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These six priorities for our Church’s life and mission are: Evangelization,Ongoing Faith Formation, Liturgy and Worship, Building and Sustaining Community, Justice and Peace and Strengthening the Unity of our Diocese.

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Dr. Tam asks for church aid in bringing end to pandemic as vaccines roll out

Fri, 01/22/2021 - 12:00

By Michael Swan, The Catholic Register

(with additional material from Catholic Saskatoon News)

[Ottawa – Canadian Catholic News] – The end of our long COVID-19 crisis may be in sight, but until we get there, churches and faith leaders still have a job to do, Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam told over 1,300 faith leaders on a Jan. 20, 2021 nationwide Zoom call.

“All pandemics come to an end and this one will as well,” Tam said.

However, with delays in vaccine delivery and the enormous logistical effort required to distribute vaccines to every corner of a vast country, exactly when the COVID-19 pandemic will end is still unknown. Between now and then Tam is asking churches to continue to promote the basics of safety under the pandemic — mask wearing, hand washing and social distancing — working with local public health officials.

Canada’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan – Health Canada website

Tam also wants faith leaders’ help in reassuring Canadians that the vaccines are safe, effective and our best hope for a return to normal.

While the majority of Canadians want and trust the vaccines, there are still pockets of resistance and waves of misinformation washing over social media, said Tam. She pleaded with faith leaders to use their influence to promote accurate information about the vaccines.

Calling the faith leaders “influencers,” Tam praised their ability to reach out directly to their congregations and the high level of trust people place in them.

“You know what is in the hearts and in the minds of your members,” she said.  “Your leadership is vital for supporting and building resilience in your communities as we move through this pandemic,” Tam added, listing support being provided for those who are high risk, those who are isolated, or under quarantine or people struggling with mental health issues.

She also noted the role that faith communities can have in assisting marginalized individualized and groups who do not trust vaccines or the health system because they have experienced inequities, discrimination or difficulties accessing health care and other resources. “You, as faith communities, can help overcome that,” Tam said, thanking faith leaders for outreach to those who are marginalized.

During the Zoom call with faith leaders, Ian Shugart, Clerk of the Privy Council, also addressed the role of faith communities and faith leaders in the pandemic and also asked for their prayers.

“Faith communities are in a uniquely strategic position to contribute to our society’s management of the pandemic, to offer hope, and a place to wonder and explore what this pandemic might have to teach us about ourselves and about our society,” Shugart said. “You can inspire people to actions and disciplines that are oriented to the interests of others; you can model and teach the virtue of care, (and) that none of us is entirely self-sufficient.”

During a question and answer session at the conclusion of the call, Tam affirmed that the COVID-19 vaccines do not contain human fetal cells or any animal elements.

Crux interview with Fr. Matthew Schneider about ethical questions related to vaccines: LINK to Article

How to Vaccinate Like a Catholic: A Guide Through the Prickly COVID-19 Issues by Brett Salkeld – LINK to Article

Letter from Bishops of Alberta and NWT re: morality of vaccine: LINK to Letter

Canadian Catholiic Bioethics Institute – resources concerning COVID-19 and vaccine – LINK to CCBI website

Interview with Dr Moira McQueen: Explaining why Catholics should get the COVID-19 vaccine: LINK to video

Church response

There’s no question that Canada’s Catholic bishops want to contribute to a smooth rollout of the vaccines, including the effort to ensure accurate information, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) president Archbishop Richard Gagnon of Winnipeg told The Catholic Register after the Zoom call.

“Like many bishops, I would say our communications office, our web site and that sort of thing will be used to assist in the rollout of the vaccine and providing proper information and encouraging people to take the vaccine, for sure,” he said.

Whether it’s reinforcing COVID safety protocols or broadcasting information about the vaccines, the Archdiocese of Toronto is already on board, said communications director Neil MacCarthy.

“We want to reiterate the credible advice that is out there,” MacCarthy said.

MacCarthy frequently fields calls from parishioners frustrated with restrictions on Mass-going.

“What I often say to people is, ‘We share your frustration,’ but the sooner we can get the numbers down, get people vaccinated, then the sooner we can get people back to full and active participation in our places of worship — which is the end-goal we all share,” MacCarthy said.

The archdiocese also stands ready to make church halls and other spaces available as vaccination sites if they are needed. That’s a request that would come from local health authorities charged with inoculating the public. At current levels of vaccination, the need has not yet arisen.

Toronto’s Archbishop Cardinal Thomas Collins has encouraged pastors to respond positively should the request come, “just as we would for election polling or a blood donor clinic, things like that,” MacCarthy said.

Tam stressed the importance of getting information from a credible source, such as the Health Canada website including information on Canada’a immunization plan.

Among people whose primary source of news and information is social media there is a higher tendency to doubt the vaccines or believe inaccurate information about them, Tam said. The Catholic tradition of seeking truth and building trust should be a bulwark against misinformation, according to MacCarthy.

“We’ve got to trust the people who have that expertise, have the background, are in positions of leadership,” he said. “We want to reiterate the credible advice that is out there.”

While rumours of serious side-effects from the vaccine continue to circulate on the Internet, the facts thus far are far from alarming, said Tam. Out of 338,223 vaccine doses administered prior to Jan. 8, a total of 24 recorded an adverse reaction and only 10 of those were serious. In total, adverse reactions came in at 0.007 per cent of all the doses administered so far.

While the government projects four million Canadians will have received a vaccine by the end of March and the bulk of the population by September, in the meantime Tam would like faith leaders’ help in persuading Canadians to observe safety protocols and thus drive down the numbers that need hospitalization. “Please do continue to listen to your public health authorities to help flatten this curve of resurgence we are experiencing, so we can give the vaccine a bit of a runway to get going.,” she said.

The government’s direct outreach to faith leaders is a positive step, said Gagnon.

“I think it’s good to ask the faith communities to co-operate. It’s appropriate. It’s logical,” he said.

“Maintaining social, community and spiritual closeness at this time is more important than ever,” said Tam.

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100 Words – Third Sunday in Ordinary Time: “Nearness”

Thu, 01/21/2021 - 15:50

By Peter Oliver, Olive Branch Marriage and Family Ministry

Jesus said to them, “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. (Mark 1:18)

This Sunday! Troubled World meets Mark’s Jesus

Mark’s Jesus comes, “proclaiming the Good News of God.” The heart of Jesus’ Good News is “the Kingdom of God has come near.”

Is there “Good News” for people experiencing separation and divorce? Definitely.

This nearness of God is so moving that some hard-working fishermen immediately leave their nets and follow Jesus.  Leave their nets = they immediately let go of that which provided security.

Mark wants to be exceedingly clear: The Good News, i.e. God’s supernova-compassionate-stunningly-welcoming-nearness is present in Jesus.

That same nearness is made present when our Church communities welcome people who are experiencing separation and divorce.

ReStart – Building divorce and separation resilience

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[This is a weekly blog re-published from www.olivebranchministry.ca with permission from author Peter Oliver. Each post is exactly 100 words.]

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New STM College plan celebrated with online launch and liturgy event

Thu, 01/21/2021 - 14:20
Plan seen as roadmap to future success and includes five priority areas

By Paul Sinkewicz, St. Thomas More College

[Editor’s note: This article is reprinted with permission from the St. Thomas More College website: LINK]

A major milestone for St. Thomas More College was achieved Jan. 18 under the trying circumstances of the pandemic, with the liturgical launch of the St. Thomas More College Plan 2025.

Work on the new five-year plan began in spring of 2019 with assistance from Academica Group and leadership of the College-formed Steering Committee. There was participation and collaboration with numerous STM stakeholder groups for input, culminating in the completed plan this past fall.

“Of course, we wish we could be gathered together in the college chapel, as we normally would for Mass and ceremonies,” said Dr. Carl Still, president of STM College. “But even though COVID-19 restrictions continue, we are going forward with our new college plan, and though we have to be connected technologically to make this happen, we are no less connected spiritually.”

The theme of the plan is “Community in Partnership Rooted in Spirit.” Dr. Still noted that theme could be seen in the online event through the College’s partnership with Indigenous peoples as part of its effort to achieve its priority of authentic Indigenization.

The ceremony included two traditions with the Liturgy of the Word paired with a smudging and blessing ceremony overseen by Elders Patricia and AJ Felix, members of STM’s Indigenous Advisory Circle.

Dr. Still made special mention of Deacon Harry Lafond, the first STM Scholar in Indigenous Education, who will be leading the work of the priority devoted to Authentic Indigenization.

“In the plan itself we say that we will integrate Indigenous ceremony into College processes and celebrations,” said Dr. Still. “So, in other words, we are already following the plan in this very liturgy to launch and bless the plan.”

The event was hosted by Celeste Woloschuk of STM Campus Ministry, and included comments from Dr. Still, Dr. Gertrude Rompré, Director of Mission and Ministry, and Deacon Lafond. Also participating in the ceremony were Dr. Jenn Briere, Dr. Michael Cichon, Gail Morrison, and Michael MacLean.

The recent challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic prove the value of having a five-year plan, according to the introduction Dr. Still included in the plan.

“The shifting landscape in which we find ourselves makes future planning difficult, but all the more imperative: we need a roadmap to the future that is clear enough to guide decision-making, but flexible enough to respond to unexpected developments, like the global pandemic of 2020. A plan is also a statement to our extended STM community and the wider society of where we aspire to go in the next five years and why we hope they will support us in getting there.”

“As we move toward the end of our 2015-2020 plan, we have considerable momentum in the five priority areas of Catholic mission and identity, student experience, research and discovery, sustainability, and Indigenous engagement.”

 

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New Appointments for STM Board of Governors

Thu, 01/21/2021 - 11:43

By St. Thomas More College staff

[Editor’s note: This article is reprinted with permission from the St. Thomas More College website: LINK]

St. Thomas More College (STM) Board of Governors has announced the appointment of Dr. Helen Horsman as Chair and new Board members Melvin Gerspacher, Gordon Martell and Dr. Saeed Moshiri effective January 1, 2021.

STM College is the federated Catholic college at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.

Dr. Helen Horsman, BEd, PGD, MEd, PhD, is the new chair of the STM College Board of Governors.

Dr. Horsman’s academic achievements and extensive resumé include serving as an instructor at both Saskatchewan universities, as well as for ITEP, SUNTEP, NORTEP, and the Indian Federated College. Dr. Horsman was superintendent for Moose Jaw Catholic Schools, Director of Education for both Holy Trinity School Division and Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools, and has served as the Assistant Deputy Minister of Learning, as well as the Chair of the SIAST Provincial Foundation Board. Dr. Horsman was inducted into the 2010 USask Alumni Wall of Fame.

Melvin Gerspacher

Dr. Gordon A. Martell

Dr. Saeed Moshiri

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appointed to the STM College Board of Governors as members-at-large are Melvin Gerspacher, QC, FCPA, FCA, a partner at Robertson, Stromberg LLP, a corporate and commercial lawyer with particular expertise in taxation; Gordon A. Martell, PhD, Superintendent of Learning Services with Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools and an adjunct professor in educational administration at the University of Saskatchewan; and Dr. Saeed Moshiri, PhD, economics professor and department head for STM College, with research published in top economic journals.

Other members of the STM College Board of Governors include Vice-Chair Jason Aebig, Treasurer Neil Reddekopp, Sr. Anne Lewans OSU, Marie Stack, Taylor Spock and STM College President Dr. Carl Still.

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Delta Hospice Society pledges to fight on as it faces layoffs, eviction for refusing to provide euthanasia on site

Tue, 01/19/2021 - 08:49

By B.C. Catholic staff

[Vancouver – Canadian Catholic News] – The Delta Hospice Society in British Columbia says it has been forced to issue layoff notices to clinical staff at its 10-bed hospice in Delta effective Feb. 25, all due to its opposition to on-site euthanasia.

“We have been left no other choice due to the Fraser Health Authority cancelling our service agreement and 35-year lease,” president Angelina Ireland said in a statement Jan. 8.

“Fraser Health is about to evict us and expropriate approximately $15 million of our assets simply because we decline to euthanize our patients.”

The DHS has been fighting an uphill battle since last February, when the Fraser Health Authority announced it was cancelling the society’s lease and terminating contracts effective February 2021 due to the society’s unwillingness to support assisted suicide at its hospice. That led to legal battles and protests as the society has tried to maintain its position that assisted suicide is contrary to hospice care and the mission the Irene Thomas Hospice was founded on nearly 30 years ago.

Ireland said health and government officials have refused offers to negotiate. “They want us to give everything over to them voluntarily … just give them everything, be quiet, and go away.”

Late last year The B.C. Catholic reported the hospice was considering a Supreme Court of Canada appeal, saying the society is being “mistakenly” treated as a public institution rather than a private one.

Ireland wasn’t immediately available to provide an update, but said in a video message Jan. 7 the controversy won’t end when the lease does. The society has launched Save Delta Hospice and plans to lobby legislators to ensure some hospices remain euthanasia-free zones.

“We are a society that has gone national in our quest for hospice sanctuary and safe spaces in this country,” she said. “The fight is not over. The fight has just begun.”

The society has support from some top voices in palliative care in B.C. and Ontario. Dr. Margaret Cottle, a Vancouver palliative care physician for more than three decades, said forcing assisted suicide into hospices undoes the legacy of physicians who pioneered palliative care through its early years.

“We spent a lot of time talking to patients, talking to our colleagues, saying ‘We are not Dr. Death. Palliative care does not hasten or prolong natural death.’”

She said hospices exist to help people live well and symptom-free until natural death.

“If I come to the end of my life and I’m in a position where I am desperate for some reason, maybe I lost hope, maybe I’m having symptoms that I’m having trouble getting under control … maybe it’s a bad day for me … I want to be sure that I’m in a place that won’t just take me at my word when I say I just want to die,” she said.

“I want to be in a place where people will love me, who will come alongside me, who will provide hope for me and say, ‘what is the worst part of this for you? How can we help you? How can we reframe hope for you? How can we help you control your symptoms? How can we help you come together with your family?’ That’s what this is all about.”

Dr. Neil Hilliard, a palliative care physician in Abbotsford, said he resigned from a post as palliative care program director with Fraser Health in 2017 over the issue of requiring hospices to provide assisted suicide.

“We know that only five per cent, at most, of Canadians wish for medical assistance in dying,” Hillard said. “It makes me wonder why the province of B.C. has taken this particular action of forcing a hospice against their principles to provide physician-hastened death.”

Dr. Rene Leiva, a family physician in Ottawa, said institutions across Canada are allowed to practise under their own ethical principles. For B.C. to impose its own values on unwilling hospices “is very unusual for a government to do … it is, in fact, totalitarian.”

He said in this case the government is failing to provide a “reasonable accommodation” of the hospice, especially since access to assisted suicide is available at the Delta Hospital next door.

Vancouver family physician Dr. Williard Johnston called the lease cancellation an “obviously unfair and unjust attack.”

Johnston related how one of his patients went into hospice care two years ago with no intention of asking for a doctor to end her life. “She was hoping to live the remaining days of her life as fully as she possibly could,” he said.

Within days of arriving, the patient was “pressured” into signing an assisted death request that would end her life in four days. Her brother arrived from Australia a few days later and was able to help her change her mind. She lived for another month, made amends with family members, and died a natural death.

“The vast majority of people have no interest in having anything to do with euthanasia,” Johnston said, adding the public benefits from spaces where they can “be absolutely convinced and safe in their trust of the classic palliative care principles, which involve living as fully as you can until dying of a natural death.”

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition has also expressed its support of DHS through executive director Alex Schadenberg.

“This is a situation where I very clearly see that the B.C. government policy discriminates against people who want to be cared for in a euthanasia-free environment,” he said, adding that the EPC has received many calls from people saying they or people they love have felt pressure to end their lives.

“If you think it’s something that doesn’t happen, in fact it is happening.”

Supporters of the Fraser Health decision, including members of a group called Take Back Delta Hospice, have called it an issue of human rights and access to palliative care to all citizens regardless of end-of-life choices.

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Pope Francis to mark fifth anniversary of ‘Amoris laetitia’ with year dedicated to family

Mon, 01/18/2021 - 15:51

By Catholic News Agency staff

[Vatican City – CNA] –  Pope Francis has announced a special year dedicated to the family, marking the fifth anniversary of the publication of his apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia.

In his Angelus address Dec. 27, the feast of the Holy Family, Pope Francis noted that March 19, 2021, would mark five years since the signing of Amoris laetitia, following synods on the family in 2014 and 2015.

The Holy Father said: “Today’s feast reminds us of the example of evangelizing with the family, proposing to us once again the ideal of conjugal and family love, as underlined in the apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia, promulgated five years ago this coming March 19. And it will be a year of reflection on Amoris laetitia and it will be an opportunity to focus more closely on the contents of the document. These reflections will be made available to ecclesial communities and families, to accompany them on their journey.”

“As of now, I invite everyone to take part in the initiatives that will be promoted during the Year and that will be coordinated by the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life. Let us entrust this journey, with families all over the world, to the Holy Family of Nazareth, in particular to St. Joseph, the devoted spouse and father.”

The pope’s announcement follows his proclamation of a year dedicated to St. Joseph, which began on Dec. 8 and will conclude on Dec. 8, 2021.

Pope Francis released the apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia (“The Joy of Love”) on April 8, 2016, though it was signed on March 19 that year. One of the longest documents in papal history, it consists of an introduction and nine chapters, reflecting on challenges to marriage and family life.

A Dec. 27 press release from the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life said that the newly proclaimed year would be known officially as the Year “Amoris Laetitia Family.”

The Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life said: “The pandemic experience has highlighted the central role of the family as the domestic Church and has shown the importance of community ties between families, which make the Church an authentic ‘family of families.’”

“Through the spiritual, pastoral, and cultural initiatives planned in the Year ‘Amoris Laetitia Family,’ Pope Francis intends to address all ecclesial communities throughout the world, exhorting each person to be a witness of family love.”

Brochure for Year “Amoris Laetitia Family” in English  / or in French

The Dicastery added: “Resources will be shared within parishes, dioceses, universities, and in the context of ecclesial movements and family associations, on: family spirituality, formation and pastoral activity for marriage preparation, young people education in affective maturity, and on the holiness of married couples and families who live out the grace of the sacrament in their daily life.”

“International academic symposiums will also be organized to examine in-depth the contents and implications of the apostolic exhortation in relation to highly topical issues that affect families around the world.”

The dicastery also announced the creation of a new website, www.amorislaetitia.va, dedicated to the year, which will begin on March 19, 2021, and end on June 26, 2022, with the celebration of the 10th World Meeting of Families in Rome.

Among the initiatives announced in the brochure are a forum to be held June 9-12, 2021, entitled “Where are we with Amoris laetitia? Strategies for implementing the apostolic exhortation of Pope Francis.” Forum participants will include the heads of offices for family pastoral ministry of the world’s bishops’ conferences, as well as members of international movements and family associations.

The brochure also said that Pope Francis would take part in a project called “10 Videos Amoris Laetitia” in which he would “explain the chapters of the apostolic exhortation, along with families who will give witness by sharing some aspects of their daily lives.” The videos will appear monthly.

The dicastery said that the new website dedicated to the special year sought to help in “spreading the Christian message on the family in light of the challenges of our time; promoting a deeper understanding of the text of the apostolic exhortation and of the magisterium of Pope Francis; inviting episcopal conferences, dioceses, and parishes, together with ecclesial movements, associations, and families, to devote themselves enthusiastically to the pastoral care of the family by implementing Amoris laetitia.”

The dicastery added that the site would be presented in five languages — English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian — and would be “updated with the proposals and initiatives that will gradually develop over the course of the year.”

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Decision to deny appeal of 2020 court ruling makes Catholic archdiocese liable for abuse at Mount Cashel

Mon, 01/18/2021 - 15:22

By Bryan Dryden, Canadian Catholic News

[Ottawa – CCN] – The Archdiocese of St. John’s is responsible for paying victims of child abuse at Newfoundland’s infamous Mount Cashel Orphanage.

In a decision announced Jan. 14, the Supreme Court of Canada has declined to hear one last appeal from the archdiocese, which has always denied it was responsible for the abuse that occurred at Mount Cashel dating back to the 1950s. The orphanage was run by the Christian Brothers of Ireland, which declared bankruptcy in 2012 while settling abuse lawsuits. The orphanage itself was demolished in 1992.

As is often standard practice, there was no reason given for why Canada’s Supreme Court decided not to hear the appeal filed by the Archdiocese of St. John’s that sought to reverse a Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal ruling that found that the diocese had “vicarious liability” for what went on at Mount Cashel.

“(C)onsidering the whole of the evidence, we conclude that the Brothers at Mount Cashel were working on the account of the Archdiocese when they were caring for the appellants, and that the relationship between the Brothers and the Archdiocese was sufficiently close to make the imposition of vicarious liability on the Archdiocese appropriate,” the 135-page July 2020 ruling by the Newfoundland Court of Appeal said.

The archdiocese has argued before the court that it was not involved in the orphanage’s day-to-day operations and that the Christian Brothers was a lay organization whose members were not ordained priests of the archdiocese.

The lower court ruling in Newfoundland that exposed the Catholic Church to financial liability could have implications not only in St. John’s and across Canada, but the case was also being closely monitored internationally.

Court cases related to what went on at the Mount Cashel orphanage have been ongoing for more than two decades after the Hughes Inquiry in 1989 exposed the abuse suffered by children at the orphanage overseen by the Christian Brothers.

The Archdiocese of St. John’s said in a statement it will review the Supreme Court’s ruling before commenting, but added: “The Archdiocese of St. John’s has immense sympathy for those who suffered abuse at Mount Cashel Orphanage and we ask that all join with us in praying for healing for those who suffer as a result of abuse.”

The archdiocese’s argument that it did not oversee day-to-day operations at Mount Cashel was at first accepted by the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2018, which initially ruled in favour of the archdiocese in a case involving four plaintiffs.

But in a unanimous three-judge decision in July of 2020, Newfoundland’s court of appeal ruled that the diocese was in fact liable and the Church was ordered to pay out about $2 million in damages.

Newfoundland’s Court of Appeal ruled in July that “the Archdiocese established Mount Cashel orphanage to provide care for boys within its religion and culture, and staffed it with Brothers to whom it assigned the task of caring for the resident boys, including the appellants. The evidence shows that this close relationship continued up to and including the 1950s when the appellants were resident.

“Through these years the Archdiocese had authority over the Brothers with respect to their care of the boys in accordance with the Archdiocese’s mandate, had a significant hand in the overall administration and operation of Mount Cashel, exercised authority and control over fundraising, set admissions and child welfare policy, facilitated admissions, and ensured that the Roman Catholic faith informed the education and religious training of the residents,” according to the court ruling, which added: “the Archdiocese was in a position to reduce risk to the appellants but did not do so. It had the ability, through a Diocesan contract or otherwise to set up oversight systems to provide a check on how the Brothers were caring for the appellants.”

“The Brothers were engaged by the Archdiocese to perform services in an orphanage it established and continued to administer and financially support for the benefit of the Archdiocese’s objectives,” the July ruling stated.

“The Archdiocese cannot divest itself of responsibility for the Brothers’ wrongdoing by setting up a situation involving risk, perpetuating that risk, and then saying that Church structure denied them authority over how the Brothers carried out their work at the orphanage,” the ruling continued.

The case was considered a test case for up to 60 other possible plaintiffs and now more cases are expected to go forward by other abuse survivors or their estates.

“What this means is that in this instance the Church can not claim it has no liability,” said Geoff Budden, who was one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs. “The issue of liability has been settled.”

He expects more cases will now be filed in relation to Mount Cashel specifically, but how this will impact other cases involving claims of Church liability depends on the circumstances of each case.

“It all depends on what the Church’s relationship to an organization is, and there are many different relationships between organizations and the Church,” Budden told  Canadian Catholic News in a Jan. 14 interview.

“This doesn’t create blanket liability; the appeal decision in Newfoundland was a nuanced decision that was specific to the situation and relationship between the Church and the orphanage here,” Budden said. “I do, however, expect any lawyers who have clients that are trying to prove Church liability will be looking very closely at what the appeal court ruling said and how that may affect other cases.”

Budden said his clients feel vindicated for having demanded that the Catholic Church in Newfoundland and Labrador be held accountable for what happened at Mount Cashel.

“They are very satisfied with what has happened, even though whenever this comes up of course it brings back up all the bad memories of what happened,” Budden said. “It would be wrong to say they are happy, but they are satisfied.”

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In Exile – A column by Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI: “Grieving Death”

Mon, 01/18/2021 - 07:00
Grieving Death

By Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI 

Most of us are familiar with the story of Zorba the Greek, either through Nikos Kazantzakis’ famous book or through the movie. Well, Zorba was not a fictional character. He was a real person, Alexis Zorba, who had such a larger-than-life personality and energy that when he died, Kazantzakis found his death very difficult to accept, incredulous that such energy, verve, and color were mortal.

On learning of Zorba’s death, this was Kazantzakis’ reaction: “I closed my eyes and felt tears rolling slowly, warmly down my cheeks. He’s dead, dead, dead. Zorba is gone, gone forever. The laughter is dead, the song cut off, the santir broken, the dance on the seaside pebbles has halted, the insatiable mouth that questioned with such incurable thirst is filled now with clay. … Such souls should not die. Will earth, water, fire, and chance ever be able to fashion a Zorba again? … It was as though I believed him to be immortal.”

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that a certain person can die because of the life and energy that he or she incarnated. We simply cannot imagine that life-pulse dead, stilled, forever gone from this planet. Certain people seem exempt from death because we cannot imagine such energy, color, generosity, and goodness dying.  How can such wonderful energy just die?

I have felt that many times in my life; most recently this past week when two former colleagues, both specially spirited, colorful, witty, and generous men, died. Kazantzakis came to mind, and his struggle to accept Zorba’s death, along with the way he tried to deal with that death. He decided he would try to “resurrect” Zorba, bring him back to life, by taking his story to the world in such a way so as to transform his life into a myth, a dance, and a religion.

Kazantzakis believed this is what Mary Magdala did in the wake of Jesus’ death, when she left his tomb and went back to the world. She resurrected Jesus by telling his story, creating a myth, a dance, and a religion. So, in the wake of Zorba’s death, Kazantzakis said to himself: “Let us give him our blood so that he can be brought back to life, let us do what we can to make this extraordinary eater, drinker, workhorse, woman-chaser, and vagabond live a little longer – this dancer and warrior, the broadest soul, surest body, freest cry I ever knew in my life.”

Bless his effort! It made for a great story, a gripping myth, but it never made for a religion or an eternal dance because that’s not what Mary Magdala did with Jesus. Nonetheless, there’s still something to be learned here about how to deal with a death that seemingly takes some oxygen out of the planet. We must not let that wonderful energy disappear, but keep it alive. However, as Christians, we do this in a different way.

We read the Mary Magdala story quite differently. Mary went to Jesus’ tomb, found it empty, and went away crying; but … but, before she got to tell anyone any story, she met a resurrected Jesus who shared with her how his energy, color, love, person would now be found, namely, in a radically new modality, inside his spirit. That contains the secret of how we are to give life to our loved ones after they have died.

How do we keep our loved ones and the wonderful energy they brought to the planet alive after they have died?

First, by recognizing that their energy doesn’t die with their bodies, that it doesn’t depart the planet. Their energy remains, alive, still with us, but now inside us, through the spirit they leave behind (just as Jesus left his spirit behind). Further still, their energy infuses us whenever we enter into their “Galilee”, namely, into those places where their spirits thrived and breathed out generative oxygen.

What’s meant by that? What’s someone’s “Galilee”? A person’s “Galilee” is that special energy, that special oxygen, which he or she breathes out. For Zorba, it was his fearlessness and zest for life; for my dad, it was his moral stubbornness; for my mom, it was her generosity. In that energy, they breathed out something of God. Whenever we go to those places where their spirits breathed out God’s life, we breathe in again their oxygen, their dance, their life.

Like all of you, I have sometimes been stunned, saddened, and incredulous at the death of a certain person. How could that special energy just die? Sometimes that special energy was manifest in physical beauty, human grace, fearlessness, zest, color, moral steadiness, compassion, graciousness, warmth, wit, or humor. It can be hard to accept that beauty and live-giving oxygen can seemingly leave the planet.

In the end, nothing is lost. Sometime, in God’s time, at the right time, the stone will roll back and like Mary Magdala walking away from the grave, we will know that we can breathe in that wonderful energy again in “Galilee”.

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Oblate Father Ron Rolheiser, theologian, teacher, and award-winning author, is President of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, TX. He can be contacted through his website  www.ronrolheiser.com.

Now on Facebook www.facebook.com/ronrolheiser

Find Fr. Rolheiser’s past columns online, along with an explanation for the column’s title “In Exile”: RonRolheiser.com/ARCHIVE

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100 Words – 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time: “Home”

Fri, 01/15/2021 - 09:06

By Peter Oliver, Olive Branch Marriage and Family Ministry

When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” (John 1:38)

Fear. We can become so afraid that we don’t even know we’re afraid.

A casualty of this kind of fear is the loss of a sense of home. Home, that place where we are loved; where we are confident, secure, joy-filled – a place where we belong.

The first words Jesus speaks in John’s gospel are, “What are you looking for?”

The disciples’ fascinating response, “Where are you staying?” – Christ-God (Lamb of God), where do you live?

Abstractions don’t help frightened people. Jesus doesn’t offer abstract answers. He says, “Come and see.”Come and abide with me. I am your HOME.

ReStart – Building divorce and separation resilience

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[This is a weekly blog re-published from www.olivebranchministry.ca with permission from author Peter Oliver. Each post is exactly 100 words.]

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Bishop Mark Hagemoen declares Jan. 31 as a Day of Prayer for Reverence for Life

Tue, 01/12/2021 - 12:20

By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News

A day of prayer for Reverence for Life will again be celebrated in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, with Bishop Mark Hagemoen declaring Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021, as “an opportunity for prayers, reflection and discussion about the value of the precious gift of human life.”

In a letter to the faithful published on Jan. 7, the Memorial of St. André Bessette in Canada, Bishop Hagemoen noted that the year 2020 was marked by “the terrible scourge of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Letter from Bishop Mark Hagemoen about Day of Prayer for Reverence for Life Jan. 31: LINK

He observed that “many things should not go back to the way they were” after the pandemic, stressing that “one of the things that calls out for change is protection for the unborn and most vulnerable.”

Noting the anniversary of the Supreme Court of Canada decision in the Morgentaler case on Jan. 28, 1988, which removed all restrictions on abortion in Canada, Bishop Hagemoen wrote: “Canada continues to deal with the tragic repercussions of the removal of abortion from the Criminal Code… Incredibly applauded by many in our society, these moments in our nation’s history hold within them the tragic reality of millions of lost lives.”

The bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon said: “Victims of abortion include the unborn children who are killed, but also the mothers, fathers and families left wounded after an abortion. The community is also weakened and damaged as the weakest and most vulnerable among us are not valued and protected.”

The introduction of Bill C-7 to expand access to medically-assisted suicide and euthanasia in Canada is another area of profound concern, said Hagemoen, quoting the words of Pope Francis: “The victims of this [throwaway] culture are precisely the weakest and most fragile human beings – the unborn, the poorest, the sick and elderly, the seriously handicapped, etc. – who are in danger of being ‘thrown away’, expelled from a system that must be efficient at all costs.”

Bishop Hagemoen continued: “In this statement, Pope Francis went on to call forth all people of good will to continue the steady work to turn our culture from one of convenience and short-sightedness, to a cultural movement that seeks – through good will and honest reflection – the realization of a truly human culture.”

The bishop also pointed to the “larger deterioration of a culture of human care and respect.”

Bishop Hagemoen wrote: “Today we are more aware than ever of the fragility of environment, and the inter- relationship of all people and all creation. In Laudato Si (June 2015), Pope Francis reminds us that reverence for all human life – especially the most vulnerable and unprotected – cannot be separated from concern and care of creation. As the pope states, ‘Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion. How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties?’ (Laudato Si, #120)”

Hagemoen added: “The Holy Father reminds us that inconsistency about care of the human person will affect our stewardship of creation. ‘When we fail to acknowledge as part of reality the worth of a person, a human embryo, a person with disabilities – to offer just a few examples – it becomes difficult to hear the cry of nature itself; everything is connected.’ (LS #117).”

Failing to reverence human life at every stage and age, an in every circumstance, is “removing the heart from our society,” said Bishop Hagemoen. “This loss of ‘heart’ is also the root cause of so many other evils in our midst: poverty, hunger, discrimination, injustice, racism, and violence,” he added.

“Sisters and brothers, let us respond to loss of heart by holding steady to the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: the Sacred Heart for our world,” Bishop Hagemoen said, urging the faithful to join together in common prayer Jan. 31 and throughout the Year of St. Joseph recently declared by Pope Francis.

“And may our every action always lovingly affirm the deep and sacred value of every human person. Sisters and brothers, we again pray that as a nation we may re-discover our heart!”

Diocesan Prayer – Reverence for Life

Almighty God, giver of all that is good,

we thank you for the precious gift of human life:

For life in the womb, coming from your creative power,

For the life of children, making us glad with their freshness and promise,

For the life of young people, hoping for a better world,

For the life of people who are disabled, teaching us that every life has value,

For the life of the elderly, witnessing to the ageless values of patience and wisdom.

Like Blessed Mary, may we always say “yes” to Your gift.

Help us to realize the sacredness of human life and to respect and cherish it from conception to its natural end.

And bring us at last, O Father, to the fullness of eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN

Diocèse de Saskatoon – Révérence pour la vie

Dieu Tout-Puissant, donateur de tout ce qui est bon, nous te remercions pour le don précieux de la vie humaine:

Pour la vie dans le sein maternel, provenant de ton pouvoir créatif,

Pour la vie des enfants, nous rendant heureux de leur fraîcheur et de leur promesse,

Pour la vie des jeunes, espérant pour un monde formidable,

Pour la vie des personnes qui sont handicapées, nous apprenant que toute vie a de la valeur,

Pour la vie des personnes âgées, témoignant des valeurs intemporelles de patience et de sagesse.

Comme la bienheureuse Marie, puissions-nous toujours dire “oui” à Ton don.

Aide-nous à réaliser le caractère sacré de la vie humaine, à la respecter et à la chérir de la conception à sa fin naturelle.

Et amène-nous enfin, ô Père, à la plénitude de la vie éternelle en Jésus-Christ notre Seigneur. AMEN

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Pandemic an ideal time to bring hope to young people, NET missionaries say

Tue, 01/12/2021 - 11:24

By Agnieszka Ruck, The B.C. Catholic 

[Vancouver – Canadian Catholiic News] – For many Canadians the COVID-19 pandemic meant hunkering down at home, cutting out travel and major life-altering decisions, and waiting out the storm.

But not so for 46 missionaries who joined National Evangelization Teams (NET) Canada last fall. Leaving behind comforts of home, educational pursuits, and jobs, the young people received five weeks of training before heading across Canada to host retreats, share their testimonies, and run religious activities for high school students for the 2020/2021 school year.

Western program coordinator Jean-Paul de Fleuriot sees NET as fulfilling a need “to bring light in the midst of the darkness.”

“Yes, there are restrictions on us, but sharing the Gospel is a necessity,” he told The B.C. Catholic.

Related: Saskatoon’s Bishop Mark Hagemoen in conversation with NET missionaries serving in the northern Archdiocese of Keewatin-Le Pas – LINK to video

During the pandemic, NET is working with dioceses and schools to maintain safety measures while sharing the Gospel. Protocols include ensuring NET missionaries follow all local guidelines that apply to school staff and board in private apartments. (In previous years, missionaries have been put up by host families). The teams have also cut down on the amount of travel they usually do, serving one community for months at a time instead of moving among schools.

Due to current restrictions all parish-based ministry is done online.

“With the current situation, God still knew that young people, families, the whole community, would need hope, and his work is still happening,” said de Fleuriot.

Three teams are currently serving in B.C. One provides religious activities for students at St. John Brebeuf Regional Secondary in Abbotsford and parishes in the area. A second team of missionaries serves at St. Thomas Aquinas Regional Secondary (North Vancouver) and Archbishop Carney Regional Secondary (Port Coquitlam). A third team is in Prince George.

NET missionary Renske de Greeuw leads a small group discussion with high school students. (Submitted photo – The B.C. Catholic, CCN)

NET missionary Renske de Greeuw, who is working at St. John Brebeuf, said many students are struggling with isolation. Having faced lockdowns, online learning, physical distancing measures, and separation based on cohort groups or grades, “they don’t have many people to listen to them,” she said.

Being around the missionaries – who are only a few years older than they are – offers high school students an opportunity to talk to someone who understands their anxieties and has had to ask the same questions about their own futures.

“The challenges can’t compare with the blessings that are coming through this time,” said de Greeuw.

“It is so beautiful how the youth are opening up and how we can share our faith and trust and grow. From the biggest fights come the biggest victories.”

NET missionary Noah Runstedler speaks with students. (Submitted photo – The B.C. Catholic, CCN)

NET teammate Noah Runstedler, who graduated from high school less than a year ago, also sees his service in schools as spreading hope in hard times.

“One of the youth said: ‘I can’t wait to wake up in the morning on Tuesdays and Thursdays because I know the NET team will be there,’” he said. “It gives them a hope and a joy, and we hope and pray that joy will stay when we leave, because it’s not us, it’s God working through us.”

Although the number of NET missionaries in Canada has dropped slightly to 46 from last year, the number assigned to B.C. has doubled to 20 from 10 last season.

While in-person events (outside school activities) are banned in B.C., missionaries are running faith studies and maintaining connections with young people online. Runstedler said digital technologies have been a blessing and a challenge.

Since you’re not ministering to the youth face-to-face, you have less control of what you’re doing in a sense. You’re really forced to trust more in the Lord,” he said. “God is not limited. If he wants to touch a youth, he can do it through a computer screen.”

At the start of the pandemic, 18-year-old Michael Porta was a little anxious about making plans to fly from his home in London, Ont., to Alberta for NET training and then to B.C. for eight months of evangelizing. He registered for NET, but applied to university as a back-up plan.

When he was accepted to both he felt his anxiety about missionary work evaporating. “God knew a pandemic was coming when he called me,” he said.

Porta has deeply moved by the sight of young people at St. Thomas Aquinas and. Archbishop Carney lining up for confession or saying they want to commit their lives to God.

“The most fulfilling thing is seeing youth come to Christ … It’s so rewarding. Being in a small group and hearing a kid say that he wants a relationship with Christ is so awesome.”

Pia Ocenar served as a NET missionary last year and, despite the looming pandemic, chronic illness, and doubts from family members, felt called to continue for a second year.

“I wanted to spread the Gospel to the youth. I still had that calling,” said Ocenar, who put her university studies in history on hold to do this.

“The youth still need Jesus and to know they are loved by him. Just because it’s a pandemic, it’s not going to stop. I felt called to keep on going.”

Perhaps in a pandemic, even more so than in any other time, young people need to hear a message of hope, grace, and peace. “God doesn’t change because there’s a pandemic,” said Runstedler.

“His Gospel doesn’t change. We’re still called to evangelize, and whatever way that might be, he is going to bless it.”

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Canadians urged to stop spread of ‘cultural virus’ of assisted death

Tue, 01/12/2021 - 10:26

By Brian Dryden, Canadian Catholic News

[Ottawa – CCN] – An organization dedicated to stopping the ever-increasing expansion of legally-sanctioned euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada is hoping that like-minded Canadians will take part in an international online strategy session to stop the spread of what it calls a “cultural virus.”

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) is joining forces with the U.S.-based Physicians for Compassionate Care Education Foundation to host a free online Zoom conference on Saturday, Jan. 23, that will focus on how participants can help prevent “the spread of euthanasia and assisted suicide.”

“During the COVID-19 pandemic we have heard about what we need to know to prevent the spread of the virus,” said a statement on the EPC’s website, which includes links to register for the online conference.

Free online conference on preventing the spread of euthanasia and assisted suicide: LINK to Zoom Registration.

“Euthanasia and assisted suicide are a cultural virus,” organizers of the Jan. 23 online event said, adding that the speakers at the conference will provide information and direction on how to stop or contain the spread of what they call a “death virus.”

The Jan. 23 conference runs from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET (9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. CST) and is entitled: “Preventing the Spread of Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide: What You Need to Know.”

Speakers will include Canadian family physician Dr. Ramona Coelho, who has spoken out against the proposed expansion of Canada’s euthanasia system (known as “medical assistance in dying” or “MAiD”) during recent House of Commons and Senate hearings into Bill C-7.

Also taking part in the online discussion on Jan. 23 are the EPC’s Amy Hasbrouck, founder and board member of the Tourjours Vivant – Not Dead Yet Canada; Dr. Leonie Herx, past-president of the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians and chair of the division of palliative medicine at Queen’s University; EPC executive director Alex Schadenberg, who will address how to change the cultural landscape that allows for euthanasia to flourish; Dr. Annette Hanson, a forensic psychiatrist and assistant professor of psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine in the United States; Dr. Grodon Macdonald, the CEO of the Care Not Killing Alliance in the United Kingdom; and Dr. William Toffler, a family physician in Oregon where euthanasia was legalized 25 years ago.

The Jan. 23 conference comes as Bill C-7 changes to the euthanasia system in Canada that would make it easier to access a legally-sanctioned suicide Canada has been approved by MPs in the House of Commons, but still must be approved in the Senate.

MPs representing all parties in the House of Commons passed Bill C-7 by a two-to-one margin on Dec. 10. Along with eliminating the need for a person’s death being reasonability foreseeable to qualify for medically-assisted death, the new legislation would also eliminate or ease some of the other safeguards in the law such as lowering the number of witnesses needed when a person consents to euthanasia/assisted suicide. Bill C-7 would also eliminate a 10-day waiting period to perform an assisted suicide after consent is given and opens the door to allowing for advanced directives that could see a person be put to death even if they are mentally incapable of consenting when they are actually euthanized.

Critics of expanding the euthanasia/assisted suicide system have said that hearings at the committee level in both the House of Commons and the Senate show that there is no real consensus among Canadians to make significant changes to the medically-provided suicide / euthanasia system before a promised five year review is undertaken.

“The Senate needs to shelve Bill C-7 until after the five-year review is completed,” said the EPC’s Schadenberg. “If the government insists on passing Bill C-7 then it must limit the legislative changes to the Truchon decision which only required removing the phrase: ‘natural death is reasonably foreseeable.’”

Related article: Fight against euthanasia and assisted suicide continues as delay granted

Link to Canadian Catholic bishops’ Dec. 18 statement (ENGLISH)  / (FRENCH)

Canada’s Catholic bishops also say it is “not too late to reconsider” and stop the expansion of legally-assisted suicide in Canada as they continue to try and convince members of parliament in both the House of Commons and Senate to pull back on making changes to the law now that the federal government has until Feb. 26 to bring federal law in line with a Quebec court decision from 2019.

Canada’s Catholic bishops are hoping that the additional time to consider proposed changes in Bill C-7, whicbwas granted by a Quebec court on Dec. 17, will persuade the country’s politicians to pull back from making it easier for Canadians to kill themselves with the help of a doctor.

On Dec. 18, 2020 the executive committee of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) issued a statement calling on Canadian politicians to reconsider changes that the bishops say are being rushed. “Over the course of the past several months, there has been significant debate among Canadians over Bill C-7. Among the amendments that are being introduced, it seeks to expand access to euthanasia by eliminating the ‘reasonable foreseeability of natural death’ criterion. This would allow those who are not dying to request and obtain euthanasia or assisted suicide in Canada,” the CCCB’s Dec. 18 statement said.

“The Catholic Bishops of Canada remain steadfastly opposed to all forms of euthanasia and assisted suicide. We are especially concerned by the accelerated and reckless pace in which the government is attempting to pass Bill C-7,” the CCCB said.

“Despite the numerous warnings by disability organizations and physicians about the devastating consequences of Bill C-7, the truncated and flawed legislative process has overstepped legitimate democratic debate, while simply racing to meet a provincial court deadline rather than taking the time to deliberate fully the implications of Bill C-7.”

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2021 offers Church many reasons to celebrate

Sun, 01/10/2021 - 11:25

By Agnieszka Ruck, The B.C. Catholic 

[Vancouver – Canadian Catholiic News] – If 2020 was the year of COVID, it looks like there’s a smorgasbord of options for defining 2021, including several of special appeal to Catholics.

Before the new year began, Pope Francis had already revealed his hopes for the Church in 2021 by calling for a Year of St. Joseph, running to Dec. 8, 2021, to draw the Church’s attention to St. Joseph’s “father’s heart.”

Pope Francis made the announcement exactly 150 years after Blessed Pius IX proclaimed St. Joseph the patron of the Catholic Church. He is also one of the patron saints of Canada.
“The greatness of Saint Joseph is that he was the spouse of Mary and the father of Jesus. In this way, he placed himself, in the words of Saint John Chrysostom, ‘at the service of the entire plan of salvation,’” Pope Francis wrote in an apostolic letter.

“In every situation, Joseph declared his own ‘fiat,’ like those of Mary at the Annunciation and Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane,”

Only 19 days later, Pope Francis proclaimed another anniversary would be commemorated with another special “year,” one dedicated to the family to mark the fifth anniversary of his apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia.

“This special year will be an opportunity to deepen further the content of the document Amoris laetitia,” the Holy Father said Dec. 27. “Let us entrust this journey, with families all over the world, to the Holy Family of Nazareth, in particular to St. Joseph, the devoted spouse and father.”

Amoris laetitia, “The Joy of Love,” was signed in 2016 and focuses on challenges to marriage and family life. The Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life said resources will be made available for families, parishes, dioceses, movements, and associations to “devote themselves enthusiastically to the pastoral care of the family by implementing Amoris laetitia.”

The Year of the Family will run March 19, 2021, to June 26, 2022. More details and resources are available at amorislaetitia.va.

The years of St. Joseph and the Family are not the only significant celebrations happening in the Church this year. In November, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Korea launched a jubilee year to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of St. Andrew Kim Tae-gon, the first Korean priest and a martyr.

The special years for St. Joseph and St. Andrew Kim both come with plenary indulgences attached to them.

In the case of St. Joseph, indulgences can be received under the usual conditions by faithful who meditate for at least 30 minutes on the Lord’s Prayer, take part in a spiritual retreat that includes a meditation on St. Joseph, or perform a spiritual or corporal work of mercy.

In the case of St. Andrew Kim, a plenary indulgence can be obtained by those who visit a designated sanctuary or shrine or meditating in reverence before a relic of the saint. In the Archdiocese of Vancouver, Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, has designated St. Andrew Kim Parish in Surrey as an appropriate sanctuary for celebrations, which run to Nov. 27, 2021.

Meanwhile, the Church in the Philippines is celebrating 500 years since Christianity was introduced to the nation in 1521.

Vatican News reported that Catholics in the Philippines have been preparing for the anniversary for nine years. Bishop Broderick Pabillo, auxiliary bishop of Manila, said the celebration “is not a reminder of how we were colonized, but of how Filipinos embraced Catholicism.” An estimated 80 per cent of Filipinos are Catholic.

Deacon Greg Barcelon, head of Filipino ministry in the Archdiocese of Vancouver, sees the anniversary as a cause for joy and said various celebrations are in the works.

“The reception of the faith from the colonizers who came to the Philippines in 1521 was not something that immediately brought anything really worthwhile for the locals. If at all, it was seen as an imposition of a foreign culture on the land,” he told The B.C. Catholic.

“Little did we know that wrapped within something that looked dark was the gift of faith the locals eventually embraced and passed on from one generation to the next.”

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Bishop Hagemoen will re-consecrate diocese to St. Joseph during special year

Fri, 01/08/2021 - 11:45

By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News

During this year of St. Joseph, declared by Pope Francis to mark the 150th Anniversary of the declaration of St. Joseph as the Patron of the Universal Church, Bishop Mark Hagemoen will re-consecrate the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon to St. Joseph during a special Mass Tuesday, Feb. 2 on the Feast of the Presentation / World Day of Consecrated Life.

Related: “St. Joseph serves as the model in a world in need of fathers”

In a letter to the faithful on the Memorial of St. André Bessette (who had a great devotion to St. Joseph), Bishop Mark Hagemoen  said: “Our diocese will join with other dioceses across Canada and in the church throughout the world to re-consecrate the Diocese of Saskatoon to St. Joseph. Please note that there will be a special liturgy of consecration on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord at a 7:00 p.m. livestreamed Mass on Tuesday, February 2, 2021, at Holy Family Cathedral.”

The live-stream video of this celebration will be posted at saskatoonmass.com as well as on the diocesan YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/saskatoondiocese

Prayer resources prepared by the Diocesan Liturgical Commission – PDF

 

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St. Joseph serves as the model in a world in need of fathers

Fri, 01/08/2021 - 11:38

By Michael Swan, The Catholic Register 

[Toronto – Canadian Catholic News] – For 65 years, Sr. Sue Mosteller has been a Sister of St. Joseph, but her relationship with St. Joseph himself reaches back even further.

As a 17-year-old boarding student at the congregation’s Toronto girls’ school (up from the United States, and an Anglican to boot), Mosteller and her sister were called into the office and given a piece of devastating news — far away in Ohio, their father had died.

“I remember, right away I went to the chapel and I sat in front of St. Joseph,” she told The Catholic Register. “And I said, ‘Could you help me? Maybe you could be a bit of a father to me, in a spiritual sense. Because now, I’m not sure how to go ahead.’ ”

Her life as a religious sister has constantly pointed Mosteller toward nurturing, protecting, helping and caring for others.

“I think Joseph is someone today who represents those energies in a very beautiful way,” she said. “I’m talking about the energies to give life, to love life, to care for life, to promote life, to support it — to encourage and to teach love and forgiveness and the kinds of things that call forth deep energies, because we don’t know how to do it very well.”

Inaugurated by Pope Francis on Dec. 8, we are now in the midst of a year dedicated to St. Joseph and heading toward his feast day March 19. In the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, Bishop Mark Hagemoen will re-consecrate the diocese to St. Joseph on the Feast of the Presentation Feb. 2, 2021.

Because he’s the patron saint of Canada, a Jubilee Year of St. Joseph is a chance for Canadians to remember who they really are, said Church historian Fr. Terry Faye of the Toronto School of Theology.

“He’s been a good person in our lives and in the life of Canada, leading us away from division and to toleration,” the Jesuit scholar said. “Which is the spirit of Jesus Christ — not division, not telling other people who they have to be or what they have to do, but encouraging them to follow the Gospel, to follow God in their lives.”

St. Joseph has been our patron saint since Canada was New France. The Recollect Franciscan missionaries first proposed St. Joseph as our patron in 1624. It was Pope Urban VIII who confirmed St. Joseph as a model for Canadians in 1637.

St. Joseph became the patron of the universal Church 150 years ago and Pope Francis grabbed hold of that anniversary on Dec. 8, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to issue an apostolic letter.

“Joseph found happiness not in mere self-sacrifice but in self-gift,” the Pope wrote.

“Our world today needs fathers. It has no use for tyrants who would domineer others as a means of compensating for their own needs. It rejects those who confuse authority with authoritarianism, service with servility, discussion with oppression, charity with a welfare mentality, power with destruction.”

Pope Francis proposes a different model of manhood.

“Today, in our world where psychological, verbal and physical violence towards women is so evident, Joseph appears as the figure of a respectful and sensitive man,” the Pope writes in Patris Corde (“The heart of a father”).

“What does it mean to be a man and confronting toxic masculinity?” asks feminist theologian Doris Kieser. The University of Alberta, St. Joseph’s College professor of moral theology and expert on the Blessed Virgin Mary looks to the Jubilee Year of St. Joseph with the same excitement she greeted the 2015-2016 Year of Mercy.

“I really believe that when the Pope draws attention to these things that it creates something new in us,” Kieser said. “I would love to see it manifest itself in a new commitment to the kind of Church that Pope Francis is calling us to be.”

Joseph is not a minor character in the life of Jesus as related in the Gospels, said St. Michael’s College New Testament scholar Callie Callon.

“Joseph is actually a pretty big mover in the story, particularly in the infancy narrative, but he still doesn’t get (to speak) a line,” she said.

St. Joseph’s silence in the Gospels makes space for Mary’s canticle and draws our attention away from words and towards what Mary’s husband actually does.

“There is this really neat immediacy between what Joseph is commanded to do and how he actually in turn does it,” Callon said.

Rather than talk, St. Joseph does. But what he does is no projection of his personal ambitions but perfect obedience to God. As a man, St. Joseph never seeks a triumph of the will. He seeks to serve.

Pope Francis, writing during the COVID-19 crisis, understands St. Joseph as a model of service, Kieser said.

“There’s a certain sense of a common humanity that he (Pope Francis) is calling forward that would disavow the notion of power and that cultural narcissism,” she said. “He’s calling us to conversion. Whether this succeeds will be a factor of how willing we are to relinquish the power that really is not ours. He says this many times over — the power is God’s.”

For Faye, the Pope’s call should bring Canadians back to traditional, Canadian values such as hard work, humility and hospitality.

“St. Joseph is part of that — being peaceful, not interfering but accepting a multicultural, multi-religious Canada… (St. Joseph) does not impose himself… That’s been a good thing for Canada.”

“Joseph set aside his own ideas in order to accept the course of events and, mysterious as they seemed, to embrace them, take responsibility for them and make them part of his own history,” Pope Francis wrote.

As the patron of workers whom St. Pope John Paul II called “Guardian of the Redeemer,” the spirit of St. Joseph burns particularly bright among front-line workers as they battle COVID-19, according to Pope Francis.

“Amid the crisis, how our lives are woven together and sustained by ordinary people, people often overlooked,” he wrote. “People who do not appear in newspaper and magazine headlines, or on the latest television show, yet in these very days are workers, cleaning personnel, caregivers, transport workers, men and women working to provide essential services and public safety, volunteers, priests, men and women religious and so very many others. They understood that no one is saved alone.”

“The devotion to St. Joseph is on a growth pattern,” said the rector of St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal, Fr. Michael DeLaney of the Congregation of the Holy Cross.
DeLaney sees COVID-19 throwing up icons of St. Joseph everywhere he looks.

“We have health-care workers, we have teachers, we have garbage collectors,” he said.

“We have house cleaners, working people, who have saved the day for us. They become this model of generosity and of selflessness and giving.”

“I would love to see the bishops make a commitment, as a group and as individuals, to take up the heart of St. Joseph in the way that Francis is outlining him in this document. That would give us a very different Church,” Kieser said.

Between Dec. 8, 2020 and Dec. 8, 2021 a plenary indulgence (remission of all temporal punishment for sin, either for oneself or for a soul in purgatory) is available to anyone who prays and contemplates on the life of St. Joseph, goes to confession, receives communion and prays for the Pope’s intentions. For a special indulgence, Pope Francis has particularly urged praying for the unemployed, offering the corporal works of mercy to the vulnerable and those suffering, entrusting one’s everyday work to St. Joseph and meditating 30 minutes on the Lord’s Prayer.

For Mosteller, the Year of St. Joseph is about welcoming the goodness of the master carpenter into her life.

“I want to be connected. I want it to be a relationship,” she said. “There was something in him. He had trust in himself or something. He was a man who was whole.”

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Contemplative approach for Week of Prayer recalls early Christian unity

Fri, 01/08/2021 - 11:21

By Michael Swan, The Catholic Register 

[Toronto – Canadian Catholic News] – For anyone who has ever thought they might have been happier as a monk or a nun, living the contemplative life, this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is your chance to try it out.

An ecumenical community of religious women in Switzerland organized and wrote this year’s prayers and study materials for the annual, week-long celebration of ecumenical unity (available at weekofprayer.ca), which is observed Jan. 18-25.

That contemplative approach to Christian unity is perfect for our uneasy times, said Canadian Council of Churches program co-ordinator Maria Simakova.

“Our own groundedness in God, our own silence, allows us to look outwards and seek unity in the Christian family,” Simakova said.

Virtual Bible Study offered online during Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2021: Details

Saskatoon Bishop Mark Hagemoen: Message for Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2021

“Contemplative life is actually part of Christian life,” explained Fr. Luis Melo, Archdiocese of Toronto director of the Office for Promoting Christian Unity and Religious Relations with Judaism.

For Melo, the Week of Prayer is all about restoring the unity Christ gave and the Church lived in its earliest days. Contemplative life connects us back to that early Church experience of unity, he said.

“The experience of monasticism goes back to the first millennium of the Church. We would say it was a time of greater unity,” he said.

Inspired by the Monastic Community of Grandchamp, Toronto’s main, online celebration of Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, hosted by the Salvation Army on Jan. 24, will feature contributions from two communities of women — the Anglican Sisterhood of St. John the Divine and the Catholic Sisters of Life.

The spirituality of the Grandchamp community, which began with a group of Reformed, Protestant women before the Second World War, is part of a movement in monastic life that includes Taizé in France and Bose in Italy. They all have connections to the theologian, writer and contemplative L’Abbe Paul Irénée Couturier.

Couturier imagined “an ever increasing multitude of Christians of every denomination were to form an immense network encircling the Earth, like a vast invisible monastery in which all were caught up in Christ’s prayer for unity.”

For Grandchamp founder Mother Geneviève Micheli, this “invisible monastery” wasn’t a pipe dream — it was a vital and urgent necessity.

“We Christians, who know the full value of a spiritual life, have an immense responsibility and must realize it, unite and help each other create forces of calmness, refuges of peace, vital centres where the silence of people calls on the creative word of God. It is a question of life and death,” she wrote in 1938.

For Melo, the Grandchamp connection is personal. As a former Vatican official working in the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Melo has been on retreat at Grandchamp and has appreciated its work for unity through the years.

“So this is a very contemplative service,” Melo said of this year’s main liturgy. “It would have been very beautiful to celebrate it communally.”

People forget that St. Pope John Paul II used to call “spiritual ecumenism” the heart of the ecumenical movement, said Archdiocese of Regina ecumenical officer Nick Jesson.
“Ecumenism is sometimes misunderstood as a process of negotiation, or a whittling down of the Church’s teaching,” Jesson said.

Rather than parsing agreements and dissecting theologies, ecumenism begins with prayer.

“The prayer for unity, that is at the heart of the eucharistic prayer but also at the heart of so much of the prayer life of all of the Christian traditions,” said Jesson.

Unity is actually the vocation of the Church and everyone in it. That vocational sense is hammered home by the Grandchamp community’s choice of John 15:1-17 as the key Gospel passage for this year’s celebrations, said Jesson.

“I am the vine, you are the branches,” Jesus tells His disciples. “Those who abide in Me and I in them bear much fruit.”

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has long been important to a faithful minority, but Simakova hopes it may reach more people with its online efforts in this COVID-19 era.

“As difficult as it is to organize online things, I’m hearing that a lot of people are doing Bible studies together and a whole cycle of prayer services, where once they would have done just one big worship service. Now they’re doing something smaller but actually extending it across eight days, as it is meant to be celebrated.”

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100 Words – Baptism of the Lord: “Essential Ingredient”

Wed, 01/06/2021 - 10:45

By Peter Oliver, Olive Branch Marriage and Family Ministry

“You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:11)

We are made for love.  Every aspect of our humanity – our bodies, our hearts, our brains, our souls – everything about us, is designed for love. Without love we wither and die.  That’s not an exaggeration.

We require committed, I-will-love-you-forever, relationships with friends, parents, spouses, and kin. It’s essential for life.

But there’s a dilemma: human love is incomplete (sometimes downright destructive) and God’s love is largely communicated through incomplete people.

What’s the answer? There isn’t one – not a made of words answer. But there’s a response. Hold this close to your heart: “I’m beloved just as Jesus is beloved.”

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Information about weekly program beginning Jan. 13:  RESTART – Building Separation and Divorce Resilience

[This is a weekly blog re-published from www.olivebranchministry.ca with permission from author Peter Oliver. Each post is exactly 100 words.]

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Five years in, reconciliation moves slowly

Wed, 12/30/2020 - 08:25
Still “a long way to go” to implement TRC Calls to Action

By Wendy-Ann Clarke, The Catholic Register

[Canadian Catholic News] – Five years after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) issued its final report, there is agreement that strides have been made in the journey towards healing with Canada’s Indigenous peoples. Church officials and Indigenous leaders recognize there is still some way to go.

Released in 2015, the TRC report included 94 Calls to Action to achieve true reconciliation, including two — Calls to Action 48 and 49 — aimed directly at church parties to the 2006 Indian Residential Schools Agreement. These call for churches to adopt and comply with the principles of UNDRIP (the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples) as a framework for reconciliation, and calls on religious denominations and faith groups to repudiate concepts used to justify sovereignty over Indigenous peoples and their lands.

In 2016, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) released a document outlining the Catholic commitment to UNDRIP, and earlier this month the federal government of Canada followed through with legislation to implement the declaration. But the work has just begun.

“We still have a long way to go because we’re a society still marked by injustice in so many ways,” said Regina Archbishop Donald Bolen. “In societal indicators of wellbeing, such as employment rates, suicide rates, access to health, access to good drinking water, access to education, incarceration rates and poverty rates, in almost every area Indigenous people in Canada are on the losing end.

“That just points to a systematic injustice and embedded racism and the need to be very proactive (as the Church) in accompanying Indigenous people in their struggle for justice.”

While Bolen says the TRC has been effective in moving the conversation around reconciliation to the forefront in the Church, he adds that the document serves as a reference point as the Church works to support and uphold the dignity of Indigenous people in any way needed, whether directly outlined in the TRC or not.

A large part of that, Bolen says, comes from listening to Indigenous voices and honouring their valuable contributions to Canadian society now and going into the future.

“I think recent teachings of Pope Francis, especially on the environment, highlight the wisdom that we need to learn in order to go forward,” said Bolen. “Often that wisdom is very well articulated in Indigenous traditions, understanding of the land, understanding of creation and our relationship with other creatures.

“I always find it beautiful to hear an Indigenous prayer, which acknowledges the two legs and the four legs, the swimmers and the winged ones. It speaks so beautifully of other creatures and our relationship with the rest of creation.”

Bolen has made reconciliation a priority in Regina, establishing the Archdiocesan Commission for Truth and Reconciliation. In the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, a Diocesan Commission for Truth and Reconciliation (DCTR) was established as a follow-up commitment made during the TRC national event held in that city in June 2012.

“The group’s mandate is to provide a forum for listening and sharing, through stories and prayer; to collaborate with the diocese toward building and strengthening relationships; and to support healing from the Indian Residential School experience,” says the mission statement of the DCTR established in the diocese of Saskatoon. “Our goal is to raise awareness throughout the diocese about injustice issues, and barriers to reconciliation, and to discern a way to walk together on a path of understanding, education and action, fostering relationships in light of the gospel.”

National TRC Commissioners Senator Murray Sinclair, Dr. Marie Wilson, and Chief Wilton Littlechild (l-r) during the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission event held in Saskatoon in June 2012. (File photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)

Overall, the pace of moving forward has been glacial. Truth and Reconciliation commissioners Senator Murray Sinclair, Chief Wilton Littlechild and Dr. Marie Wilson expressed concerns in a Dec. 15 statement, saying there has been a “slow and uneven pace of implementation of the Calls to Action.”

Graydon Nicholas, newly appointed Chancellor of St. Thomas University in Fredericton, N.B., agrees.

“There have been some accomplishments that have been made when it comes to child welfare, the issue of languages and the fact that there was an actual inquiry launched on murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls,” said Nicholas, who was born into a Maliseet family on New Brunswick’s Tobique First Nation and is also Chair of Native Studies at St. Thomas. “But there are also other things that need to be considered very soon if the (TRC report) is going to have any momentum into the future.”

One of the major areas of concern has been lack of progress by the federal government on Call to Action 53, to establish a National Council for Reconciliation to assess and promote reconciliation efforts. When Nicholas first read the TRC document in 2015 he recognized this point as an important pillar in ensuring the Canadian government is held accountable to fulfill all TRC commitments. It took two years for an interim board to be appointed to create a report to examine what could be done in regards to this. The report was filed in 2018.

“Unfortunately, it’s been sitting I guess in the ministry office or whoever’s responsible since that time and nothing has been done about it,” said Nicholas. “I think to me, that’s one of the major disappointments, because (the National Council for Reconciliation) is what we need structurally to make sure that things happen.”

Archbishop Bolen has served in both the Saskatoon and Regina dioceses in his home province of Saskatchewan where there are large Indigenous populations within each diocese — both First Nations and Métis peoples. He describes the relationships he has built with the Indigenous communities as “life giving.”

Looking at the bigger picture of reconciliation beyond the TRC, Bolen says he is committed to working side by side with Indigenous communities to achieve the healing and progress necessary as a diverse Church community.

“I have really learned so much and benefited so much setting up structures to grow those relationships and deepen that spirit of walking together, that reflects the TRC,” said Bolen, who also serves as part of the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB).

“As a Church, we’re not taking our starting point from the TRC but from the challenges faced by Indigenous people today and a desire to want to work together.”

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100 Words – Epiphany: “Willingness”

Wed, 12/30/2020 - 07:31

By Peter Oliver, Olive Branch Marriage and Family Ministry

… in the days of King Herod,  behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” (Matt 2:1-2)

God puts stars in our lives – acts of kindness, insights, moment of faith, examples of courage.  God also put a star in the lives of the Magi and it awakened something called willingness.

Willingness (releasing the grip on my plans in favor of God’s) is difficult but star-following, epiphany-seeking, get-my-life-together people must become willing.

What makes willingness hard? What makes it possible?

Consider the kings the wise men encounter.  The first is Herod, a conniving man, filled with fear and a desire to control.  The second is Jesus, a child utterly vulnerable and dependent – the very incarnation of willingness.

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[This is a weekly blog re-published from www.olivebranchministry.ca with permission from author Peter Oliver. Each post is exactly 100 words.]

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Bishop Hagemoen blesses new Catholic health facility: the Hospice at Glengarda

Thu, 12/24/2020 - 12:46

By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News

In a small and quiet celebration, the new stand-alone residential Hospice at Glengarda in Saskatoon was blessed by Bishop Mark Hagemoen.

The new hospice – located at Hilliard Street and Melrose Avenue in a former Ursuline Sisters’ residence in southeast Saskatoon – is scheduled to begin accepting patients in the New Year.

Because of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, only seven people gathered Dec. 23, 2020 for the blessing celebration.

Bette Boechler, MC for the Dec. 23 event and Executive Director of Samaritan Place and of the new Hospice at Glengarda, noted that the limited celebration is not what would have been envisioned months ago.

However, in some ways, the pandemic makes the launch of the new building even more meaningful, she said. “It really makes me think about the privilege we have in looking after people at the end of life – it is totally a gift,” Boechler said.

Bishop Mark Hagemoen blessed the new Hospice at Glengarda in a quiet celebration Dec. 23, 2020, as Francis Maza of Emmanuel Care (left) and hospice Executive Director Bette Boechler look on. (Photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)

Bishop Mark Hagemoen also noted that blessing the hospice in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic is particularly poignant. “This is a wonderful day,” he affirmed. “In a time of pandemic, we need healing and hope. We pray in a very special way for the caregivers, here and beyond, who make it possible for us to move forward.”

Bishop Hagemoen also reflected on the history of Catholic health care. “Education and health care has long been a part of the Catholic identity and mission … for decades and indeed for centuries.”

In particular, the bishop noted the contributions of women religious orders, including the Ursulines of Prelate, whose Glengarda residence in Saskatoon has been renovated and transformed into the new 15-bed stand-alone residential hospice, with funds raised through a “Close to Home” campaign by the St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation.

“I not only congratulate Emmanuel Health in partnership with the Sisters for this launching, but I am also very thankful to almighty God that the identity and mission of this Catholic health care institution –which is open and outreaching to all of God’s people, in the city of Saskatoon and beyond – will continue,” Hagemoen said.

Related article: “Close To Home fund-raising campaign completed for new Saskatoon hospice”

Related article: “Former Ursuline residence converted to hospice”

During his prayer of blessing, the bishop said: “From the beginning of the Church, the service and care of the poor, the hungry, the sick and the dying has been a mark of the Christian in the world. And today, with the building of this hospice, we continue to fulfill that spiritual and social responsibility, which the Gospel calls us all to live.”

Bishop Mark Hagemoen blesses a crucifix during the blessing ceremony held Dec. 23 for the new Hospice at Glengarda Catholic health facility. Bishop Mark Hagemoen prays during a blessing celebration Dec. 23 for the new Hospice at Glengarda Catholic health facility. (Photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)

The bishop added: “Catholic tradition faces the reality of suffering and death with the confidence of faith and the assurance of hope and blessing … Suffering and death are not a final end, but rather a journey, a passage transformed by the promise of life everlasting in the Resurrection.”

All those involved in the new Hospice at Glengarda are called “to journey with the dying person and their families, with care and compassion, comfort and hope,” he said. “We care for people in such a way that they find strength and comfort in knowing God’s abiding love for them.”

The new hospice “stands as a testament to our commitment to continue the healing ministry of Jesus in our city,” Bishop Hagemoen said.

Speaking on behalf of all the Catholic bishops of Saskatchewan, Hagemoen thanked all those involved in the project, including the many partner organizations and the many who donated to the “Close to Home” campaign.

Blessing a small container of holy water, Bishop Hagemoen prayed that the hospice will be a place “filled with the goodness and blessing of God,” where all are welcome and accepted. He then blessed different spots in the building, including a common area and a patient’s room, as well as a crucifix that he then placed it on the wall.

Bishop Mark Hagemoen places a newly-blessed crucifix in one of the patient rooms during the blessing ceremony for the Hospice at Glengarda in Saskatoon Dec. 23, 2020. (Photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)

Bishop Mark Hagemoen prays before a newly-blessed crucifix in a patient room. (Photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)

After the blessing, Sr. Anne Lewans, General Superior of the Ursulines of Prelate, spoke about the history of the Glengarda residence, including the origin of the building’s name: Garda is a lake in Italy near where St. Angela Merici, founder of the Ursuline order, was born.

Lewans described the arrival of the Ursulines of Prelate in Saskatchewan more than a century ago, and their decades of service in education, pastoral ministry and health over the decades.

Sr. Anne Lewans, OSU, of the Ursulines of Prelate, speaking during the blessing celebration for the Hospice at Glengarda held Dec. 23, 2020. Bishop Mark Hagemoen prays during a blessing celebration Dec. 23 for the new Hospice at Glengarda Catholic health facility. (Photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)

Invited to Saskatoon in 1953 to teach at St. Frances Cabrini school, the Ursulines of Prelate eventually moved into the Glengarda residence, which was constructed in 1959. Sr. Lewans described the many ministries and ways in which the sisters lived out their motto of “Educating for Life,” serving as “witnesses to the joy of a prayerful, simple Christian life” and striving to live the baptismal call “with fidelity and with openness to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.”

“We are thrilled that our home is now becoming the home of another ministry that is responding to another need in our community,” said Sr. Lewans. “We see the Hospice at Glengarda as a continuation of our mission, and so those who make their home here, and those who care for them, will always be in our prayers.”

Sr. Anne Lewans, OSU, General Superior of the Ursulines of Prelate, stands in front of the newly-completed hospice, located in the Sisters’ former Glengarda residence in southeast Saskatoon. (Photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)

Darryl Bazylak, Chair of the Board of Directors of Emmanuel Health, acknowledged that the new building stands on Treaty 6 territory and the traditional homeland of the Métis. He also acknowledged the history of Catholic health care in Saskatoon, which included the establishment of St. Paul’s Hospital after Grey Nuns of Montreal happened to stop in Saskatoon during an epidemic, and responded by providing their nursing ministry.

Bazylak pointed out ways in which St. Paul’s Hospital has been a leader in areas such as dialysis, kidney transplants, and palliative care, including lobbying and working to establish the residential Hospice at Glengarda to answer another unmet need.

“The ongoing success of Catholic health care is achieved through ongoing collaboration with our health care partners,” Bazylak stressed, thanking all the partners involved in the project, including the Saskatchewan Health Authority and a range of Catholic organizations, including the Ursulines of Prelate, the St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation (which raised 100 per cent of the capital costs of the new building), and Samaritan Place, which will be responsible for the ongoing operation of the hospice with operational funding from the Saskatchewan Health Authority.

A donor wall at the entrance of the new Hospice at Glengarda. Capital costs for the building were covered by donations to the Close to Home campaign conducted by the St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation. (Photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)

Francis Maza, Executive Lead of Mission, Ethics and Spirituality for Emmanuel Care also spoke, bringing a message from Mary Donlevy-Konkin, board member of Emmanuel Care and vice-chair of Emmanuel Health.

“Emmanuel Care is accountable to the Church and to ensure that our Cahtolic institutions are not just a visible expression of compassion and healing in a community, but also that the services offered in each facility bear witness to the Good News of the Gospel and are congruent with our mission,” he said, reading Donlevy-Konkin’s message.

“That mission is measured both by the quality of care and the compassionate attitude and approach with which it is provided.”

Bishop Mark Hagemoen blesses a crucifix during the blessing celebration for the Hospice at Glengarda. (Photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)

Executive Director Bette Boechler (left) describes some of the patient amenities of the Hospice at Glengarda to those who attended the blessing ceremony Dec. 23. (Photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)

Touring the newly-completed facility. (Photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)

 

Video highlights:

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