen also joined other bishops from across Canada in celebrating Mass with Pope Francis July 26 at Commonwealth Stadium.

In a message from Edmonton July 25 to a Saskatoon local event at St. Mary School, papal visit pilgrims reflected on hearing Pope Francis apologize for the Church’s involvement in Residential Schools:

Our Lady of Guadalupe parishioner Sandra Harper said: “Today when I was able to listen and to hear our pope, I felt very good about the words he had for us, and I felt that they were very genuine, and that he is a very compassionate person who understands our issues and came to the table with a good open heart and so I was very pleased.”

“I was happy that he used the words ‘forgive me,’ because as a Catholic, as a practicing Catholic, it is important to me to hear that he understands that we needed to hear him say that, because the wrongs that we experienced, that a lot of us experienced, through the residential schools was very vast… that is part of the healing journey,” Sandi Harper said.

Sandra Harper also noted the pope’s message included that the opposite of love is indifference, stressing that on the road to reconciliation, we must overcome indifference to the sufferings of others. “If we could concentrate on the loving relationship that we need, then reconciliation is more able to happen.”

“Today was so awesome,” said Debbie Ledoux, Parish Life Director at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish who led the diocesan delegation to papal visit events in Edmonton. “The pope’s visit to Canada on our sacred ground was amazing.” She noted that she too felt Pope Francis had “genuine and compassion and love that he sent us all as Indigenous People.”

Debbie Ledoux added: “I am a Survivor and this did more for my healing journey than has been there for a long time now.”

Bishop Hagemoen said that he was touched by the Holy Father’s humility, echoing his April apology, in which Pope Francis stressed the need for the church to be in a place of humility and to come to the foot of the cross. “Tomorrow we go off to prayer, and we pray, pray, pray and see what God will continue to do, because there is a long journey ahead,” said Hagemoen on the evening of July 25, the day of the papal apology. “We have heard many times that reconciliation is a process, it’s a great journey, and people are at different places, so we are looking forward to the journey, tomorrow and beyond.”


Discernment Circle announces vision for local involvement in national Indigenous Reconciliation Fund

By Bishop Mark Hagemoen's blog, News

By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News

A Discernment Circle that has been meeting since March in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon has formally announced its vision for local participation in a national Indigenous Reconciliation Fund established by the Catholic Bishops of Canada for healing and reconciliation projects.

In a celebration at Queen’s House of Retreat and Renewal in Saskatoon on Friday July 15, 2022, Discernment Circle members unveiled a covenant statement that articulates the spirit, intent, and commitments of the initiative to invite and propose local reconciliation and healing projects to be supported by the national Indigenous Reconciliation Fund.

Catholic TRC Healing Response diocesan fund: LINK

Discernment Circle co-chair Dr. Gordon Martell

The covenant statement is grounded in the context of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action and the United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It also references the ancient biblical concept of “right relationship” with the One God and Creator, with all peoples, with the Land and all Creation; as well as the Indigenous nehiyaw principle of miyo-wîcêhtowin, or “possessing good relations founded in relationship among people, the sacred laws, and the Creator.”

“Our covenant statement describes how we will stand together in hope and action as we speak and share, so that others may come forward as we all continue the healing journey,” said Discernment Circle co-chair Dr. Gordon Martell, superintendent of education with Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools.

“Launching and celebrating this vision is another step on that journey. We have great hope for the projects and initiatives that will eventually unfold because of this step,” he said.

Discernment Circle members and guests gathered for a liturgy July 15 to celebrate and launch a covenant statement articulating the Circle’s vision for supporting projects through the Catholic TRC Healing Response fund. (Photos by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)

Covenant celebration

MaryAnne Morrison

The outdoor celebration on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River July 15 opened with a welcome and land acknowledgement by MaryAnne Morrison, a member of the Discernment Circle who also serves on the Diocesan Council for Truth and Reconciliation, followed by a smudging ceremony and drum song by Elmer Tootoosis, and an opening prayer by Saskatoon Bishop Mark Hagemoen.

“We pray that You will continue to send your Great Holy Spirit upon the members of this Circle and all peoples, as we hear Your call to us to a true unity that also honours diversity, a true harmony that also realizes the great diversity of gifts and of spiritual ways,” said Bishop Hagemoen in his opening prayer. “We especially acknowledge the spiritual ways of the Cree and other Indigenous and Métis people that are part of this land and territory.”

Discernment Circle members Carol Zubiak and Sandra Harper (l-r) participate in the July 15 liturgy to launch the groups covenant statement.

Circle member Carol Zubiak of the diocesan Justice and Peace Commission proclaimed scripture readings from Ezekiel 11:19 and Hebrews 8:8-12. Circle member Deacon Harry Lafond of Muskeg Lake First Nation – who also provides pastoral ministry in the Diocese of Prince Albert – offered a reflection during the outdoor liturgy.

Covenant is about total commitment, Lafond said, similar to the covenant that exists in a marriage. “We are aspiring in our diocese to work towards that 100 per cent commitment for all of us… to understand how we are all related, and to move forward in a holy way, a sacred way, with God as our witness and God as our guide and God as our support system.”

Deacon Lafond added that this is about “moving forward and looking to the generations that follow us, and teaching those generations the importance of covenant… to celebrate the diversity of who we are as Canadians, who we are as Catholics, and who we are as community and family,” he added.

“It is a journey, it is not an event,” he said.

Circle members Deacon Harry Lafond and Cecile Smith

Members of the Discernment Circle then proclaimed the covenant statement, before offering up their intercessory prayers. The event concluded with a sign of peace, a closing prayer and a blessing from the bishop, followed by a round dance and a social gathering.


We – the people of our One Creator tasked with coming together to discern and facilitate local projects and initiatives on behalf of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon – enter into and commit to this Covenant, which finds its meaning in the ancient biblical concept of right relationship with the One God and Creator, with all people, with the Land and all of Creation; and in the nehiyaw principle of miyo-wîcêhtowin, or possessing good relations founded in relationship among people, the sacred laws, and the Creator.
This Covenant is also inspired by the spirit of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action, and the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Under the guidance of the Great Holy Spirit, we shall seek to respect and nurture healing and right relationship between all peoples – Indigenous and non-Indigenous – and to celebrate, honour, and share cultural histories and be faithful stewards of the spiritual and temporal gifts that the Creator has entrusted to us – as established by the founding treaty relationships among our peoples. 
Our motivation and meaning will also feature humility and the journey from apology to reconciliation (see Psalm 51:17; Isaiah 57: 17). It will be celebrated in ceremony and ritual.
We acknowledge and commit to honour the sacredness of one another as we deal with the long discourse and journey of reconciliation. As we consider and engage in projects, we commit to the ministry of presence and accompaniment.
We promise and commit to nurture right relationship through sharing, respect, love for each other and the Creator. We will accept each other’s visions and beliefs. We will assist the Church family to understand itself and move forward in reconciliation. We will invest in relationships with each other and engage in meaningful conversations with each other and with the Church.
We also seek to contribute to establishing Indigenous theological and ceremonial foundations in the Church, and to an enculturation between Catholic and Indigenous ritual and spirituality.  We also seek to foster reclamation of Indigenous culture, language, and identity.
We stand together in hope and action as we speak and share so that others may come forward as we all continue the healing journey.
– Discernment Circle for Catholic TRC Healing Response, Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon

Elmer Tootoosis participated in the prayer service July 15 at Queen’s House, Saskatoon.

Bishop Mark Hagemoen greets Elder Irene Sharp, a member of the Discernment Circle, at the July 15 celebration.

RELATED: Covenant Statement – PDF version

RELATEDCanadian Catholic bishops establish Indigenous Reconciliation Fund – Article

RELATED: Bishop Mark Hagemoen announces five-year Catholic TRC Healing Fund goal of $1.25 million to support healing and reconciliation initiatives for residential school survivors and their communities as part of the national $30-million commitment – Letter from Bishop Hagemoen – PDF

RELATED:  Catholic TRC Healing Response – Information and Online Giving

RELATED: Program for Papal Visit Announced – Article

RELATED: Papal Visit 2022 – Diocese of Saskatoon Catholic Foundation – Online Giving

Overview of the Indigenous Reconciliation Fund:

Catholic dioceses across Canada, in their continuing journey of seeking reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous Peoples, have voluntarily committed to contributing $30 million over five years in new funding to facilitate further reconciliation efforts.  The Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon has committed $1.25 million over 5 years as part of this Canada-wide effort, and has already begun fundraising and financing initiatives (, notes Bishop Mark Hagemoen.

The national Indigenous Reconciliation Fund is an arms-length, federally-incorporated not-for-profit registered charity with its own independent national Board of Directors, initially comprised of four Indigenous members.

The purpose of the Fund is to:

  • Independently approve funding requests from Diocesan/Regional Reconciliation Committees that are consistent with the Fund’s granting guidelines;
  • Independently manage the receipt of funds and send monies directly to support approved reconciliation projects and initiatives; and
  • Independently, annually report to dioceses and the public on the flow of money into the Fund and out in support of approved projects.

Indigenous Reconciliation Fund General Criteria & Granting Guidelines:

The national Fund has established General Criteria and Granting Guidelines to assist Diocesan/Regional Reconciliation Committees (or their equivalent) in their local engagement of and discernment with Indigenous groups.

The Indigenous Reconciliation Fund’s Board of Directors will review all grant applications and disburse funds to projects and initiatives that meet the guidelines and are within the budget of the monies contributed to the national Fund by a diocese or region.

Among other details, the General Criteria and Granting Guidelines for the Fund state that all Indigenous Reconciliation Fund grants are to be made in support of local projects and initiatives related to:

  • 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.

Discerning Local Needs: Diocesan/Regional Reconciliation Committees

The intention for the national Fund is to have local dioceses work with local Indigenous groups and organizations to identify priorities and meaningful reconciliation work to be funded by the Indigenous Reconciliation Fund.

To this end, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon established the “Discernment Circle” of Indigenous representatives and leaders which has been meeting since March 2022. It includes 13 First Nations members and 2 Métis members as well as non-Indigenous representatives. The group includes Elders, Residential School Survivors and the children of Survivors, as well as local educators and community leaders.

In addition to co-chairs Gordon Martell and CeCeBaptiste, Discernment Circle members are:  Shirley Arcand, Kelly Cardinal, Honey Constant, Dolores Greyeyes-Sand, Bishop Mark Hagemoen, Sandra Harper, Gilbert Kewstep, Deacon Harry Lafond, Deacon Dan Lamoureaux, Lyndon Linklater, MaryAnne Morrison, Myron Rogal, Irene Sharp, Delores Smallchild, Roddy Stone, and Carol Zubiak.

The diocesan Discernment Circle has been discussing and discerning reconciliation initiatives that will have a meaningful local impact.  Under the terms of the national Indigenous Reconciliation Fund, dioceses can recommend funding these local initiatives to the extent of the funds the diocese has contributed to the Fund.

Work-to-date of the Discernment Circle has included:

  • Reviewing and discussing funding principles and themes;
  • Discussion and development of a “Statement of Covenant”;
  • Review and reflection on the apology of Pope Francis given to the Indigenous delegation to the Vatican on April 1, 2022;
  • Discussion of possible general project categories.




Reward Pilgrimage 90th anniversary – Bishop Hagemoen celebrates event with area parishes

By Bishop Mark Hagemoen's blog

Bishop Mark Hagemoen joined parishioners from across St. Joseph Colony in the western regions of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon July 10, 2022 for the annual pilgrimage to Holy Rosary Shrine and Church at Reward, SK.

The pilgrimage started in 1932 — in the depths of the Great Depression — to ask the Blessed Virgin Mary for help and protection, and it has continued as a gathering of faith and community for 90 years.


Video of Mass at Reward Pilgrimage July 10, 2022:


Celebrating the 100th anniversary of St. Michael Church at Tramping Lake, SK

By Bishop Mark Hagemoen's blog

Those in attendance for the 100th anniversary celebration of St. Michael Parish included (l-r) Tramping Lake Pastor Fr. Greg Roth, Saskatoon Bishop Mark Hagemoen and Msgr. Raymond Senger, who grew up at Tramping Lake. (Photos by Kiply Lukan Yaworski)

By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News

Parishioners, former parishioners and their families gathered together June 11, 2022 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of St. Michael Catholic Church, constructed in 1922 at Tramping Lake, in the heart of St. Joseph’s Colony.

Bishop Mark Hagemoen celebrated Mass to open the celebration, joined by St. Michael pastor Fr. Gregory Roth of Unity, Fr. Edward Gibney of Biggar, Fr. Santhosh Thekkekulam, VC, of Wilkie, and retired diocesan priest Msgr. Raymond Senger, who is originally from Tramping Lake. Fr. Dan Yasinski of Kerrobert was also in attendance.

Music ministry was led by Marie Volk, with a choir that included many returning community and family members. Cantor was James Nestmann, and Donalda Senger and Alicia Simon were readers for the Eucharistic celebration for the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity.







                      “This is indeed a beautiful church,” said Bishop Mark Hagemoen, as he joined the community in celebrating and thanking God for 100 years of faith and service. “On the Feast of the Trinity we celebrate how God is made manifest to us,” the bishop said. God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are revealed in the readings for the solemnity, he said, and also in the life, mission and ministry of the parish over the past 100 years. “It is a deep relationship, not merely a membership.”

The theme of gratitude and mission also echoed in the prayers of intention during the anniversary Mass, presented by Alicia Simon.

“Let us give thanks that for the past century, the St. Michael’s Church spire has encouraged us to look heavenward. Under the shelter of its steeple, the bell tolled in mourning and sadness, pealed happily, sharing joy and gladness, and rang with the call to community prayer. Under its roof many found inspiration to continue life’s journey, and others celebrated joyous occasions,” she prayed.

“Today we remember and pray for all who had the foresight and charity to offer prayers, time, talents and finances to build, furnish and maintain this building, providing a place where all may come to adore, praise and grow in the love of God,” continued the community prayers, which went on to call upon on the intercession of both St. Michael, the patron saint of the parish, and St. Joseph, the patron saint of the historic St. Joseph’s Colony, established in 1905 by a group of German Catholics from Russia.





Although the present St. Michael Church building was built a century ago in 1922, the parish was first established 16 years earlier when the colony itself began, those in attendance heard during history of the parish presented by Gwen Barschel at a banquet in the community hall that followed the anniversary Mass.

In those early days of the parish, Mass was celebrated in homes, in a tent and then in a sod church built in 1906, before a wooden church building was constructed in 1910. In 1921, the pastor of the Tramping Lake congregation, Fr. Theodore Krist, OMI, led the community in planning for a new church in the Village of Tramping Lake, with construction starting June 15, 1922, and the first Mass celebrated in the new building on Christmas Eve, 1922.

The new Romanesque-style church building was 135 by 50 feet – the largest brick church in St. Joseph’s Colony, situated at the colony’s geographical centre, Barschel noted. The cost to build was between $40,000 and $48,000 – the equivalent cost today would be about $685,000 to $822,000, she said.

“All built by volunteers, it is a church still admired far and wide for its beauty,” Barschel said.

Over the years, construction and improvements continued, with the completion of the steeple, exterior finishing in white stucco, interior painting and the addition of statues, artwork and a huge 22- by 11-foot  altar, built along the back wall of the sanctuary, designed in Italian Renaissance style using Italian white marble, flanked by pedestals capped with Belgian black marble. One-third life size stations of the cross were purchased in 1970 from St. Joseph Church in Winnipeg, and brought to St. Michael’s in a parishioner’s half-ton truck.

The 100th anniversary program also included greetings from Tramping Lake Mayor Christine Lang, and representatives of the Catholic Women’s League and Knights of Columbus, before parishioners and visitors were invited to share memories and messages via an “open microphone.”


Video of 100th Anniversary Mass and Presentations:



St. Paul’s Hospital Distinguished Service Awards presented to protective services officers who handled grenade incident

By Bishop Mark Hagemoen's blog

St. Paul’s Hospital in Saskatoon recently recognized the outstanding actions of four protective services staff members who responded quickly, calmly and bravely to a frightening incident earlier this year when a person entering the hospital pulled out a grenade.

In a noon-hour ceremony June 8, Saskatoon Bishop Mark Hagemoen presented officers Candice Nolan, Bryan Melnychuk, Lee Cowles and Amra Martin with a St. Paul’s Hospital Distinguished Service Award for their actions in handling a potentially life-threatening situation.

St. Paul’s Hospital Executive Director Tracy Muggli described the incident of Feb. 14, 2022, when – without knowing if the grenade was live or inert – hospital protective services officers Candice Nolan and Bryan Melnychuk quickly restrained the man who pulled out the grenade, and removed the device. Officers Lee Cowles and Amra Martin also responded to provide assistance before Saskatoon Police Services arrived. In the end, it was determined the device was inert, but there was no way to know that at the time.

“With their immediate and brave response, the officers kept all of us safe from a potential harm that presented itself,” said Muggli, expressing her gratitude to the officers for their bravery and commitment.

The four members of the hospital’s protective services staff were also recently awarded the Saskatoon Police Chief’s Community Service Award for their swift action.

Read the full news report: LINK

Bishop Mark Hagemoen noted how St. Paul’s Hospital is dedicated to the health and the care of the whole person “inspired by Christ and the religious faith of the community.” Thanking the four officers for their heroism, the bishop also acknowledged so many others at the Catholic hospital “who are sharing in the shepherding role of Christ.”

Bishop Mark Hagemoen presented St. Paul’s Hospital Distinguished Service Awards to protective services officers Bryan Melychuk, Lee Cowles, and Candice Nolin. Ross Fowler (right) accepted the award on behalf of their colleague Amra Martin, who was not present at the June 8 celebration. (Photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)



St. Mary Catholic school Treaty 6 medal installation

By Bishop Mark Hagemoen's blog

By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News

Students, staff and special guests gathered at St. Mary’s Catholic school in Saskatoon June 8 for an outdoor Treaty 6 medal celebration, featuring drumming, song, art and student reflections and presentations about the history, meaning and importance of treaties.

Read the full news report: LINK

In his address to students, Bishop Mark Hagemoen of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon described how when he was a bishop in the north, an Indigenous artist gave him a beaded cross, which he often wears alongside a crucifix made in a European style. Wearing the two together has become for him a sign of the “right relationship” of love, harmony and respect that God wants for all people.

Working toward the installation of a replica of the Treaty 6 medal has been a learning journey for the school, said St. Mary Principal Andrew Novecosky.

“When you enter our beautiful school, you enter a space that honours the history of the land and the relationships of all people,” he said, noting that a special place has been prepared for the plaque, featuring a mural painted by St. Mary’s students and staff under the direction of local artist Daniel O’Shea Sanderson.

During the unveiling and smudging of the Treaty 6 medal plaque, Bishop Mark Hagemoen and the school’s Elder, Kohkum Lucille Dorion offered prayers of blessing.

The plaque portrays a treaty commissioner grasping the hand of a First Nations leader. Between them is a hatchet, buried in the ground, signifying peace, and around the two figures are images of the sun and the land, symbolizing the eternal promise of the treaty relationship established to last “as long as the sun shines, the grass grows and the rivers flow.”

Bishop Mark Hagemoen attended the St. Mary Wellness and Education Centre Treaty 6 medal celebration June 8, 2022 in Saskatoon (photos by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News).

Saskatoon Bishop Mark Hagemoen and St. Mary’s School Elder Lucille Dorion offered prayers of blessing as the Treaty 6 medal plaque was unveiled. (Photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)

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