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Bishop Letter in Support of Farmers

Diocese of Saskatoon
OFFICE OF THE BISHOP

October 22, 2002

Diocesan Day of Prayer for Farming Families and Rural Communities

Dear Friends:

When one rejoices, all rejoice, when one suffers, all suffer. This thought reflects St. Paul’s sense of the Body of Christ that we are as Church. By the love of God for all and by our baptismal participation in this love through Jesus Christ, we are indeed bound to one another by ties that shall not be broken.

With this in mind, we turn to the situation presently facing many farming families and rural communities. For some in our diocese it has been a fair year. For many, however, it has been a difficult year what with the drought, poor-to-non existent crops and a difficult harvest season. Many farming families are going into the coming months with worries and fears, with a level of stress that affects many dimensions of their lives. Rural communities wonder about their future in the short and long term. For those who live in an urban setting, the situation also touches many of you, either with family members still on the farm, or in the general way that the state of agriculture affects so much of life in Saskatchewan.

And then ultimately, I repeat, we are all bound together as fellow citizens, and more specifically within our Church, as brothers and sisters in Christ. In Him we are called to care for one another, to show God’s love to all.

In the past while, I have several times been asked: “What can the Church do? How shall the diocese respond to the present situation? “ Our first response, as Church, should of course be one of mutual support at its most concrete level, at the level of one neighbor to another, at the level of the local community. A listening ear, an encouraging word, a caring heart, practical efforts of help and support at the personal level are to be our foremost response as Christians.

Another way that, as a diocese, we can show our care and support, is by praying together for one another. Calling upon God’s loving providence and drawing together in trusting faith and growing love, we carry one another within this one Body of Christ.

Therefore I am asking all the people of the Diocese of Saskatoon to observe November 14 as a Diocesan Day of Prayer for Farming Families and Rural Communities. I would ask the parishes to try to observe this day from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. where possible. I invite you, as possible, to come together on that day for a celebration of the Eucharist or Liturgy of the Word and Prayer. I also invite you, as possible, to spend an hour of prayer for this diocesan-wide intention. This can be in the church, in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, or in your home. Parishes can organize themselves so that there are people praying at the various hours throughout the day. Resources will be provided for these times of prayer with suggestions for scripture reading, reflections, hymns, recitation of the rosary, etc. This day of prayer can be a powerful witness of our trust in God’s loving grace, sustaining us and moving us to all the ways we can be of real support to one another.

There are, of course, many issues around agriculture and our rural communities that need to be addressed; issues of sustainability, issues of fair prices, issues of just and equitable conditions of trade and transportation, issues of environment, etc. In our Day of Prayer let us also implore the Holy Spirit to guide political, economic and community leaders in their efforts and decisions that affect so many. As a diocese we also will need to discuss among ourselves how best to address these larger issues. May the Spirit also enlighten and strengthen us in this effort, leading us to greater hope and solidarity.

In closing I thank you for your support of our Diocesan Day of Prayer for Farming Families and Rural Communities. May it be a powerful expression of our faith in God and of our love for one another in Christ,

Sincerely in Christ,

Most Rev. Albert LeGatt
Bishop of Saskatoon

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