Cathedral Photo
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.

Front Page Diocese of Saskatoon Web Site

Syndicate content
Updated: 2 years 1 week ago

Governments pledge to end human trafficking

Tue, 02/23/2021 - 12:04
Pope Francis calls human trafficking “crime against humanity”

By Bryan Dryden, Canadian Catholic News

[Ottawa – CCN] – Ontario’s government used the newly declared National Human Trafficking Awareness Day Feb. 22 to unveil major new funding and two new pieces of legislation as part of the province’s anti-human trafficking strategy, as governments in Canada continue to take action against something that Pope Francis has called “a crime against humanity.”

“Our government is taking deliberate steps to put an end to human trafficking and protect victims and potential victims of this terrible crime,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said in a media statement.

“This tough new legislation builds on our Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy we introduced nearly a year ago, giving law enforcement additional tools to help prevent and deter human trafficking,” he said of new legislation that was announced on Feb. 22.

The federal government also has a National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking that brings together federal efforts and is supported by an investment of $57.22 million over five years and $10.28 million in ongoing funding.

On Feb. 18, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair announced in Halifax close to $55,000 for Saint Mary’s University for its Community Hackathon: Addressing Human Trafficking in Atlantic Canada project. That two-day virtual event brought together post-secondary students from across Atlantic Canada, service providers, and law enforcement to examine ways that technology can be used to raise awareness about human trafficking.

For a month following the hackathon, participants will continue to receive mentorship and training from Saint Mary’s University to further develop their ideas and learn how they may be applied in practice.

The federal government has also launched a national anti-human trafficking campaign to raise awareness among youth and parents about warning signs and how to report suspected cases of human trafficking to the appropriate authorities.

“Through projects like this one, we are working together to build a safer and more resilient Canada, where all people are protected from human trafficking and its harms,” Blair said of the funding announcement in Halifax.

The Catholic Church observes an International Day of Prayer Against Human Trafficking on Feb. 8 and this year on that date, Pope Francis released a video marking the 7th International Day of Prayer and Reflection against Trafficking in Persons.

Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey said one of the goals of Ontario’s new legislation is to target those who prey on the young and vulnerable.

“We are proposing legislative reforms to better protect victims and support them in their efforts to obtain restraining orders against traffickers,” he said.

“Human trafficking is happening in both urban centres and small communities across Ontario,” said Jill Dunlop, associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues. “This proposed legislation further supports our cross-government approach, as well as our work with partners across jurisdictions and various sectors, to combat human trafficking. This includes providing tools to improve the ability to identify and appropriately respond to suspected instances and connect survivors to supportive services.”

-30-

The post Governments pledge to end human trafficking appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

Canadian MPs support religious freedom motion that tags China with “genocide” label

Tue, 02/23/2021 - 10:45

By Brian Dryden,.Canadian Catholic News

[Ottawa – CCN] – Every federal party leader in the House of Commons except the prime minister has voted to condemn the Chinese government for engaging in genocide against some religious minorities in that country.

Canadian MPs overwhelmingly supported a motion in the House of Commons on Feb. 22 to protect religious freedom in China put forward by Conservative MP Michael Chong that calls Chinese government actions against that country’s Uyghurs and Turkic Muslims to be an act of genocide.

MPs from all parties in the House of Commons, including all Liberal MPs who voted, supported the motion that said “in the opinion of the House, the People’s Republic of China has engaged in actions consistent with the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 260, commonly known as the ‘Genocide Convention’, including detention camps and measures intended to prevent births as it pertains to Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims.” The vote was recorded as 266-0. There are 338 MPs, but not all MPs voted.

But while some MPs of the governing Liberal Party supported calling what is going on in China “genocide,” neither Prime Minister Justin Trudeau nor members of the federal Liberal government’s cabinet voted on the motion.

Conservative Opposition Party Leader Erin O’Toole said the failure of the prime minister and all members of cabinet to vote means that the Liberal government is not willing to stand up for human rights.

This is not the first time that Canada’s parliamentarians have called what is going on in China “genocide” nor is it the first time some Liberals have been more outspoken on the issue than members of the cabinet and the prime minister’s office.

Last fall, religious and human rights groups applauded when the federal Foreign Affairs and International Development subcommittee on International Human Rights issued a unanimous report in October 2020 that said the actions of the Chinese government constitutes a genocide of the Muslim minority in the Xinjiang region of the country.

Concerns over religious freedom in China go beyond just what is happening to Uyghurs and Turkic Muslims, but also there are concerns over repression of Christian and other faith communities.

According to a 2020 report of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, “religious freedom conditions in China continue to deteriorate.”

“The communist Chinese government has created a high-tech surveillance state, utilizing facial recognition and artificial intelligence to monitor and harass Christians, Tibetan Buddhists, Falon Gong and other religions. Independent experts estimate that between 900,000 and 1.8 million Uighur, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, and other Muslims have been detained in more than 1,300 concentration camps in Xinjiang,” the American religious freedom report stated.

“Without doubt, across the board, we are witnessing the worst assault on human rights in China since the Tiananmen massacre of 1989, and the most severe crackdown on religious freedom in China since the Cultural Revolution,” said Benedict Rogers, co-founder and chief executive of Hong Kong Watch and a member of the advisory group for the Stop Uyghur Genocide Campaign.

Rogers made the comment during a Cardus Religious Freedom Institute online seminar held a week after that federal parliamentary committee labeled what is happening in China as “genocide.”

At the time, Canada’s former ambassador to China David Mulroney said Canada must not be afraid to speak out in support of religious freedom in China.

“Canada has been less than resolute when it comes to speaking up about religious persecution in China,” Mulroney said. “The silent treatment never works with the Chinese Communist Party.”

As well, the former Ambassador for Religious Freedom of the short-lived Canadian Office of Religious Freedom also said Canadians worried about human rights issues must speak out about China’s “textbook” example of how to eliminate religious freedom.

“We need to speak about Christians being persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party,” said Rev. Dr. Andrew Bennett, director of the Cardus Religious Freedom Institute. “This is a largely untold story in North American media. It merits greater attention.”

All Canadians who care about human rights must be willing to speak out in favour of religious freedom, said Bennett.

 

-30-

The post Canadian MPs support religious freedom motion that tags China with “genocide” label appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

Diocesan coordinator provides hospital chaplaincy at two city hospitals

Tue, 02/23/2021 - 09:59

By Jacqueline Saretsky, Hospital Chaplaincy

[This article is part of a “Fuel-Up Friday” series in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon]

My name is Jacqueline Saretsky and I have been employed as the Hospital Chaplain for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon for five years.

I have one son Luke, who is married to Gina; they have a son Julian Emmanuel, who is 1 ½ years old and the joy of my life. I recently sold my house and moved into a townhome. This allows me more time to spend with family, friends and personal interests, such as traveling to a different place in Saskatchewan each summer.

As the hospital chaplain, 50% of my time is spent at Saskatoon City Hospital and Royal University Hospital, visiting patients. The other 50% of my time is working with volunteers, administration and education.

During the pandemic, the hospital chaplaincy volunteers have been temporarily cancelled, leaving Fr. Emmanuel Mbah and myself to visit as many patients as possible in hospital.

I am thankful for our presence in the hospitals throughout this pandemic. Many patients are in isolation due to a positive COVID test and other flu viruses. During this time, visiting in hospital for family members is with permission only and for one hour per day. This puts a great responsibility on hospital chaplaincy to attempt to fill the void, as there are so many needing support. The Saskatoon Health Authority has recognized hospital chaplains as part of the care team, which allows us to freely enter the hospitals to visit patients.

Since the fall of 2017, I have been working on teaching good end of life and palliative care through a workshop called Dying Healed, which the diocese of Saskatoon has purchased from Life Canada. I have been teaching this workshop in many locations in the diocese of Saskatoon, the diocese of Prince Albert, as well as in The Pas, Manitoba.

During the pandemic, I have moved from delivering an in-person day-long workshop, to an online workshop on the Zoom platform.

These workshops, including those adapted to online, have been very successful. Promoting palliative care, and educating others about good care that is available, is an opportunity for me to teach that there is another way for people to experience end of life. Euthanasia is not the answer.

I am available to do a workshop in your area: call 306-292-5531, or email jsaretsky@rcdos.ca

-30-

The post Diocesan coordinator provides hospital chaplaincy at two city hospitals appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

100 Words – Second Sunday of Lent – “Catching Faith < 1 minute"

Tue, 02/23/2021 - 07:05

Catching Faith < 1 min

By Peter Oliver, Olive Branch Marriage and Family Ministry

Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. –  Mark 9:2-3

Leonard Cohen’s, Hallelujah, has a catchy line:  “Well it goes like this the fourth, the fifth / The minor fall and the major lift.”

Mark’s gospel has a catchy line too:  Crucifixion’s a comin, Crucifixion’s a comin, Crucifixion’s a comin.

In-between: A transfiguration and Bless the children.

We also live musical lines: A painful revelation, Your will be done, Let go of self.

In-between: Forgiveness and Eucharistic friendship.

Jesus’ passion and transfiguration aren’t “theological things”, “catechetical reductions.” They’re not head-things.

They’re parts of our redemption song!

“Separation and divorce and remarriage” are also part of the Church’s redemption song.

Let’s listen.

-30-

New Program Discernment Mediation – helping you talk

ReStart – Building Separation & Divorce Resilience (click ReStart for more information)

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

 

The post 100 Words – Second Sunday of Lent – “Catching Faith < 1 minute" appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

Push on to pray one million rosaries for peace

Mon, 02/22/2021 - 14:45
“We can’t be indifferent to the hate going on in the world.”

By Quinton Amundson, The Catholic Register

[TORONTO – Canadian Catholic News] – A team of more than 20 young Catholic ambassadors is working feverishly to rouse believers of Christ young and old across the world to participate in a global mission to pray the Hail Mary one million times by Easter Sunday.

The Misión Rosario (Mission Rosary) campaign launched on Dec 8, the feast day of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, and will conclude April 4.

As of Feb. 21, some  611,000 completed rosaries have been tabulated on the misionrosario.com live tracker.

Chileans are currently the leading nation of this campaign as some 179,800 from that nation have prayed the rosary and added it to the tally to date. Mexico and Puerto Rico round out the top three with totals of 57,510 and 52,929 respectively.

Ana Rivera, a 24-year-old from Hamilton, ON, is the Canadian ambassador for this worldwide endeavour. The psychology major at McMaster University has thus far rallied Canadians to contribute 4,252 prayed rosaries to Misión Rosario 2021. She is striving for a Canadian target of 10,000 by the campaign’s end.

“We want to attain as much reach as possible. I’ve contacted bishops, parishes, youth groups, campuses and newspapers to try and get the word out,” said Rivera.

This hustle, while demanding, is a worthwhile enterprise for Rivera to pursue because she values this one million rosary campaign as a global prayer for “peace and freedom in the Americas.”

“I think it was around when the Black Lives Matter movement broke out (in the summer),” said Rivera. “This is when we saw a lot of hate going on, not even with the cause, but we saw people go into stores and committing vandalism. We also saw people in other countries echo the example of Americans by committing acts of violence and vandalism against the Church.”

Rivera says her involvement in this effort is “God sent” as she randomly came across a Catholic Instagram account called “la puerta de los vecinos,” Spanish for “The Neighbour’s Door.” She increasingly became involved in the prayer groups and liturgy hours orchestrated by the account.

One of the Chilean members of a Zoom prayer group Rivera participated in, Chiara Barchiesi, proposed the notion of a rosary campaign.

“She was like, ‘what can we do as Catholics. We can’t be indifferent,’” recalled Rivera. “She remembered the apparitions from Mary who encouraged all of us to pray the rosary every day if we want world peace.”

Lent, which launched on Ash Wednesday, represents an ideal season to incorporate 30 minutes of rosary into your daily routine, said Rivera.

“It is not easy to pray the rosary every day because it is a commitment, but I do think since there is already a mission going on, why not join in? Don’t make it just a Lenten promise, but make it a yearly promise to put some time aside to pray the rosary.

Rivera says that praying the rosary communally helps heighten the impact of offering these prayers to Heaven.  Upon completing a rosary, people are invited to log it into the tracker at missionrosario.com/us.

How to pray the rosary pamphlet from Knights of Columbus – LINK

-30-

The post Push on to pray one million rosaries for peace appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

Salt + Light Media brings liturgy to children with online “Yes Lord” program

Mon, 02/22/2021 - 14:32

By Michael Swan, The Catholic Register

[TORONTO – Canadian Catholic News] – If going to Sunday morning Mass seems tantalizingly near and yet far during COVID-19 restrictions, as you watch your parish struggle to produce a weekly liturgy on Facebook or YouTube, imagine what it has been like for kids to be told to sit quietly and watch a TV Mass.

Salt and Light Media Foundation wants to rescue kids from those painful Sunday mornings, and they’ve enlisted a musical family of nine kids, plus mom and dad, to put something a little more dynamic on the screen. Yes, Lord is a liturgy of the word designed for kids. It is broadcasting on weekends throughout Lent on Salt + Light TV, its website (slmedia.org) and the Salt and Light Media YouTube channel.

“Had there not been COVID, this project would not have happened,” said Yes, Lord producer Deacon Pedro Guevara-Mann.

It began with a letter from eight-year-old Joe, who complained of how boring Mass on TV was for him and wondered why something couldn’t be done specifically for children. That sounded perfectly sensible to Guevara-Mann, except that it would need to be musical, it would need multiple contributors and if it’s for children it would have to have children in it. Gathering that many people together, along with a camera, sound and lighting crew, seemed unwise while everyone is still locked down.
But what if the cast of characters were all from one family?

As it happens, Alex and Miriam Duketow of Lakefield, Ont., have nine kids, four to 19 years. And they all sing, dance and play instruments.

“The musicians are all the kids. They have piano, bass, violin, tin whistle. It’s all kids playing and Dad playing the guitar,” said Guevara-Mann.

Alex Duketow wrote the theme song and seven more singable pieces for the show. A few more songs often included in children’s liturgies will be familiar to many families.

Animated characters and the words of readings and songs scrolling across the screen make it easy for kids to follow along, sing along and practice their reading. The first reading and Gospel each week are taken from the Sunday Mass, so that kids are praying along with the whole Church. But by making it a liturgy of the word, the 20-minute show is free to tailor its prayers and activities to the target audience of five- to 10-year-olds.

“We have so much richness in our tradition in terms of prayer, but people think that all we can do as Catholics is Mass,” said Guevara-Mann.

The Lenten programs will function as a sort of pilot for something that could eventually span the full three-year cycle of Sunday Mass readings.

The Lenten Yes, Lord pilot will build toward Palm Sunday, beginning with broadcasts the weekend of Feb. 19 (for the First Sunday of Lent). Kids who follow along throughout Lent will be ready, from Palm Sunday through to Easter Sunday, to participate fully in Holy Week.

“Hopefully, by then they will be able to go to Mass,” Guevara-Mann said.

“Every week follows up on what we did the week before. Every week there’s an activity. The activities build on each other until we get to Palm Sunday.”

The first broadcast each weekend is Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. Guevara-Mann also hopes teachers take note. “They could actually use it in the classroom,” he said.

-30-

The post Salt + Light Media brings liturgy to children with online “Yes Lord” program appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

Pope Francis accepts Cardinal Robert Sarah’s resignation from divine worship congregation

Mon, 02/22/2021 - 12:11

By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency

[Vatican City – CNA] – Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Robert Sarah as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

Cardinal Sarah, who turned 75 in June 2020, was the most senior African prelate at the Vatican, appointed head of the liturgy department by Pope Francis in November 2014. He had previously served as the president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum and as secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

The Guinean cardinal has written a trilogy of books read widely throughout the Catholic world: “God or Nothing” (2015), “The Power of Silence” (2016), and “The Day Is Now Far Spent” (2019).Sarah said in a Tweet Feb. 20 that Pope Francis had accepted his resignation after his 75th birthday.

“I am in God’s hands. The only rock is Christ. We will meet again very soon in Rome and elsewhere,” he wrote on Twitter.

During his tenure at the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Cardinal Sarah built a reputation for outspoken commentary on the Church and the world.

In 2016, he encouraged priests to celebrate Mass facing east, prompting a Vatican spokesman to say that his words had been “misinterpreted.”

During the first Synod on the Family in 2014, Cardinal Sarah opposed what he said were efforts by the media “to push the Church [to change] her doctrine” on homosexual unions.

At the 2015 family synod he said threats to the institution of marriage and the family claiming “what Nazi fascism and communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today.”

Cardinal Sarah was considered papabile, or a candidate for the papacy, in the 2013 conclave which elected Pope Francis.

Born in 1945 in French Guinea, Sarah was ordained a priest in 1969 for the Diocese of Conakry, after periods of study in Ivory Coast, Guinea, France, Senegal, Rome, and Jerusalem.

Sarah was appointed archbishop of Conakry in 1979, at the age of 34, a position he held until 2001, including during the dictatorship of Ahmed Sékou Touré.

Sarah has been praised for his resistance to Sékou Touré’s Marxist dictatorship, and for maintaining the unity of the Church as an independent institution as Catholic clergy and laity were persecuted.

In 2001, Pope John Paul II brought Sarah to the Vatican when he named him secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

He was appointed president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum in October 2010, and one month later he was elevated to cardinal.

Sarah was named prefect of the Divine Worship congregation in 2014.

During the coronavirus pandemic in April 2020, Sarah said in an interview with the French magazine Valeurs actuellesthat the sick and dying cannot be denied the sacramental assistance of a priest.

He said: “Priests must do everything they can to remain close to the faithful. They must do everything in their power to assist the dying, without complicating the task of the caretakers and the civil authorities.”

“But no one,” he continued, “has the right to deprive a sick or dying person of the spiritual assistance of a priest. It is an absolute and inalienable right.”

-30-

 

 

The post Pope Francis accepts Cardinal Robert Sarah’s resignation from divine worship congregation appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

Senate changes to Bill-C-7 would expand assisted suicide/euthanasia even farther

Fri, 02/19/2021 - 15:42

By Bryan Dryden, Canadian Catholic News

The Canadian Senate has voted to open access to assisted suicide even further than what the federal government is proposing.

The Senate passed amendments to Bill C-7 on Feb. 17, 2021 that significantly change the bill and which go well beyond what the House of Commons actually agreed to back in December.

The Senate’s revised version of the bill, passed by a vote of 66-19, expands access to so-called “medical assistance in dying” (MAiD) further, by allowing people who fear being diagnosed with dementia to make advance requests for an assisted suicide.

It would also open up the possibility of the mentally ill being eligible for euthanasia by putting an 18-month time limit on the federal government’s ban on mental illness being a valid reason to seek medically-assisted death.

The government has not responded to the revised bill which now goes back to the House of Commons. If the changes are not accepted, it sets up the possibility of there being a clash between the House of Commons and Senate. This could bring further debate to legislation which the government has insisted it will pass before a court-imposed deadline of  Feb. 26, which has already been extended twice.

“Our government appreciates the careful consideration that senators are giving to Bill C-7, which remains ongoing at this time,” a statement from Justice Minister David Lametti’s spokesperson Rachel Rapport said before the Senate’s vote on the bill.

“We await the revised bill from the Senate and will respond to the final package of amendments that they have put forward for inclusion.”

MPs with the minority Liberal government, the NDP and Bloc Quebecois for the most part supported Bill C-7 in the House of Commons, while the majority of Conservative MPs did not. It is expected that Conservative MPs who voted against Bill C-7 will not support the Senate’s amendments, but it is unclear if Liberal MPs and NDP and Bloc MPs will support changes put forward by the Senate.

Rappaport said that because the amendments likely being proposed by the Senate are “major” in nature, the full federal cabinet needs to review them to determine if the Liberal government will support any of the amendments.

“Because of the nature of the changes, they will have to go to cabinet,” she said, adding that a federal cabinet meeting has been set up to review the on Feb. 18.

MPs from all parties in the House of Commons helped Bill C-7 pass by a two-to-one margin on Dec. 10. Along with eliminating the need for a person’s death being reasonably foreseeable, Bill C-7 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 MAiD.

The bill would also eliminate a 10-day waiting period to perform an assisted suicide after consent is given, but it clearly states that “mental illness” is not a valid reason to seek MAiD even though many of the government’s critics do believe that Bill C-7 opens the door to allowing MAiD for the mentally ill.

Opponents of assisted dying have been calling upon Canadians to lobby senators to block the passage of Bill C-7, introduced to comply with a 2019 Quebec Superior Court ruling that said an existing requirement that a person’s death be reasonably foreseeable was unconstitutional. The federal government did not appeal the Quebec court ruling.

Critics of expanding the euthanasia/medically-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 (as the federal government claims) to make significant changes before a promised five-year review of euthanasia/assisted suicide legislation and palliative care options in Canada is undertaken.

-30-

The post Senate changes to Bill-C-7 would expand assisted suicide/euthanasia even farther appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

Pope Francis Lent 2021 message: “Experience Lent with love” by caring for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic

Wed, 02/17/2021 - 09:13
By Courtney Mare, Catholic News Agency

[Vatican City –  CNA).- Pope Francis has encouraged Catholics to practice charity in Lent this year by caring for those affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

In his message for Lent 2021, the pope asks people to “experience Lent with love,” which “rejoices in seeing others grow.”

“To experience Lent with love means caring for those who suffer or feel abandoned and fearful because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In these days of deep uncertainty about the future, let us keep in mind the Lord’s word to his Servant, ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you’ (Isaiah 43:1). In our charity, may we speak words of reassurance and help others to realize that God loves them as sons and daughters,” Pope Francis wrote in the message published Feb. 12, 2021.

The pope emphasized that even a small amount of almsgiving when offered with “joy and simplicity” can multiply, as did “the loaves blessed, broken and given by Jesus to the disciples to distribute to the crowd.”

Message from Holy Father Pope Francis for Lent 2021 – LINK

“Love is a gift that gives meaning to our lives. It enables us to view those in need as members of our own family, as friends, brothers or sisters. A small amount, if given with love, never ends, but becomes a source of life and happiness,” he said.

The Holy Father’s Lenten message centres on the three theological virtues of faith, hope, and love. Pope Francis signed the message, entitled “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem. Lent: A Time for Renewing Faith, Hope, and Love,” on Nov. 11, the feast of St. Martin of Tours, in Rome’s St. John Lateran Basilica.

The liturgical season of Lent will begin this year with Ash Wednesday on Feb. 17. The Vatican has instructed priests to distribute ashes by silently sprinkling. them on people’s heads this year due to the pandemic.

Pope Francis said that the theological virtue of hope is particularly important as the world continues to grapple with the effects of the pandemic.

“In these times of trouble, when everything seems fragile and uncertain, it may appear challenging to speak of hope. Yet Lent is precisely the season of hope, when we turn back to God who patiently continues to care for his creation which we have often mistreated,” he said.

“St. Paul urges us to place our hope in reconciliation: ‘Be reconciled to God’ (2 Corinthians 5:20). By receiving forgiveness in the sacrament that lies at the heart of our process of conversion, we in turn can spread forgiveness to others.”

Pope Francis said that one can give hope to others by being kind, sharing the “gift of a smile” or speaking a word of encouragement.

“In Lent, may we be increasingly concerned with speaking words of comfort, strength, consolation and encouragement, and not words that demean, sadden, anger or show scorn,” he said.

He added: “Through recollection and silent prayer, hope is given to us as inspiration and interior light, illuminating the challenges and choices we face in our mission. Hence the need to pray (cf. Matthew 6:6) and, in secret, to encounter the Father of tender love.”

“To experience Lent in hope entails growing in the realization that, in Jesus Christ, we are witnesses of new times, in which God is ‘making all things new’ (cf. Revelation 21:1-6). It means receiving the hope of Christ, who gave his life on the cross and was raised by God on the third day, and always being ‘prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls [us] to account for the hope that  is in [us]’ (1 Peter 3:15).”

In a Vatican press conference discussing the pope’s Lenten message, Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, said that Pope Francis weaved together the traditional Lenten practices of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving with the three theological virtues, revealing their interconnectedness.

Turkson said that it was particularly important during the pandemic to be rooted in the practice of prayer to cultivate the theological virtue of hope, which can give one a sense of “vision” when confronted with the world’s problems.

Msgr. Bruno Marie Duffé, secretary of the dicastery, commented: “Fasting opens our spirit, body and whole being to the gift of God. By breaking with an egocentric, egotistical lifestyle and excessive, even compulsive consumption … we consent to live a poverty that is an openness to others and to God. And we receive a love that comes to us from the Father and from Christ.”

“Fasting, therefore, consists in freeing our existence from what encumbers it, from the overload of things, useful and useless, from true or false information, from the habits and dependencies that bind us, to open the door of our hearts and minds to the One who comes to share  our human condition until death: Jesus, the Son of the living God.”

Pope Francis wrote in his Lenten message that fasting, prayer, and almsgiving “enable and express our conversion.”

“The path of poverty and self-denial (fasting), concern and loving care for the poor (almsgiving), and childlike dialogue with the Father (prayer) make it possible for us to live lives of  sincere faith, living hope and effective charity,” he wrote.

These traditional Lenten practices “revive the faith that comes from the living Christ, the hope inspired by the breath of the Holy Spirit and the love flowing from the merciful heart of the Father,” Francis said.

“May Mary, Mother of the Saviour, ever faithful at the foot of the cross and in the heart of the Church, sustain us with her loving presence. May the blessing of the risen Lord accompany all of us on our journey towards the light of Easter.”

-30-

The post Pope Francis Lent 2021 message: “Experience Lent with love” by caring for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

100 Words – First Sunday in Lent: “Lent”

Tue, 02/16/2021 - 18:03
“Lent”

By Peter Oliver, Olive Branch Marriage and Family Ministry

After Jesus was baptized, the Spirit drove him out into the wilderness.  He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the Angels waited on him. Mark  1:12-13

Hurray, Lent’s arrived! Sounds like, hurray I’m getting a root canal!

Or… do we misunderstand the meaning of Lent?

The word’s an ancient term for spring – a time of preparing the earth for planting.  It’s a restart-time, a driven-into-the-desert and being-cared-for-by-angels time.

People experiencing the Lent of separation and divorce can teach us about this season.

Like Jesus, they’re driven into the desert (a time of great uncertainty, reliance on others, fearsome trials). Like Jesus, they battle dark forces (shaming, shunning).  Like Jesus, their courage challenges us: face the desert in your life, believe the good news of God’s mercy.

New Program Discernment Mediation – helping you talk

ReStart – Building Separation & Divorce Resilience (click ReStart for more information)

-30-

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

The post 100 Words – First Sunday in Lent: “Lent” appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

CCCB Journey Through Lent – new video series begins Ash Wednesday

Tue, 02/16/2021 - 17:47

By Lisa Gall, CCCB Communications

[Ottawa] – Following the success of the video series introduced in November 2020 entitled Journey through Advent, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) is pleased to introduce Journey Through Lent, a new video series that offers reflections on Gospel readings for each Sunday in Lent.

As Canadian Catholic faithful continue to experience the pandemic’s challenging realities, this series is meant to be a source of deep spiritual solace and insightful pastoral preparation for Easter.

Introduction to new series for Lent 2021

Beginning with Ash Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, and for each Sunday of the season, the videos will feature the Most Reverend Gerard Bergie, Bishop of St. Catharines, and the Most Reverend Marcel Damphousse, Archbishop of Ottawa-Cornwall, who provide meaningful spiritual and pastoral reflections for individuals, families and communities as they prepare to celebrate the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The videos, a collaboration between the CCCB’s Office national de liturgie, the National Liturgy Office, and the Office for Evangelization and Catechesis, will be available on the CCCB website and each Monday, the link for the upcoming Sunday celebration will be released (Feb. 22, March 1, March 8, March 15, and March 22).

The CCCB offers several ways to follow the series and stay informed:

Reflection for Ash Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021:

 

Reflection for First Sunday of Lent, Feb. 21, 2021:

 

-30-

The post CCCB Journey Through Lent – new video series begins Ash Wednesday appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

New CCCB office focused on families gets to work on Family Day 2021

Tue, 02/16/2021 - 17:03

By Brian Dryden, Canadian Catholic News

[Ottawa – CCN] – A new organization focused on supporting families within the Catholic Church in Canada is now up and running.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) newly-created Office for Family and Life started on Feb. 15, which was “Family Day” in six Canadian provinces.

Related Article: CCCB set to open new Office for Family and Life; new director welcomed

The new office, which replaces the previous Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF), is expected to also work closely with a new CCCB Standing Committee for Family and Life.

“The new office will undertake its mandate to grow the Conference’s engagement with diocesan personnel for family and life issues, as well as to cultivate relationships with external organizations and individuals,” a CCCB statement said, adding it is hoped that it will foster “the exchange of ideas, network-building and advocacy focused on the pastoral care of families and the dignity of human life from conception until natural death.”

As reported by the Canadian Catholic News previously, COLF ceased operations at the end of 2020 after the creation of a new office was discussed at the CCCB annual plenary that was held online last September.

“One of the national priorities for the CCCB is to accompany families in light of the changing realities of Canadian society by working with diocesan/eparchial life and family networks. During the 2020 Plenary Assembly, and following an extensive period of discussion, consultation and discernment by the CCCB in collaboration with other relevant organizations, bishops approved the creation of a new Office for Family and Life within the CCCB’s current structure to better respond to the needs of families at the national and local levels,” the CCCB statement explained.

“Given the centrality of life and family issues with respect to the ministry of bishops, the alignment of the work to be accomplished by the new national Office, with an emphasis on strengthening and supporting the role of families in our local communities, will allow us to fully realize this pastoral priority,” said CCCB president and Winnipeg Archbishop Richard Gagnon.

The CCCB has appointed Michelle Dabrowski, who joined the CCCB in September 2020 as the research and resource development assistant for the Office for Evangelization and Catechesis, as director of the new Office for Family and Life.
Dabrowski, who worked on initiatives related to palliative care, youth consultations, and online resource development with the CCCB previously, will be responsible for the implementation of all national projects to be carried out by the new office in both official languages.

As well, the new Standing Committee for Family and Life will be a consultative body within the CCCB. Its mandate is to provide the CCCB with information, insights and recommendations on questions related to family and life issues.

At this point, the committee will include four bishops (Christian Lépine, Christian Rodembourg, Douglas Crosby and Gérard Pettipas) and there will also be non-episcopal members representing the English and French communities and a Knights of Columbus representative as an ex officio member. The non-episcopal members will be appointed by the CCCB Permanent Council at some later point in 2021.

According to the CCCB, the mandate of the new standing committee is to respond to the pastoral needs of married couples and families to assist them to affirm and strengthen the domestic church in every household, proclaim the Christian teachings on marriage and the family, promote the dignity and sacredness of human life at all stages, and respond to new questions raised by contemporary ethical debates.

-30-

The post New CCCB office focused on families gets to work on Family Day 2021 appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

Bishop’s Annual Appeal 2020 winds up a successful year, in spite of COVID-19

Tue, 02/16/2021 - 16:29

By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News

In a thank you message to all who supported the Bishop’s Annual Appeal in nearly reaching its 2020 goal, Bishop Mark Hagemoen said the response in a time of pandemic has been “both amazing and deeply gratifying.”

“I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to you all for your generous and sacrificial support of this year’s Bishop’s Appeal. I say sacrificial with special emphasis this year – because I know that for many of you this past time has been and still is a great challenge as we navigate through the pandemic,” said the bishop in a thank you message Feb. 16.

In sharing the message, Cathy Gilje, coordinator of the Bishop’s Annual Appeal (BAA) for the Diocese of Saskatoon Catholic Foundation also expressed her gratitude to all those who contributed.

“As of today, our BAA 2020 total, including one-time gifts, pledges and monthly recurring gifts is just over $1.38 million, or roughly 99% of our diocesan goal (of $1.4 million),” said Gilje.  “We are deeply humbled, yet again, by the outpouring of generosity from the faithful of the diocese of Saskatoon; generosity that, under the circumstances of the past year, is truly incredible, and we are beyond grateful.”

Make a gift to the Bishop’s Annual Appeal: LINK

Related Article: Bishop’s Annual Appeal launched during COVID-19

Gilje reported that a total of 32 parishes made their BAA goal, and although there were fewer gifts, those who did support the Bishop’s Annual Appeal gave a 35-per-cent larger gift this year.

Bishop Hagemoen noted that the basic needs and mission of the Church have not changed because of the pandemic.

“God’s grace has and is always strongest through our greatest trials and tragedies. I have very much found this to be the case during the pandemic,” he said. “One grace I have seen is how our diocese has come together through the challenges of the pandemic. I take this opportunity to thank all of you for the extraordinary work and creative zeal in reaching out to other parishes and to the diocese at large as we discuss, pray, and discern ways to pastorally and practically help each other. This process is still very much ongoing.”

Echoing the three-year diocesan Pastoral Plan released in 2019, the theme of the 2020 Bishop’s Annual Appeal is “Proclaim Christ,” with a focus on “Reaching out in service.”

During the Appeal, Bishop Hagemoen noted that the proclamation of Jesus Christ and the hope of Jesus Christ is needed more than ever in these uncertain times of COVID-19 — and so is reaching out in service to those in most need: the marginalized and vulnerable, the grieving, the sick and the imprisoned. Ministries supported by the BAA include hospital chaplaincy, evangelization and catechesis, refugee sponsorship, vocation promotion, communications, adult faith enrichment, Indigenous ministry, justice and peace, marriage and family life.

“So, thank you – clergy, religious, and lay faithful of the Diocese of Saskatoon – for doing more that just financial giving – but stepping forward in faith and trust to carry out the life, mission, and ministry of Jesus Christ and His Church in difficult times. We carry on in faith and action,” said Bishop Mark Hagemoen.

Bishop’s Appeal Thank You – Bishop Mark Hagemoen:

Romans 1:8:   “I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed throughout the world.”

 

 

 

The post Bishop’s Annual Appeal 2020 winds up a successful year, in spite of COVID-19 appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

St. John’s archdiocese vows to heal after “dark chapter” of abuse at Mount Cashel orphanage

Tue, 02/16/2021 - 09:03

By Brian Dryden, Canadian Catholic News

[Ottawa – CCN} – Archbishop Peter Hundt says “sacrifices” will have to be made, but the Archdiocese of St. John’s, Newfoundland  has to move forward with compassion and understanding after a “dark chapter” in the archdiocese’s history.

In a message delivered at Masses across the archdiocese on the weekend of Feb. 13-14, the archbishop explained to the faithful what must be done to address the abuses that occurred at the Mount Cashel Orphanage, now that Canada’s Supreme court has let a lower court ruling stand that made the archdiocese “vicariously liable” for abuses that occurred at the notorious orphanage run by the Christian Brothers of Ireland.

“Recently, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed our archdiocese’s application for Leave to Appeal. This makes final the judgement of the Appeal Court of Newfoundland and Labrador that the Archdiocese of St. John’s is vicariously liable for the abuse at the Mount Cashel Orphanage in the 1940s, 50s and 60s,” said a statement from Archbishop Hundt that was read during Masses within the archdiocese.

“We must now move to address these claims to the best of our ability, and in justice to the victims,” the statement continued.

The situation at the Archdiocese of St. John’s comes as the fallout from what went on at the Mount Cashel Orphanage continues to be felt across the county decades after the orphanage closed.

A lawsuit filed in B.C. on Feb. 8 claims a Catholic order moved known abusers from the Newfoundland orphanage to two schools in Vancouver where the lawsuit alleges some youth were also abused. The lawsuit filed in British Columbia Supreme Court claims that from 1976 to 1983 the Christian Brothers transferred six members facing abuse allegations from Mount Cashel Orphanage to Vancouver College and St. Thomas More Collegiate.

The Archdiocese of Vancouver “feels great sadness and regret for anyone who has suffered sexual abuse from a person in power,” said a statement Feb. 8 that was published in the B.C. Catholic newspaper.

The statement also said the archdiocese and Catholic Independent Schools of the Vancouver Archdiocese which were both named in the proposed suit do not own or operate the schools, adding “these two schools are both run by independent foundations. They have their own land and buildings, have their own curriculum, and make all their own hiring decisions. As a result we can make no further comment on this case.”

In relation to Newfoundland’s St. John’s archdiocese, the Supreme Court of Canada declined on Jan. 14, 2021 to hear an appeal from the archdiocese on the issue of liability. 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.

The archdiocese had argued before the courts 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.

But now that liability in Newfoundland has been settled, St. John’s archdiocese is consulting with financial advisors on how best to settle victim claims.

“The resolution of these claims will have significant implications for the parishes and parishioners of our archdiocese. Therefore, we are presently working with financial and other advisers to discern how best to move forward in addressing them,” Archbishop Hundt’s statement continued.

“There will be changes and sacrifices required of all of us as we move through this process. I cannot promise that the road ahead will be an easy one, but certainly the practice and celebration of our Catholic faith will continue. I hope that this resolution process will bring with it healing for the victims, their loved ones, and the entire community of faith, and closure to a dark chapter in the history of our Archdiocese.

“As we move forward with this process, I ask that you please join with me in praying for God’s guidance, healing for the victims, and understanding, compassion and patience for us all,” he said.

– With files from the BC Catholic

-30-

Archdiocese of Vancouver responds to proposed Mount Cashel class-action lawsuit

By Agnieszka Ruck, The B.C. Catholic 

[Vancouver, Feb. 9, 2021 – Canadian Catholic News] – The Archdiocese of Vancouver issued a response to a proposed class-action lawsuit made public Feb. 8 involving allegations of sexual abuse at two local schools run by Christian brothers. The schools named are Vancouver College and St. Thomas More Collegiate.

“The Archdiocese of Vancouver feels great sadness and regret for anyone who has suffered sexual abuse from a person in power,” said a statement Feb. 8, 2021.

The statement said the Vancouver archdiocese and Catholic Independent Schools of the Vancouver Archdiocese (both named in the proposed suit) do not own or operate the schools. “These two schools are both run by independent foundations. They have their own land and buildings, have their own curriculum, and make all their own hiring decisions. As a result we can make no further comment on this case.”

It added that class action lawsuits “often begin by naming a multitude of defendants, some of whom have little connection to the case.”

The suit, filed in B.C.’s Supreme Court today, alleges that between 1976 and 1983 six men who abused children at Mount Cashel Orphanage in St. John’s (run by the Christian brothers) were transferred to the two Vancouver schools. The plaintiff, Darren Liptrot, says he was sexually abused while he attended Vancouver College from 1980 to 1985. The claims have not been proven in court.

Vancouver College also reacted to the news. In a message to alumni, president Johnny Bevacqua and Chair of the Board of Directors Sue Dvorak wrote “these are deeply troubling allegations and we take these claims very seriously. We are reviewing the Class Action Filing to learn the full scope of the filing, and will respond accordingly once we have a better understanding and additional information.”

They added that “crimes of abuse are tragic and have lifelong impacts on those involved. Vancouver College expresses profound concern and sympathy to anyone who has been impacted in any way by any abuse … it is our top priority that all students come to school feeling safe and respected.”

St. Thomas More Collegiate also reacted, saying in a statement that the allegations are “deeply troubling.” They are reviewing the claim and say they will respond once they have have more information.

In January, the Supreme Court of Canada refused an appeal of a ruling that found the Roman Catholic Archdiocese in St. John’s liable for abuse at the Mount Cashel orphanage. The archdiocese was ordered to pay $2 million in damages.

The St. John’s archdiocese had denied it was responsible for abuse that occurred at Mount Cashel and came to light in the Hughes Inquiry 1989, saying it was not involved in day-to-day operations of the orphanage and that the Christian Brothers who ran it are a lay organization whose members are not ordained priests.

The Christian Brothers of Ireland declared bankruptcy in 2012 while settling abuse lawsuits. The orphanage was demolished in 1992.

This proposed class action suit is not related to one filed against the Archdiocese of Vancouver in 2020 claiming the archdiocese was “systematically negligent” in protecting parishioners from abuse by clergy. The plaintiff, a woman identified as K.S. in court documents, alleged she was abused by a priest at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in the 1980s.

With files from The Catholic Register

-30-

The post St. John’s archdiocese vows to heal after “dark chapter” of abuse at Mount Cashel orphanage appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

Bill C-7: Indigenous leaders fear expanded euthanasia decision in Senate

Mon, 02/15/2021 - 12:01
Leaders say Bill C-7 goes against Indigenous beliefs, values

By Agnieszka Ruck, The B.C. Catholic

[Vancouver – Canadian Catholic News] – Indigenous leaders from across Canada say they have “grave concerns” about efforts to expand the availability of assisted suicide, warning it will have “a lasting impact on our vulnerable populations.”

In a letter entitled “Indigenous Peoples Should Not Be Compelled to Provide or Facilitate Medical Assistance in Dying,” 15 First Nations representatives and Indigenous health-care workers and leaders asked the government to “recognize the value of Aboriginal healing practices” and Canadians’ right not to be “compelled to provide or facilitate in the provision of MAiD” (medical assistance in dying).

The letter, addressed this week to senators, federal and provincial politicians, and health-care regulators, calls on the federal government to respect First Nations’ relationships with their communities and their right to determine how health services are delivered.

Signatories to the letter include Siksika Health Services CEO Tyler White, former Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick Graydon Nicholas, retired senator Nick Sibbeston, Indigenous health and suicide prevention advisers, and elders, including Deacon Rennie Nahanee, a Squamish First Nation adviser for suicide prevention.

“Bill C-7 goes against many of our cultural values, belief systems, and sacred teachings,” said the leaders. “The view that MAiD is a dignified end for the terminally ill or those living with disabilities should not be forced on our peoples.”

The leaders say the consultation process has been inadequate and “has not taken into account the existing health disparities and social inequalities we face compared to non-Indigenous people.”

The letter states Indigenous people are “vulnerable to discrimination and coercion in the health-care system” and, along with all Canadians, deserve protection from “unsolicited counsel regarding MAiD.”

“Given our history with the negative consequences of colonialism and the involuntary imposition of cultural values and ideas, we believe that people should not be compelled to provide or facilitate in the provision of MAiD.”

The Indigenous leaders and advocates are among many groups voicing opposition to Bill C-7, which would eliminate the need for a person’s death to be reasonability foreseeable to qualify for euthanasia. The legislation would also eliminate or ease other safeguards such as lowering the number of witnesses needed when someone consents to assisted suicide.

Call to oppose Bill C-7 – LINK

The House of Commons passed Bill C-7 by a two-to-one margin Dec. 10. It is now being debated in the Senate, which is expected to vote on it by Feb. 17.

On Tuesday, Feb. 9, senators voted to amend Bill C-7 to give the federal government 18 months to expand access to assisted suicide to people suffering solely from mental illnesses. More amendments are expected as debate continues.

The Senate’s legal and constitutional affairs committee heard from 81 witnesses during five days of hearings. It also received 86 written briefs from health-care professionals, faith groups, and organizations including the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Canadian Physicians for Life, Cardus, Christian Legal Fellowship, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, and the Canadian Society of Palliative Care. (All written briefs are available on the Senate website).

In B.C., the Delta Hospice Society also submitted a statement to the Senate committee, sharing its concerns about the rights of palliative-care providers.

The society has been in a prolonged debate with the Fraser Health Authority and Health Minister Adrian Dix over provision of assisted suicide in its 10-bed hospice. Its refusal to allow the procedure on site has led to health authorities planning to terminate the society’s lease effective Feb. 24.

The society argues it is important to let some hospices remain euthanasia-free for those health-care workers and patients who want such an environment.

“Many people are initially reluctant to come to hospice because they fear that their death will be hastened,” the society said in a Feb. 3 letter. “It is crucial to ensure that there are safe spaces like hospice that do not intentionally end life.”

The society wants Bill C-7 amended to provide “safe spaces for dying people” and “the right to practise palliative-care medicine without government intimidation.”

Canada’s bishops have said the many perspectives shared at the Senate hearings reveal there is no consensus in Canada on expanding assisted suicide “despite the government’s claim to the contrary in order to justify the passing of Bill C-7.”

As the Senate moves toward its final verdict on Bill C-7, some critics think the federal government should not change the existing law, which took effect in 2016, until a full and promised parliamentary review of the legislation is undertaken first.

“Colleagues, how did we get to this point, where we are debating an overhaul of our entire regime a few short years after its enactment and before we have even undertaken a parliamentary review?” asked Opposition Senate leader Don Plett.

“We are here because of a lower court decision made by one judge, in one province, and because the government chose not to defend its own legislation.”

Pro-life groups are urging Canadians to share their concerns with senators on the legal and constitutional affairs committee at https://sencanada.ca/en/committees/lcjc/.

(With files from Canadian Catholic News)

-30-

The post Bill C-7: Indigenous leaders fear expanded euthanasia decision in Senate appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

Pope Francis: ‘Experience Lent with love’ by caring for those affected by pandemic

Fri, 02/12/2021 - 09:23

By Courtney Mares, Catholic News Agency

[Vatican City – CNA] – Pope Francis is encouraging Catholics to practice charity in Lent this year by caring for those affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

In his message for Lent 2021, the Holy Father asks people to “experience Lent with love,” which “rejoices in seeing others grow.”

“To experience Lent with love means caring for those who suffer or feel abandoned and fearful because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In these days of deep uncertainty about the future, let us keep in mind the Lord’s word to his Servant, ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you’ (Isaiah 43:1). In our charity, may we speak words of reassurance and help others to realize that God loves them as sons and daughters,” Pope Francis wrote in the message published Feb. 12, 2021.

The Holy Father emphasized that even a small amount of almsgiving when offered with “joy and simplicity” can multiply, as did “the loaves blessed, broken and given by Jesus to the disciples to distribute to the crowd.”

“Love is a gift that gives meaning to our lives. It enables us to view those in need as members of our own family, as friends, brothers or sisters. A small amount, if given with love, never ends, but becomes a source of life and happiness,” he said.

Pope Francis’ Lenten message centers on the three theological virtues of faith, hope, and love.

Pope Francis signed the message, entitled “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem. Lent: A Time for Renewing Faith, Hope, and Love,” on Nov. 11, the feast of St. Martin of Tours, in Rome’s St. John Lateran Basilica.

The liturgical season of Lent will begin this year with Ash Wednesday on Feb. 17. The Vatican has instructed priests to distribute ashes by silently sprinkling the ashes on people’s heads this year due to the pandemic.

Pope Francis said that the theological virtue of hope is particularly important as the world continues to grapple with the effects of the pandemic.

“In these times of trouble, when everything seems fragile and uncertain, it may appear challenging to speak of hope. Yet Lent is precisely the season of hope, when we turn back to God who patiently continues to care for his creation which we have often mistreated,” he said.

“St. Paul urges us to place our hope in reconciliation: ‘Be reconciled to God’ (2 Corinthians 5:20). By receiving forgiveness in the sacrament that lies at the heart of our process of conversion, we in turn can spread forgiveness to others.”

The pope said that one can give hope to others by being kind, sharing the “gift of a smile” or speaking a word of encouragement.

“In Lent, may we be increasingly concerned with speaking words of comfort, strength, consolation and encouragement, and not words that demean, sadden, anger or show scorn,” he said.

Pope Francis added: “Through recollection and silent prayer, hope is given to us as inspiration and interior light, illuminating the challenges and choices we face in our mission. Hence the need to pray (cf. Matthew 6:6) and, in secret, to encounter the Father of tender love.”

“To experience Lent in hope entails growing in the realization that, in Jesus Christ, we are witnesses of new times, in which God is ‘making all things new’ (cf. Revelation 21:1-6). It means receiving the hope of Christ, who gave his life on the cross and was raised by God on the third day, and always being ‘prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls [us] to account for the hope that  is in [us]’ (1 Peter 3:15).”

In a Vatican press conference discussing the pope’s Lenten message, Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, said that Pope Francis wove together the traditional Lenten practices of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving with the three theological virtues, revealing their interconnectedness.

Turkson said that it was particularly important during the pandemic to be rooted in the practice of prayer to cultivate the theological virtue of hope, which can give one a sense of “vision” when confronted with the world’s problems.

Msgr. Bruno Marie Duffé, secretary of the dicastery, commented: “Fasting opens our spirit, body and whole being to the gift of God. By breaking with an egocentric, egotistical lifestyle and excessive, even compulsive consumption … we consent to live a poverty that is an openness to others and to God. And we receive a love that comes to us from the Father and from Christ.”

“Fasting, therefore, consists in freeing our existence from what encumbers it, from the overload of things, useful and useless, from true or false information, from the habits and dependencies that bind us, to open the door of our hearts and minds to the One who comes to share  our human condition until death: Jesus, the Son of the living God.”

Pope Francis wrote in his Lenten message that fasting, prayer, and almsgiving “enable and express our conversion.”

“The path of poverty and self-denial (fasting), concern and loving care for the poor (almsgiving), and childlike dialogue with the Father (prayer) make it possible for us to live lives of  sincere faith, living hope and effective charity,” he wrote.

These traditional Lenten practices “revive the faith that comes from the living Christ, the hope inspired by the breath of the Holy Spirit and the love flowing from the merciful heart of the Father,” Francis said.

“May Mary, Mother of the Saviour, ever faithful at the foot of the cross and in the heart of the Church, sustain us with her loving presence. May the blessing of the risen Lord accompany all of us on our journey towards the light of Easter.”

-30-

 

 

The post Pope Francis: ‘Experience Lent with love’ by caring for those affected by pandemic appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

CCCB set to open new Office for Family and Life; new director welcomed

Thu, 02/11/2021 - 14:01

By Lisa Gall, CCCB Communications Office

[ Ottawa] – A new Office for Family and Life has been established by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB).

One of the national priorities for the CCCB is to accompany families in light of the changing realities of Canadian society by working with diocesan/eparchial life and family networks.

During the 2020 Plenary Assembly – and following an extensive period of discussion, consultation and discernment by the CCCB in collaboration with other relevant organizations – the Canadian bishops have approved the creation of a new Office for Family and Life within the CCCB’s current structure, to better respond to the needs of families at the national and local levels.

“Given the centrality of life and family issues with respect to the ministry of bishops, the alignment of the work to be accomplished by the new national office, with an emphasis on strengthening and supporting the role of families in our local communities, will allow us to fully realize this pastoral priority,” said CCCB President Archbishop Richard Gagnon of Winnipeg.

Beginning Feb. 15, 2021, the new office will undertake its mandate to grow the conference’s engagement with diocesan personnel for family and life issues, as well as to cultivate relationships with external organizations and individuals to promote formation, the exchange of ideas, network-building and advocacy focused on the pastoral care of families and the dignity of human life from conception until natural death.

The office will be led by its first director, Michelle Dabrowski.

Dabrowski was first appointed in September 2020 as the CCCB Research and Resource Development Assistant for the Office for Evangelization and Catechesis (where she supported initiatives related to palliative care, youth consultations, and online resource development). In her new role as Director of the Office for Family and Life, Dabrowski will be responsible for the implementation of all national projects to be carried out by the new office in both official languages.

The Office for Family and Life will likewise support the work of the new Standing Committee for Family and Life.

The Standing Committee is a consultative body within the CCCB structure that is mandated to provide the appropriate CCCB bodies with information, insights and recommendations on questions related to family and life issues.

It will be comprised of four bishop members, as well as non-episcopal members representing anglophone and francophone parts of the country and who have expertise and competencies in areas related to family and life.

The bishop members appointed to the standing committee are: Archbishop Christian Lépine (Chairman),  Bishop Christian Rodembourg, M.S.A., Bishop Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., and Archbishop Gérard Pettipas, C.Ss.R. The non-episcopal members will be appointed by the CCCB Permanent Council in 2021 and will include an official delegate of the Knights of Columbus as an ex officio member.

For more information on the Office and Standing Committee for Family and Life, please visit https://www.cccb.ca/about/secretariat-offices-and-services/office-for-family-and-life/.

 

–  30  –

The post CCCB set to open new Office for Family and Life; new director welcomed appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

“Me first” attitude is devastating, say advocates about access of refugees and migrants to COVID-19 vaccines

Thu, 02/11/2021 - 13:26

By Michael Swan, The Catholic Register

More than 80 million refugees and others forced from their homes by war, climate change and natural disasters need COVID-19 vaccines just as much as the rest of us, but Canadian Cardinal Michael Czerny worries they’re easily overlooked.

“The issue of vaccines for migrants and refugees does not seem to interest public opinion much,” Czerny wrote in an email to The Catholic Register. “During COVID, refugees and migrants have been in the shadows and out of sight.”

Czerny heads up the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Integral Human Development.

“Refugees and migrants should be getting access to the COVID-19 vaccine just like the rest of the population,” said Czerny.

Canada’s plan to withdraw 1.1 million doses of the Astra-Zeneca vaccine from the international COVAX plan, set up to ensure equal access to vaccines across the globe, is a worrying signal that rich nations are willing to put their own interests first, ignoring vulnerable populations in poor countries, said Caritas Internationalis secretary general Aloysius John.

“Are we talking about a pandemic or are we talking about business? Let us raise this question,” John said. “If you are really concerned about the pandemic, I think the global north cannot get out of this sickness by itself. They need the global south. There is interdependency.”

“The Canadian government and its people are displaying a ‘me first’ attitude,” said Jesuit Refugee Service country director for Canada Norbert Piché. “There is no solidarity, or very little, with poor nations. We look after ourselves first without considering the impact that our actions have on the developing nations.”

Canada contributed $440 million to COVAX in September last year. Half of that money is to secure doses for Canada from about nine different potential vaccines, should they be approved. This country is the sixth largest donor among nations towards the UNHCR’s COVID emergency appeal.

The 165 Caritas organizations around the world, including Canada’s Development and Peace, are concerned that refugees are easily overlooked in vaccination plans, said John.

“Migrants and refugees are people on the move. Most of the time they do not have papers and they are frightened of being caught in an administrative situation. They are not on the radar of the authorities. At the same time, they are also the major victims because of the health situation.”

On the ground, working with Venezuelan refugees in Colombia, the Catholic humanitarian organization Malteser International can confirm vaccinating refugees is going to be tricky.

The Colombian government at first announced it would not include undocumented migrants in its vaccine rollout, but now says it’s working on a plan for the more than 400,000 Venezuelans in the country without papers.

When they can find work in an atmosphere of rising xenophobia, the Venezuelan migrants work 12- to 14-hour days for a little more than $7 a day. They have little control over their work environments and almost no chance of protecting themselves from the rampant coronavirus, Malteser International’s Colombian co-ordinator of health services Maria-Bonita Amorim da Silva said. Crowded, unstable housing, often sharing a single room or house with other families, leaves people vulnerable.

“There is always the fear, anguish, worry and despair of not being able to return to their country, to get their well-deserved vaccination (in Venezuela),” said Amorim. “Fear is always latent. Especially if they are sick and must go to health centres, anxiety is accentuated.”

Of 133 countries working on vaccination strategies, 81 have finalized their plans and 54 have explicitly included refugees in their plans, according to the United Nations High Commissioner’s representative in Canada Rema Jamous Imseis. Eighty-five per cent of the world’s refugees and internally displaced people are stuck in the world’s poorest countries where national governments struggle to meet the health needs of their own populations.

“No one should be left out of public health responses if we want to break or sustainably slow the transmission of the virus,” said Imseis. “Ensuring that refugees are included in the vaccine rollout is key to ending the pandemic.”

There is a special responsibility for rich countries like Canada to step up and ensure global fairness, said Fr. Kevin White, the JRS’s representative to the United Nations in Geneva.

“Jesus reminds us that to whom much has been given, much will be required,” he wrote in an email. “How we care for the vulnerable is the basis of a life pleasing to God.”

“It would be sad if, in providing the vaccine, priority were given to the wealthiest, or if this vaccine became the property of this or that country and was no longer for everyone,” Pope Francis said in September. “It must be universal, for all.”

-30-

The post “Me first” attitude is devastating, say advocates about access of refugees and migrants to COVID-19 vaccines appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

D & P prepares for tough Share Lent campaign

Thu, 02/11/2021 - 10:20

By Michael Swan, The Catholic Register

This year Development and Peace knows what it’s up against.

Last year COVID-19 hit in the middle of Lent, torpedoing the annual Share Lent campaign. Carefully-rehearsed appeals Development and Peace members would have made to parishioners on the fifth Sunday of Lent never saw the light of day. The baskets that would have collected envelopes full of cash and cheques remained tucked under the back row of pews.

Canada’s Catholic development agency tried to shift gears, go digital and make its appeals online. But they weren’t prepared.

This year Development and Peace’s 10,000 members across Canada are being encouraged to create personal fundraising pages using the organization’s “Spreading Solidarity” platform. A different aspect of Development and Peace’s work will be explored each week on the Share Lent campaign website. An e-newsletter is going out weekly. A virtual Way of the Cross is ready for Good Friday.

The theme is basic and simple. “Share Love Share Lent” is the tagline on posters, flyers and newsletters. But the secret sauce is Pope Francis, explained Development and Peace deputy director Luke Stocking.

“Fratelli Tutti and Laudato Si’ (encyclicals) and the message and vision of Pope Francis are helping us to connect with and inform a new generation, to provide real roots for the next 50 years of the organization,” said Stocking.

When the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace launched in 1967 its touchstones were the renewal of the Church launched by the Second Vatican Council, the council’s central document, Gaudium et Spes, and St. Pope Paul VI’s ringing endorsement of a post-colonial future in Populorum Progressio.

When Stocking speaks with young people today, he finds few of them have a strong grasp of the council of 1962 to 1965, which may pre-date their parents.

“But they know about Laudato Si’, they know about caring for our common home. They know about Pope Francis,” he said.

Online campaigning is simply not the same as in-person fundraising and Development and Peace is prepared for a down year.

“We’re looking at potential losses of $3 to $4 million from the usual Share Lent campaign.”

But the organization is also emerging from a painful period of tension with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. “There’s increased levels of trust,” Stocking said.

“The past year has been one of organizational renewal for Development and Peace – Caritas Canada, in order to bring it closer to the Bishops, other clergy, persons in consecrated life and laity, and thus more effective in its service to the poor and oppressed in the Global South. The renewal process is still underway, and much progress has been accomplished to date; much more is still to come.” – Letter from Archbishop Richard Gagnon, president of the Canadian Catholic Conference of Bishops (LINK)

The Canadian arm of the global Caritas network will propose Sunday morning prayers of the faithful for peacemakers, for humanitarian workers, for protectors of the Earth and for human rights defenders.

On the fifth Sunday of Lent, Development and Peace will pray for its partners around the world: “May they continue, through our support, to build a world of kindness, justice and peace.”

Share Lent webinars will be offered each week of Lent:

First week of Lent:  “The mission of Development and Peace and Catholic Social Teaching” (English) 12:00 p.m. CST Saturday Feb. 20 – To mark the World Day of Social Justice, take part in a conversation between Bishop Goudreault of the diocese of Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière, Father Jean Patrick Ngoyi, director of the Commission for Justice, Development and Peace (JDPC), a long-time Nigerian partner of Development and Peace, and Gabrielle Dupuis, youth member and chair of the Anglophone Ottawa-Conrwall Diocesan Council. This online session will be hosted by Janelle Delorme, animator for Manitoba and Thunder Bay. Discover how the mission of Development and Peace is directly inspired by the Social Teaching of the Church (https://www.devp.org/en/cst ). The one-hour webinar will be recorded. Sign up here http://bit.ly/2MKDeP6

Second week of Lent:  “Humanitarian intervention – realities on the ground” (English) 10 a.m. CST, Saturday, Feb. 27.Join Rebecca Rathbone, animator for South-West Ontario, Dominique Godbout, international programs officer and Abdullah Fuad, representative of Development and Peace’s partner Caritas Bangladesh as they discuss the Rohingya refugee crisis and the way Caritas has been working to alleviate consequences on affected communities, as well as Development and Peace’s unique philosophy when it comes to humanitarian responses. Abdullah Fuad is the head of a program for the emergency response for the Rohingya refugees based in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. The one-hour webinar will be recorded. Sign up here http://bit.ly/3aIsokJ

Third week of Lent: “Change structures and promote community development through partnership” (English) 6:00 p.m. CST Tuesday, March 2– Join Emily Lukasik, animator for Central Ontario; Mary Durran, international programs officer; and Jose Mario Lopez, member of the territorial defense team of Development and Peace’s partner, Fundación Eric – Radio Progreso. Find out how this people-led partnership in Honduras is having a positive long-term impact on community development and advocacy in the country, which is one of the poorest and most dangerous for human rights defenders in Latin America. The one-hour webinar will be recorded. Sign up here http://bit.ly/3tDWSgl

Fourth week of Lent:  National ThinkFast (English and French) starting at 2:00 p.m. CST Thursday, March 11 – Each year, Catholic schools across the country participate in ThinkFAST a 25-hour fast that allows students to learn more about the Social Teaching of the Church and to raise funds for Development and Peace. This year, Development and Peace will be organizing a national virtual fundraising fast so that everyone of any age can participate! Development and Peace will be offering online activities during the 25-hour fast. Watch for more information.

Fifth week of Lent – National online Mass (French/English) on Sunday, March 21, times to be announced.

Sixth week of Lent: Event to be announced

Seventh week of Lent: Online National Way of the Cross (French/Englsih) on Good Friday, April 2, 2021 Times to be announced.

 

The post D & P prepares for tough Share Lent campaign appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

Knights of Columbus launch documentary films on life and legacy of Blessed Michael McGivney for Canadian audiences

Thu, 02/11/2021 - 08:21
Two new documentaries are now available to Canadians, part of a global movement to work for Blessed Michael McGivney’s elevation to sainthood

By Daniel Torchia

[New Haven, CONN, USA] -Father Michael McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus who was beatified by Pope Francis, October 2020, is the subject of two new historical and inspirational documentaries – Blessed Michael McGivney and A Witness for the World: The Global Impact of Blessed Michael McGivney.

Produced by the world’s largest fraternal organization for Catholic men, a lay-led order founded by McGivney in 1882, the documentaries are part of a campaign to inspire members of the Knights of Columbus in Canada, Catholic audiences and the public at large to renew their drive for prayer, family life, charity and solidarity with the poor and suffering.

“Over the years, Father McGivney has been honoured with many titles – Apostle of Christian Family Life, Priest of the Beatitudes and, of course, founder of the Knights of Columbus,” said outgoing Supreme Knight Carl Anderson of the Knights of Columbus. “However, his witness goes beyond titles. He was above all else a testament to the power of spiritual brotherhood and charity. That reality comes through in these documentaries and we’re delighted to share them widely with Canadians.”

Two new documentaries about Blessed Michael McGivney are now available. (Images courtesy of the Knights of Columbus)

Blessed Father Michael McGivney (27:30 minutes) is a two-part documentary that focuses in its first 19 minutes on the life of Michael J. McGivney, from his childhood as the son of Irish immigrants to his untimely death at 38, as well as his short time in seminary at Saint-Hyacinthe, just a short drive east of Montreal. The remaining nine minutes showcases the heartwarming story of Michael McGivney Schachle, a child with Down syndrome who was healed in utero from a fatal disease through the intercession of his namesake.

A Witness for the World: The Global Impact of Blessed Michael McGivney (29:46 minutes), retraces the history of the Knights of Columbus and includes a contemporary view into the work of the order in countries like Ukraine, Mexico, Philippines, Poland and Canada, as well as interviews with Cardinal Gérald C. Lacroix, Archbishop of Quebec, Arcie Lim, Vancouver-based board member for the Knights of Columbus and David Peters, Ontario State Deputy with Knights of Columbus. From aiding children in war-torn Ukraine to the homeless in Vancouver, the documentary explores Father McGivney’s all-encompassing vision for an empowered laity, spiritual brotherhood, the rejuvenation of parish life and the transformation of communities through mutual love and charity.

The two documentaries are available on demand, at no charge, and have been subtitled into Spanish, Filipino, Korean and Polish. A French version will be launched in March. The films are also available for purchase on DVD, especially as a resource for parish and school-based study programs.

The documentaries are part of a global movement to actively pray for the priest’s sainthood. Driven by the Father Michael J. McGivney Guild, the movement is free and open to anyone who is devoted to Father McGivney and wishes to invoke his intercession and assist in his sainthood cause through prayer. Members receive a quarterly newsletter and are remembered in a weekly Mass offered for their intentions. Launched in 1998, the guild now counts more than 177,000 members worldwide.

###

About the Knights of Columbus

Fact sheet about the Knights of Columbus: PDF

The Knights of Columbus is one of the world’s leading fraternal and service organizations with 2 million members in more than 16,000 parish-based councils. During the past year, Knights around the world donated more than 77 million service hours and $187 million for worthy causes in their communities. The organization also offers extensive life insurance services to members and their families, resulting in more than $114 billion of life insurance in force. Knights of Columbus Asset Advisors offers investment services to individuals and institutions in accord with Catholic social teaching and has over $26 billion in assets under management. From helping children in need, to providing wheelchairs for the disabled, to helping stock food banks, to offering top-rated and affordable insurance products to its members, to creating a legacy of giving, the Knights of Columbus has supported families and communities for more than 138 years. To learn more please visit us at kofc.org.

About Father McGivney

Fact sheet about Father Michael McGivney: PDF

Born of Irish immigrant parents in 1852 in Waterbury, Connecticut, Father McGivney was a central figure in the dramatic growth of the Church in the United States in the late 19th century. Ordained in Baltimore in 1877, he ministered to a heavily Irish-American and immigrant community in Connecticut. At a time of anti-Catholic sentiment, he worked tirelessly to offer practical solutions to their many problems — spiritual and temporal alike. With a group of the leading Catholic men of New Haven, he founded the Knights to provide spiritual support for Catholic men and financial resources for families that had suffered the loss of their breadwinner.

Father McGivney died of pneumonia on Aug. 14, 1890 — two days after his 38th birthday — after falling ill amid a pandemic.

In March 2008, Father McGivney was declared a Venerable Servant of God by Pope Benedict XVI, who during his visit to New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral cited the “remarkable accomplishment of that exemplary American priest, the Venerable Michael McGivney, whose vision and zeal led to the establishment of the Knights of Columbus.”

On Oct. 31, 2020, he was declared blessed by Pope Francis, who cited Blessed Michael McGivney for his “zeal for the proclamation of the Gospel and generous concern for his brothers and sisters” that “made him an outstanding witness of Christian solidarity and fraternal assistance.

-30-

 

The post Knights of Columbus launch documentary films on life and legacy of Blessed Michael McGivney for Canadian audiences appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.