In early June 2019 I joined the members of the Canadian Catholic Indigenous Councilin Yellowknife for our annual meeting.
The Council was established in 1998 by the Catholic Bishops of Canada. It encourages Aboriginal leadership in Catholic Christian communities, supports healing and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous, and advises the Canadian Bishops on a variety of indigenous issues.
Flying into Yellowknife – still ice on Great Slave Lake on June 13!
This distinctive Cross sits above the “Trapper’s Lake Retreat Center” of the Diocese of Mackenzie-Fort Smith. The center was the site for our meetings.
Chief Ernest Betsina welcomed and greeted the members of the Council to Chief Drygeese territory of the Yellowknife Dene Nation.
View from “Trapper’s Lake Retreat Center”: the reteat house of the Diocese of Mackenzie-Fort Smith, located 10 kilometers outside Yellowknife, NWT.
Members of the Canadian Catholic Indigenous Council are:
Fibbie Tatti, Yellowknife and Dettah, NWT (co-chair);
Bishop Mark Hagemoen, Diocese of Saskatoon (co-chair);
William Angalik, Arviat, Nunavut;
Bishop Jean-Pierre Blais, Diocese of Baie-Comeau, Quebec;
Bishop Marcel Damphousse, Diocese of Sault Ste.Marie, Ontario;
Gary Gagnon, Edmonton, Alberta;
Archbishop Peter Hundt, Archdiocese of St. John’s, Newfoundland;
Deacon Rennie Nahanee, Vancouver, BC;
Melanie O’Neil, Toronto, Ontario;
Paul Soucie, Ottawa, Ontario;
Dennis Whitford, Grand Prairie, Alberta.
Members of the Canadian Catholic Indigenous Council in session.
Staff from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops also attend the meeting: Kyle Ferguson and Tracy Blain.
Council members prepare to celebrate Holy Eucharist at St Kateri Tekawitha Church in Dettah, about 40 minutes from Yellowknife.
Deacon Rennie Nahanee of Squamish First Nation near Vancouver, BC., proclaims the Word of God.
Committee members had the opportunity to participate in “Aboriginal Days” celebrations, which began with Sunday Eucharist and a community meal at the Yellowknife River traditional site.
Pausing for a photo after Mass at St. Kateri Tekakwitha Church, in Dettah – about 40 minutes from Yellowknife on Great Slave Lake.
Several of the bishops were available for Confessions before Mass.
This year’s Aboriginal Days was dedicated to the conclusion of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Women and Children, and its “Calls to Action” that were features of its concluding report.
Drummers from the Dettah community with Chief Edward Sangrese.
Members of the Dene community proclaimed the Word of God. Bishop Marcelle Damphousse looks on as Cecilia Rabesca proclaims the 2nd Reading.
William Angalik is the first Inuit representative on the Council. He lives in Arviat, Nunavut.
The bishop celebrants are joined by Jim Lynn of Dettah. Jim works for the Diocese of Mackenzie – Fort Smith in its Chancery Office and Archives.
Anglophone Safeguarding Conference at the Irish Pontifical Institute, Vatican, July 1-5, 2019
By Bishop Mark Hagemoen, Diocese of Saskatoon
Bishop Robert Bourgoin (Diocese of Hearst-Mosonee) and I represented the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops at this year’s conference in Rome, which aims to develop awareness and best practices for Catholic dioceses and organizations regarding ‘safeguaurding’ in relation to all ministries and activities run by Catholic organizations.
The aim of the conference is to improve all protocols in ensure the safety of young people of vulnerable adults, and to also facilitate dialogues amoungst dioceses and Bishops assemblies in anglophone dioceses about developing safegaudring ‘best practices.’
Some of the insights and learnings included the following:
Safeguarding of Children is becoming an increasingly complex and urgent issue, especially due to the expansion of technology;
Awareness of the need of initial and ongoing formation for clergy and religion on the topic of safeguarding. Formation and education is an ongoing feature in our education support, and will address the following themes
Developing best practices re: safeguarding;
Contextual challenges: living in a culture where abuse of women, children, and vulnerable adults continues to expand;
Developing expertise regarding: a) dealing with the trauma of victims; and b) responding appropriately to those who are guilty of abuse.
The challenge of implementing and overseeing consistent ‘best practices’ amoung various diocesan and religious entities;
Being ‘victim-focussed’ when complainants come forward;
Review of “Vos Estis Lux Mundi” by Pope Francis.
Gathering for the celebration of Eucharist during the Conference at the chapel of the Irish Pontifical Institute.
Rock Your Roots: National Indigenous Day Walk for Reconciliation June 21, 2019
By Bishop Mark Hagemoen, Diocese of Saskatoon
On Friday, June 21, organizations from across Saskatoon joined in the annual “Rock Your Roots” walk in support of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. The event was very well attended. Thousands of people walked through downtown Saskatoon.
The atmosphere was festive, while respectful. I was very pleased to see so many of our Catholic schools well represented. Many church groups were also present.
Stopping for a picture at the gathering with Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark.
Celebrating Confirmation and First Eucharist across our diocese
June saw the conclusion of the celebrations of the Sacraments of Confirmation and First Holy Communion across the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon.
These celebrations are truly an occasion of important celebration with the faith communities and parishes of our diocese. The celebrations are also great opportunities for me in my role as bishop to share dreams and hopes for our diocese, as well as communicate to our young people how God calls them – and how our bishop and diocese needs them – to discover and share their God-given charisms and gifts in service of the life and mission of Jesus Christ.
Confirmation and First Holy Communion celebration at St. Patrick Parish in Saskatoon.
Confirmation and First Holy Communion celebrated at St. Mary Paish in Wynyard.
Other photos from Confirmation/ First Eucharist celebrations in the diocese: Photo Gallery
Visit to the Parish Communities of the Wadena Deanery
By Bishop Mark Hagemoen, Bishop of Saskatoon
From July 8 to 14, 2019, I visited the parishes of the Deanery of Wadena. The deanery is located in the eastern-most area of the diocese, and has been a part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon for just over 20 years.
The first visit was to St. Theresa’s, Lintlaw. The community gathered from early evening Mass. A cemetery blessing followed.
Fr. Emmanuel Banahene at St. Theresa, Lintlaw, SK
St. Theresa Parish, Lintlaw, July 7.
Blessing the graves at St. Theresa cemetery, Lintlaw, SK.
Fr. Emmanuel Bahanene introduces the evening townhall meeting at St Joseph’s Parish in Kelvington:
Town Hall Meeting with the Bishop at St. Joseph Parish, Kelvington on July 9, 2019.
On Wednesday morning July 10, St. Mary’s Parish in Wadena gathered to celebrate morning Mass, followed by Eucharistic adoration – a regular event for the parish.
The community of Our Lady of Poland Parish in Fosston is very proud of their church. Following a visit to the Church and cemetary blessing, a community meeting was held at a local community hall.
Pastoral visit to Fosston, SK.
Community members gather for a picture at the blessing of graves held at the Fossten cemetery.
Blessing the graves at Fosston, SK.
Community of St. George Parish in Naicam gathered with their pastor Fr. Charles Nweze for a luncheon and meeting following the celebration of Mass.
Fr. Charles Nweze at St. Felix Catholic Church, Archerwill, SK
Visit to St. Felix, Archerwill in the Wadena deanery.
The Rex Mundi Camp was another stop during this visit. The outdoor recreation facility and ‘camp’ is located north of Nobleville, and just within the Prince Albert diocese. It now operates as a rental facility for various church and community organizations who can offer their own family and youth programs.
Fr. Charles Nweze and Fr. Travis Myrheim of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Prince Albert at the Christ the King / Rex Mundi Youth Camp chapel at Marean Lake, SK.
Fr. Travis Myrheim of Prince Albert diocese serves on the Rex Mundi board, and assists with some of the programs.
A small chapel-church is a feature of Rex-Mundi, as well as an outdoor shrine to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
St. Lawrence Parish in Nobleville:
There was a gathering of the community at St. Lawrence, Nobleville for evening Eucharist, followed by the blessing of the cemetery and a luscious pot-luck dinner. Many summer vacationers from areas cottages in the ‘lake country’ gather at the church for the celebration.
Parishioners at St. Lawrence, Nobleville, SK, prepared for the potluck dinner.
The blessing celebration at the adjacent cemetery followed the Mass. The evening was a blustery on this part of wild prairie. The weather and setting certainly gives a sense of the grandeur and immensity of God’s creation on the prairie.
The community gathered at Christ the King Parish in Rose Valley, where following Mass we had a wonderful pot-luck lunch. Following the lunch, we travelled to the Rose Valley parish cemetery for a blessing service.
Parishioners at Christ the King Parish in Rose Valley.
Parishioners of Christ the King Parish in Rose Valley join in prayers at the cemetery.
Following the lunch, we travelled to the Rose Valley parish cemetery for a blessing service.
Foam Lake, Wynyard, Wishart parishes:
Community at Christ the King Parish in Foam Lake gathers following morning Mass July 13.
Following the Mass we travelled to Sheho, where we visited the former site of the Church, and celebrated a cemetery blessing. A parish luncheon and meeting followed back in Foam Lake.
Prayers at Sacred Heart cemetery at Sheho, SK.
A cemetary blessing was also held at the Foam Lake cemetery with Pastor, Fr. Augustine Osei-Bonsu, Pastor of: St. Mary’s, Wynard; Christ the King, Foam Lake; Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Wishart.
A Town Hall Meeting with representatives of the three parishes was held at St. Mary’s Parish in Wynyard after an evening celebration of the Eucharist.
Parishioners from St. Mary, Wynyard, Christ the King, Foam Lake and Immaculate Heart of Mary, WIshart , at celebration of the Eucharist July 12 at St. Mary Catholic Church, Wynyard.
Parishioners from Foam Lake, Wishart and Wynyard participated in the Town Hall Meeting with the Bishop July 12 at St. Mary, Wynyard, SK.
The deanery visit concluded with the celebration of evening Mass with a pot-luck dinner and community meeting at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Wishart.
Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, Wishart, SK.
The parish features an outdoor Stations of the Cross. This station is the “Death of Jesus on the Cross.”
Preceding Mass in Wishart was a blessing of the cemetery several kilometers outside of Wishart.
Gravesite of Fr. Richard Kunka, who served the parish in the late 1960’s, and who died in 1972.
Bishop Mark Hagemoen celebrated Eucharist with Fr. Augustine Osei-Bonsu and parishioners at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, Wishart, SK.
Summer Spiritual Pilgrimages in the Diocese of Saskatoon
By Bishop Mark Hagemoen, Diocese of Saskatoon
Spiritual pilgrimages are a great feature in the summer season in the Diocese of Saskatoon. They occur across the diocese and province as soon as schools close. They are opportunities for spiritual devotion and community celebration. They are also occasions when people from across different areas of the province and beyond can celebrate their common fellowship in our One Lord, and gain inspiration from the legacy of faith of persons who have gone before us, who have contributed through their lives of faith, service, and devotion – evident also in the presence of the various churches and pilgrimage sites.
The 87th Annual Pilgrimage to Reward, SK, featured a group of pilgrims who walked from Unity to Reward (above) the day before the Pilgrimage celebration.
The trip was roughly 34 kilometers, and featured times of prayer and petition, and remembering in solidarity those faithful from the area who have gone before us in faith, prayer, and life – as the faith was lived in this western area of the area known at St. Joseph’s Colony and the Saskatoon diocese.
The walking pilgrims departed from St. Peter’s Parish in Unity at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 6 – the day before the Sunday gathering at Reward. The walk was about 8 hours in all.
Fr. Greg Roth behind the wheel of his Charger, providing support to the walking pilgrims.
Fr. Greg Roth led the pilgrims in his Charger through the country roads leading to the Reward church site. Fr. Greg would drive ahead every 2 kilometers for the entire 34 kilometer trip, to make sure traffic was aware of the walk, and to address any needs of the pilgrims along the way. Fr. Greg also walked several kilometres himself – changing places with Matthew Witzany behind the wheel.
A model of Holy Rosary Church was on display this year at the Reward shrine site. The replica was built by Roy Kappel. Originally on display at the heritage museum in Lloydminster, the model has now been donated back to the Holy Rosary pilgrimage site. Completing the detailed model involved about 1,500 hours of work.
Celebration of Sunday Eucharist July 7, 2019 at the Holy Rosary Shrine at Reward.
Blessing of the graves at the cemetery of Holy Rosary Church at Reward, after the pilgrimage Mass.
The annual pilgrimage at the Mount Carmel shrine, west of Humboldt, was held two weeks later, on July 21.
Abbot Peter Novecosky, OSB, and several Benedictines from St. Peter’s Abbey in Muenster were on hand for the celebration. Music ministry was provided from a choir from St. Scholastica Parish in Burr, SK.
Proclamation of the Word at Mount Carmel Mass July 21, 2019.
Carrying the Blessed Sacrament in procession to the top of the hill at Mount Carmel Shrine for the blessing of the fields.
Clergy “Sports Days” held at St. Peter’s Abbey, Muenster, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus of Saskatchewan
The annual “Clergy Sports Days” were again held at St. Peter’s Benedictine Abbey on July 15 and 16, 2019. There was a good turnout of clergy from the dioceses of Regina, Saskatoon, and Prince Albert.
The clergy played a surprisingly intense and competitive series of sports, including soccer, volleyball, and basketball. The previous evening featured ping-pong and board games. The bishops tried to quell the competitiveness – but, alas – this effort was in vain.
Annual celebration at St. Ann Seniors Home
I again had the privilege of celebrating with the residents and community of St. Ann Seniors Home in Saskatoon on the Feast of St. Joachim and St. Ann – July 26, 2019.
Sisters Margaret Beaudette and Dianne Naud – Sisters of St. Joseph of Canada (below) – attended the Mass. Both have worked in the Diocese of Mackenzie-Fort Smith, NWT, for decades, providing education, counselling, and ministerial support in several parish communities. They visited Saskatoon during the time of the St. Ann celebration.
Mass and Luncheon Celebration at Columbian Manor
Another of our Catholic senior housing facilities – Columbian Manor – was the site for a gathering and celebration this summer. The residents of Columbian Manor includes several priests and religious. The Manor has plans to expand. On Aug. 5, residents and community supporters came together for a mid-summer celebration of the Eucharist, and a community event.
Monsignor Stan Urbanoski and Monsignor Ray Senger concelebrated at the Mass, along with Fr. Michel Bedard. Mass was followed by a lunch-time banquet. There was a large turn-out at the annual event.
Blackstrap Youth Camp – operated by the Knights of Columbus
On July 25, 2019, I again had the opportunity to celebrate the Mass for the leaders and campers at Blackstrap Youth Camp, run by the Knights of Columbus at Blackstrap Lake, south of Saskatoon.
The Camp Coordinator, Julien Dale, led a capable team of councillors and youth leaders. Julien started his first year as a teacher with Saskatoon Catholic Schools this September.
Several campers enjoy their ‘gourmet camp meals’ at Blackstrap. Meals feature a competition for who goes first – a very spirited and fierce competition!
Our Lady Queen of Peace Polish Catholic Church 100th Anniversary Celebration on August 11, 2019
Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church (north of Prud’homme) was constructed in 1918-1919. Many former residents gathered for a centennial celebration at the church in August.
There was a very large turn-out and a festive mood as many recalled their days celebrating at the church. The views are stunning – as one looks south from the entrance of the Church one can see rolling prairie farm landscapes. The power and the blessing of the land is evident, and certainly contributed to the faith and spirit of the pioneers of the church community.
It was a pleasure to have Monsignor Stanley Urbanoski and Fr. Denis Phaneuf join regional pastor Fr. Colin Roy to concelebrate at the Sunday Eucharistic liturgy.
Community members gathered for celebration of the Eucharist at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church. The interior of the Church is in very good shape, and features most of the original liturgical elements.
Following the Mass, a procession to the cemetery adjacent to the followed, which featured blessing of the grave sites.
Bishop Bryan Bayda’s father, Joseph Michael Bayda, joined the celebration.
The cake was so large, we couldn’t finish it!
Dedication of Statue of St. Mother Theresa on the Feast Day of St. Mary Parish, Macklin
The Nativity of Mary – the Mother of Jesus – September 8, 2019
The weekend of Sept. 7-8, 2019 was a time of special celebration for the parishes that make up the north-west region of the diocese.
For St. Mary Parish in Macklin, the feast-day of the parish was also the occasion to celebrate a significant ‘pro-life’ saint of the Church – St. Mother Teresa. The community is demonstratively pro-life!
The Mass and dedication of the statue was on the grounds of St. Joseph’s Health Care facility. The statue is located on the grounds where many religious sisters prayed the ‘Stations of the Cross’ as they lived and worked at St. Joseph’s facility. In attendance was Jean Morrison – President and Executive Director of Emmanuel Care.
Statue of St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta holding a small child.
Fr. Binu Rathappillil, VC, addresses the congregation at the beginning of the Sunday Eucharistic celebration and dedication/ blessing of the statue of St. Mother Teresa.
The homily at the event celebrated St. Mother Teresa as an example of the power of one holy person’s “YES” to giving themselves to Christ and caring for the beloved little ones – especially those on the peripheries. It was also the occasion to invite the community to get ready to receive the upcoming “Diocesan Pastoral Plan” soon to be promulgated in the diocese.
Local musicians led the celebration of the Mass for the parish feast day.
Blessing of the statue at the beginning of the Eucharistic liturgy.
Applicants to the Permanent Diaconate Program
Paul Wheeler, Nicholas Blom, Ryan LeBlanc and their wives, Ely, Maureen, and Monique gathered for an informal dinner at my residence on Sept. 5, 2019.
Receiving New Clergy in our Diocese to Serve our Parish Communities
The Diocese of Saskatoon continues to be blessed by the clergy who come to serve our diocese. This summer several priests arrived from Ghana, Nigeria, and India to serve our parish communities.
A New Clergy Formation program was recently held for newly-arrived priests in the diocese of Saskatoon (left to right): Fr. Prosper Abotsi (Associate Pastor for Humboldt cluster); Fr. Santhosh Thekkekulam, VC, (Pastor for Wilkie cluster); Fr Jerome Ogunleye (pastor for Wadena cluster); Fr. Francis Appiah-Kubi (pastor for Fox Valley cluster); Bishop Mark Hagemoen; Fr. John Abban-Bonsu (Associate Pastor, Holy Spirit, Saskatoon); Fr. Habila Musa (Pastor for Rosetown cluster); Fr. Paul Oshin (Associate Pastor, St. Paul, Saskatoon); and Fr Clement Arthur (Pastor, St. Michael and St Peter the Apostle, Saskatoon). – Photo by Kiply Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News.
The spring and summer season was a time of experiencing an abundance of God’s blessings and the experience of the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a striving and faithful People of God. ministry and blessing.
The Diocese of Saskatoon continues to reveal so many ways in which love and dedication to Christ and the Church is evident in the many activities and devotions of dedicated and zealous people.
I look forward to the upcoming Fall season as we introduce our Diocesan Pastoral Plan, and propose to our parish communities pastoral goals to help our communities and diocese continue to engage in the life, mission, and ministry of Jesus Christ.
Trip to Garibaldi Highlands and Black Tusk with graduates from St. Therese Institute of Faith and Mission Apostolic Year
By Bishop Mark Hagemoen, Bishop of Saskatoon
Six graduates from St. Therese, Brunojoined myself and several others from the Archdiocese of Vancouveron a spectacular one-day 27-kilometre hike through Garibaldi Park and Black Tusk mountain this summer. The area is utterly spectacular and beautiful. It is also a great introduction to prairie people of the mountainous playground of British Columbia and specifically, the southwest coast mountains.
The six graduates from St. Therese were: Rheal Chartier (St. Boniface Archdiocese, Manitoba); Veronica and Dominique Skuban (St. Paul Diocese, Alberta); Alison Fox (Calgary Diocese, Alberta); Kaitlyn Deck (Saskatoon Diocese, Saskatchewan); Peter Van Leeuwen (Archdiocese of Vancouver, British Columbia). Joining us were: Douglas Pham and his fiancé, Julia Rumpel and Beverly Ng of Vancouver; Josh Dupuis (just moved from Saskatoon to Vancouver); and Rev. Gary Franken of the Archdiocese of Vancouver.
The area features vast and majestic topography of meadow highlands, as well as spectacular ridges and peaks – many which fall off into seemingly empty abysses.
Josh Dupuis, Fr. Gary Franken, Rheal Chartier, Alison Fox, and +Mark Hagemoen on ascent toward Black Tusk Peak, in the distance.
Peter Van Leeuwen, Rheal Chartier, and Fr. Gary Franken take a needed break in the scree as they ascend the ridge.
Rheal Chartier is thinking: “Gee, there’s nothing this high in Manitoba! What am I doing up here?!!
A quick selfie looking backwards on the ridge approaching the Black Tusk.
The views get increasingly spectacular of the glacial meadows and highlands around Garibaldi Lake as we ascend the ridge.
Peter Van Leauwan carefully watches his next step!! Black Tusk Peak, in the distance.
The group celebrates at the top of the Tusk!
Working our way back down the chimneys.
Josh Dupuis, Fr. Gary Franken, Peter Van Leeuwen, and myself climbing up and down the final ‘chimney accesses’ up the cinder cone of Black Tusk.
The Tusk is both alluring and daunting as its viewed against the sky.
Getting ready to celebrate the Holy Eucharist in the upper meadows following the descent.
A truly epic day with a great group!
Visit to Our Lady Queen of Peace Dominican Monastery in Upper Squamish Valley
The following day we had the opportunity to visit the Dominican religious community of cloister religions women at Our Lady Queen of Peace. The community was formerly established at their home in Upper Squamish Valley in August 2012, having arrived 12 years earlier and working to establish their new community in the Archdiocese of Vancouver in 1999.
The current Dominican community of religious women at Our Lady Queen of Peace.
The spectacular view of the Tantalus Range from the Chapel at the Monastery.
Other hiking in the area during the trip to the West Coast
It was great to continue to experience other wilderness hiking during the visit to the West Coast. All of these places I have spent much time at during my previous years living in the region, both during my youth and my 23 years as a priest in the Archdiocese of Vancouver.
View of the Howe Sound Crest Ridge as viewed looking east from Gambier Island.
Gambier Lake, Gambier Island
Views approaching Brunswick Mountain, Cypress Provincial Park overlooking Howe Sound.
The approach and climb, and the views from Brunswick Mountain are spectacular. Amazing to still see snow on the back slopes in late August – indicating that the west coast had a more moderate summer than previous years.
The meadow slopes in the upper ridge between Brunswick and Harvey Mountains.
Peaks to the south include Mount Harveyand The Lions– the most famous mountains viewed from Vancouver overlooking the North Shore Mountains.
View towards Mount Harvey – the next destination to the south of Brunswick Mountain.
View from Mount Harvey to The Lions.
Looking up from the base of Mount Harvey at the end of the hike.
Eagle Ridgeover Buntzen and Coquitlam Lakes.
Another opportunity to enjoy a great – although hot – day with my nephew, Matthew Hagemoen. Here we have just had a feed of mountain blueberries. They are quite abundant this time of year.
Views from Mount Beautifullooking along Eagle Ridge.
View from “The Pulpit” overlooking Coquitlam Lake.
View up Swan Falls Creekalong the trail descending the ridge.
Dinner with my father, Eric Hagemoenat his cabin at Shuswap Lake.
Rainbow over the Shuswap– a great sign during a wonderful respite.
I have been very blessed to have this time in the mountains in the south-west region of British Columbia, my home for many years. I return refreshed and renewed to the Diocese of Saskatoon, ready to receive further the blessings of the great Prairies and its peoples!
+Mark HagemoenBishop Mark Hagemoen Blog – Summer 2019 Trip to the West Coast
Visit to Black Lake First Nation, SK with FacetoFace Ministries
By Bishop Mark Hagemoen, Bishop of Saskatoon
At the invitation of Archbishop Murray Chatlain of Keewatin-Le Pas, several young adults led by FacetoFace Ministries travelled to Black Lake, SK in the Athabasca region of northern Saskatchewan, from February 16 to 22, 2019. The purpose of the trip was to learn about the Dene community, and to assist the local parish in helping prepare several candidates for the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation. (The candidates were not able to participate in the summer celebration of Confirmation earlier in the summer at the Pine Channel Spiritual Pilgrimage.)
Chief Coreen Sayazie and Father Cornelius Ngurukwem, SMMM, graciously received us to the parish and the Black Lake community.
The FacetoFace E3 Ministry Team: Matthias Steiner; Paul Bentler; Fr. Cornelius Ngurukwem (pastor of Athabasca region); Jon Courchene; Bishop Mark Hagemoen; Daniel Pashula; Jerome Montpetit; Matthew Witzaney; Benjamin Gerwing.
Jon Courchene led the Face-to-Face Ministry team (below, left), with the capable assistance of Daniel Pashula (below, right):
The week began with getting involved in the communities activities. As it was the spring break and the Winter Carnival, school was closed, and thus the young people of the community played various sports in the school gym. Men of the community also provided for the group an opportunity to enjoy “ice-fishing” on Black Lake, and experience the ‘chill’ of high speed ski-doo travel.
A competitive evening game of volleyball.
Jerome Montpetit (top, left), Paul Bentler (top, right), and Benjamin Gerwing(bottom, centre) get dressed for the ski-doo and ice fishing excursion on Black Lake.
Bishop Mark poses for a pic before the ice-fishing expedition: Matthias Steiner (far right)came from Fraser Lake, BC to join the trip to Black Lake.
Preparing a “dinner fish fry” with the catch following the day on the lake.
The moon sets during the morning dawn!
The team enjoys breakfast with Fr. Cornelius.
Jerome Montpetit enjoys an unorthodox breakfast of oatmeal with mustard!
Celebration of BAPTISMS
Unexpectedly, there was a request to celebrate several Baptisms. Along with the Pastor, Fr. Cornelius, these were celebrated on Tuesday evening, February 19. The candidates included several new-borns and children. Confirmation celebrations continued into the early summer. One of the families came in from nearby Fond-du-Lac, about two hours away by winter road.
The homily before the celebration of the Baptisms at Our Lady of the Cape Church, Black Lake.
Celebration of the Holy Eucharist for the families during the Baptism ceremony.
Families gather for a group picture following the celebration of the baptisms.
Celebration of RECONCILIATION & CONFIRMATION
Daniel Pashula seems to have the greatest difficulty with this“Oreo Cookie” ice-breaker activity with the youth (above). Paul Bentler is quite capable at the game – not surprising given his cookie consumption during the week!
The team provides testimonial, skits, and other presentations to prepare the candidates for the Sacrament of Reconciliation before their Confirmation celebration.
Four young people were confirmed the evening of Wednesday February 20: Gracie, Tenea, Branthany, Jayvian.
Opening Ceremonies, Black Lake Winter Carnival 2019
Following the Confirmation ceremony, the Black Lake Winter Carnival opening ceremonies were held at the band hall. The carnival is held annually during the school winter break, and features programs for both children and adults. It is an opportunity during the harsh and long winter season for the communities in the area to gather for games, cultural festivities, indoor and outdoor activities, and other community events.
Bishop Mark is greeted by a group of Dene men from Black Lake, Fond du Lac, and Stony Rapids – all communities in the Athabasca region.
Chief Coreen Sayazie gives a welcome and opening address to the community to the Winter Carnival opening ceremonies.
The opening ceremonies includes elders and representatives from the band leadership in a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Young people from the community perform in a display of talented and energetic jigging, accompanied by the local band.
Daniel Pashula takes in the carnival festivities (left). Matthias Steiner is remarkably wide-eyed during the opening ceremonies (right).
Matthew Witzaney shows his jigging ability (left),while Benjamin Gerwing(right)shows his stuff during the ‘orange dance’.
The FacetoFace E3 Team for Black Lake were a real blessing. However, all team members said that they received far more than they gave from the generousity, hospitality, and kindness of the Dene community. It will be an experience that will provide much ‘food for thought and soul’ for a long time, including for the FacetoFace leadership and the Bishop of Saskatoon!
Meeting and Settling into the Diocese of Saskatoon – July-August 2018
By Bishop Mark Hagemoen
My summer season in the Saskatoon Diocese continues to feature meeting diocesan and community groups, visiting parishes, and attending special summer devotional celebrations. It was also a time to enjoy many of the youth and community activities typical of summer time, including youth and family programs. I continue to be amazed by the great faith and zeal of the people of the Diocese of Saskatoon. Evidence of the missionary apostolate of the laity abound!
Anglophone SAFEGUARDING CONFERENCE
Vatican, June 17-22, 2018
Deacon Rennie Nahanee of the Archdiocese of Vancouver and I represented the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops at this year’s conference at the Vatican, which aims to develop awareness and best practices for Catholic dioceses and organizations regarding ‘safeguaurding’ in relation to all ministries and activities run by Catholic organizations. The aim of the conference is to improve all protocols in ensure the safety of young people and of vulnerable adults. Deacon Nahanee and I were chosen in our capacity as co-chairs of the Canadian Catholic Indigenous Commission. I believe it is hoped by the CCCB that our experience at the conference may provide us with further insights as we continue to repond to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission here in Canada.
The format of the conference featured opportunities for conference members to respond to presentations given their own diocesan-regional context. Discussion groups also facilitated follow-up and discussion on related topics.
The quality of the presentations was very good, and provided insights regarding issues and possible areas for development in diocesan policies and pastoral practices.
Some of the insights and learnings included the following:
Safeguarding of children is becoming an increasingly complex and urgent issue, especially due to the expansion of technology;
The expansion of human trafficking and pornography industry is greatly impacting the safety of children and young people;
Church culture and the challenges for effective safeguarding;
Implementing and overseeing consistent ‘best practices’ among various diocesan and religious entities.
Conference participants post for a picture outside the site of the conference: the Gregorian University, Rome.
Confirmation celebrations continued into the early summer. Here are groups from St. Mary’s, Lanigan (above) and St. Paul’s Co-Cathedral, Saskatoon (below), celebrated on the weekend of June 30-July 1.
Catholic Students from Ontario come through Saskatoon during their MINISTRY PROJECT trip to the Athabasca Region, northern Saskatchewan.
Catholic students and Vince MacDonald, Director of Education, Huron-Perth Catholic District School Board in southern Ontario, came through Saskatoon on Friday July 20. The student group undertook 2 weeks of service learning work in the communities of Fond du Lac and Black Lake. The purpose of their project they described as follows: “Working with the guidance of Chief Louie Mercredi in Fond du Lac, SK, and Chief Coreen Sayazie in Black Lake, SK, the group seek to learn from the Dene Nation and celebrate our common calling by God to a life of service.” As is often the case with northern air travel, the opportunity to carry out follow-up activities here in Saskatoon was cut short by late flight arrivals due to forest fires. However, I very much enjoyed the brief time sharing common significant experiences and learnings given our mutual experiences with the Dene people of the Athabasca region.
100thAnniversary Celebration of St. Denis Church
On Sunday, July 22, the communities of the Trinity area came together to celebrate the 100thAnniversay of St. Denis Church. Following the mid-afternoon Sunday Eucharistic celebration, the community held a Marian procession to the community cemetery, where prayers where offered for the deceased past members of the community, and the graves were blessed. A community meal followed in the community hall.
Present for the celebrations were current Pastor Fr. Stephen Morrisey, CSsR, and former pastors, Fr. Bernard de Margerie, and Fr Emile April.
Marian procession and Rosary following the Sunday Eucharistic celebration to the community cemetery for blessing of the grave-sites and prayer for all community members who have passed.
Visit to Poundmaker & Sweetgrass communities for summer Sunday Liturgies.
On Sunday July 29, I had the privilege of visiting the Cree First Nation communities of Poundmaker and Sweetgrass. Deacon Daniel Lamoureux and Deacon Ghislain Bellavance serve the communities on behalf of the Prince Albert Diocese, offering Sunday liturgies and various pastoral programs at their respective churches and community centers. This particular Sunday also featured chuckwagon races at the rodeo track in Sweetgrass.
Deacon Daniel Lamoureux and his wife Janice outside of St. Thomas Catholic Church, Poundmaker Cree First Nation.
Deacons Dan and Ghislain Bellavance preparing for Sunday liturgy at Ste Angele Church, Sweetgrass Cree First Nation.
Summer YOUTH MINISTRY Events
On July 19 and 31, I had the opportunity to celebrate the Mass for the leaders and campers at Blackstrap Camp, run by the Knights of Columbus at Blackstrap Lake south of Saskatoon. The Camp Coordinator was Julien Dale.
In early August, I had the privilege of celebrating Eucharist and sharing a “men’s talk” at Ignite sponsored by Face-to-Face Ministries at St Therese in Bruno. Some 108 Catholic teens gather for a week of fellowship, prayer, instruction and reflection, and recreation. It was a powerful experience for me as a new bishop to the diocese. Celebrating exposition of the Blessed Sacrament was especially powerful.
BISHOP’S TRAIL Men’s Canoe Trip & Pilgrimage
From August 10-13, I had the privilege of journeying part of the ‘Bishop’s Trail’ by canoe with several men from our diocese, including members of the Emmanuel community, and a Quebec priest and community member, Father Brice Petitjean. We accessed the area near Missinipe, where we launched our canoes. The weather began very hot, and then became cold and wet quickly. This meant that appetites soared! Thus, it was such a blessing to catch many pike! The days featured daily Mass and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, as well as time for prayer and sharing. This of course was in addition to many hours paddling and portaging between lake systems.
The largest skillet in the world – very necessary when feeding 12 hungry men in the wilderness!!
Members from the parish community of St. Joseph’s, Saskatoon, gathered for supper following the Sunday evening Mass on September 2 at the rectory/pastoral center (above).
Getting ready on Saturday evening Sept. 8 for celebration of confirmation at Sacred Heart Parish, Denzil (above).
Last of confirmations for the year were celebrated in Denzil and Macklin.
Residents of St. Joseph’s care facility in Macklin (above).
CATHOLIC FILIPINO COMMUNITY
The Diocese of Saskatoon has a very active Catholic Filipino community. The community sponsors several programs and events throughout the diocese, but especially through St. Patrick’s, St. Mary’s, and St. Paul’s parishes. Key activities are supported by Couples for Christ, Youth for Christ, and ANCOP (Answering the Cry of the Poor) Ministries.
Marriage renewal weekend at St. Mary’s, Saskatoon, with the Catholic Filipino community and Couples for Christ.
Rise Up Men’s Retreat, sponsored by Couples for Christ on Sept. 22 at St. Paul’s Co-Cathedral Parish, Saskatoon.
The fall season has been a time a renewed visits and celebrations at our various Catholic Schools throughout the Diocese. On Sept. 14 I had my first opportunity to visit the two St. Francis School sites.
Cree spiritual wisdom and teachings as seen in the hallway at St. Francis Cree School (above)
The summer season has been a time of activity, blessing, and renewal in the Diocese of Saskatoon. Now, ‘bring on the Fall season!!’
My first spring season in the Saskatoon diocese has featured meeting with diocesan and community groups, visiting parishes and Catholic schools, and getting to know the great people of this amazing diocese. I continue to be amazed by peoples’ great faith and energy which is directed into so many activities of prayer, discipleship, and service.
The procession getting ready to celebrate at Holy Spirit Parish, Saskatoon.
Celebrating a Baptism with Fr. Marvin Lishchynsky and the Cote family at St. John Bosco Parish
“Well, I’ll try to get better at this!!”
Gathering for Children’s Liturgy of the Word at St. Theresa’s Parish in Asquith.
Inspecting St. Michael’s Church at Tramping Lake with Fr. Greg Roth.
Visit with Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark
On February 8 I was warmly welcomed by Mayor Clark at his Saskatoon City Hall office. I appreciated his knowledge of a great variety of issues and his hopes for the people of Saskatoon and the province. He has a heart for persons dealing with speciall challenges. He is also a humble servant leader.
Visits to our Catholic Schools
Grade 6 class at Mother Theresa Elementary School in Saskatoon.
Visit to the Grade 9 class at E.D. Feehan Catholic High School in Saskatoon.
St. Gerard’s Elementary School in Saskatoon.
‘Question & Answer’ time at the French High Schools’ Student Retreat at held at Sts-Martyrs- Canadiens parish in Saskatoon.
Getting ready for Ash Wednesday Mass at Bethlehem Catholic High School in Saskatoon.
Presentation from St. Thomas More (STM) College’s student delegates to recent justice conference.
Children lead the choir at STM Sunday morning Mass.
Visiting with Students at St. Therese Institute in Bruno.
Posing after serious game of ‘Dodge Ball’ in Bruno.
Celebrating with the Vietnamese community Feb. 18 at St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Saskatoon.
Clergy Study Days 2018
This year’s Clergy Study Days featured Fr. Robert Christian, OP, who led the clergy of the Diocese through a theological and pastoral reflection on the Ministerial and Common Priesthood: the fullness and clergy and lay engagement in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.
Surprising news came to our diocese following the conclusion of our Study Days – our presenter, Fr. Christian, was named the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Congratulations and God’s blessings on you, Bishop Elect Christian.
Fr. Ken Beck addresses the clergy during the business portion of our gathering.
Celebration of First Communion and Confirmation at Davidson, with Fr. Godwin Aghedo, OP and the 3 Suderman brothers: Stan, Robert, and Aiden
Confirmation/ First Eucharist at Little Flower Parish in Leader with Pastor, Fr. Joseph Thazhathemuriyil, VC on May 5, 2018.
One of two large groups of candidates at St. Ann’s Parish in Saskatoon.
St Mary’s Parish in Wynard and Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Wyshart with Fr. Augustine.
An intriguing poster about ‘healing & recovery’ drew my attention as I attended a meeting of STR8UP – a healing and recovery program for people drawn into gang life. Str8UP founder, Fr. André Poilièvre invited me to the group meeting.
The Pure Witness Ministries Team at St. Michael’s School doing a primary students retreat. The students loved the high energy and sincere faith sharing!!
The graduating class of St. Therese Institute, following the Mass and Commissioning celebration held on Saturday May 19 at St. Bruno’s Parish, with Fr. Pius Schroh.
On May 22 the St. Thomas More College community bid farewell to its President, Dr. Terrence Downey. Under Dr. Downey’s leadership, the College benefited directly, both academically and in terms of the physical expansion and upgrading of the college facility. He will be missed immensely! Here Dr Downey addresses College members and supporters after a many presentations from community members expressing thanks and appreciation for his generous leadership.
The spring season has been a very full time in the Diocese of Saskatoon. What a vibrant and faith-filled diocese!
The journey from the Mackenzie-Fort Smith Diocese to the Saskatoon Diocese began with a phone call from His Excellency Luigi Bonazzi, while enroute to facilitate the Grouard-McLennen Clergy Retreat in Edmonton September 2017. Subsequently, the fall time featured pastoral visits to the various communities in the NWT in order to say goodbye, and to pray for the Holy Spirit’s continued work and blessing on the Diocese as it awaits the appointment of its new Bishop.
After knocking at the front entrance, Bishop Mark symbolically enters the Holy Family Cathedral through its main front doors at the beginning of the installation ceremony. (Photo above by Liam Richards, The Star Phoenix)
Archbishop Donald Bolan passes the crozier to Bishop Mark at the installation ceremony. The crozier is the symbol of the Bishop’s role and office as diocesan shepherd and pastor.
Bishop Mark greets family members at the Saskatoon Airport: his brother Dan, and nephew Matthew and niece Alana.
Celebration of “Vietnamese Martyrs” feast day at St. Peter The Apostle Parish in Saskatoon. The event featured the gathering of the Vietnamese clergy from both Saskatoon and Prince Albert Dioceses. The clergy also ‘showed their metal’ as they performed for the gathering.
Dynamic and Faith-filled Youth & Young Adult Education and Movements!!
The early days in the Diocese has featured attendance at the Face-to-Face Ministries “United Conference” on November 18 at Holy Family Cathedral. On December 15, I was able to visit Saint Therese Institute on its last day before students departed for their Christmas break. Wow, what faith-filled, talented, and vibrant young people. I am excited for the present and future of the Diocese of Saskatoon!!!
When I served at Corpus Christi in Vancouver as its President a number of years ago, we dreamed of the kind of 2 year program that is well established at St. Peter’s College. Building on its affiliation with the University of Saskatchewan, the College has a full two-year program that fully tracks students into virtually any degree program in Sciences, Arts, and Business. The College features on-site facilities, including completely modern classrooms, full science labs, and recreational facilities that rival any small independent college in North America! Of course, the College has built its success on its strong relationship with Saint Peter’s Benedictine Monastery.
Abbot Peter Novecosky, OSB beside the printing press for the Prairie Messenger newspaper. The paper will print its last edition in April 2018. ST. Peter’s College will take over the facility for use within its 2 yearundergraduate program.
The Benedictine community welcomes Bishop Mark to Saskatoon with a special cake.
Youth & Young Adults serving the Saskatoon Community
The Greystone Singers, from the Department of Music at the University of Saskatechewan – perform before a packed audience at the Queen’s House Retreat Center Gala Event on November 21.
Students from the various Catholic schools throughout the Diocese perform at the 60th Anniversary of the Knights of Columbus sponsored “CAROL FEST” at TCU Place. Indeed, the schools showed their stuff. The Knights themselves also had a singing group who concluded the presentation.
Staff at the Saskatoon Diocese Pastoral Center get into the Christmas spirit as they serve the mid-day meal at “Friendship Inn.”
Our Lady of Guadalupe Mass at OLG Parish
On Sunday December 10 Bishops Hagemoen and Bayda, with Archbishop Murray Chatlain of Keewatin-Le Pas, celebrated with Pastor Graham Hill, CSsR and the parish community its Feast Day. Following the Mass, +Bayda gave a presentation on the devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, which was followed by a ‘great feast.’
Celebration of Final Simbang Gabi Mass at St. Patrick’s Parish, Saskatoon before Christmas 2017
I had the honour of celebrating with the Filipino community of Saskatoon the conclusion of its nine-day Christmas novena celebration of Simbang Gabi on Saturday December 23 at St. Patrick’s Parish. I quickly discovered that this is also a dynamic and enthusiastic community, that knows how to pray AND celebrate!!!
Congregation and Choir enthusiastically celbration together at St. Patrick’s Church
Father Gerard Cooper, Pastor of St. Patrick’s Parish – and members of the Philipino community at the feast following the final Mass.
A wonderful gift of the Knights of Columbus of their famous outdoor “Holy Family Christmas scene” suddenly appeared on the front lawn of my house during the days before Christmas.
The Diocese of Saskatoon receives from and gives to the Diocese of Mackenzie-Fort Smith!!
On December 15, 2017, Pope Francis appointed the new Bishop for the Mackenzie-Fort Smith Diocese: REVEREND JON HANSEN, CSSR. This is very good news for the MFS Diocese. Bishop-elect Hansen had served the Arctic region of the Diocese for 2 years, after carefully discerning a call to Canada’s far north for several years previous. He had previously served as Pastor at ST. Mary’s Parish in Saskatoon – a parish pastored by the Redemptorists for many years, and featuring a special inner-city ministry.
Bishop Mark and then Fr. Jon Hansen, CSsR, during his time as Pastor of the Arctic region, celebrate Confirmations at Sacred Heart of Mary Parish in the Gwitchin community of Tsiigitchic in August 2016.
Bishop Mark at the December 2017 meeting of the Alberta-NWT Bishops Assembly. +Mark will serve as a member of the Assembly until Bishop Jon Hansen’s ordination and installation as the new Bishop of Mackenzie-Fort Smith Diocese in March 2018.
Wishing everyone in the Diocese of Saskatoon a blessed and Joy-fill Christmas and New Year’s time. Looking forward to the journey together!!