Cathedral Photo
Our mission and plan is to “Proclaim Christ and God’s Kingdom Today!” Find out more about goals and priorities outlined in our Pastoral Plan:

Diocese of Saskatoon News

Syndicate content
Diocesan News Portal
Updated: 3 hours 27 sec ago

Pope Francis offers new development, not new direction – archbishop

Thu, 03/23/2023 - 13:17

By Nicholas Elbers, The B.C. Catholic

[Vancouver – Canadian Catholic News] – A keen pastoral ingenuity, mixed with a renewed emphasis on our responsibilities to the poor and marginalized, are the hallmarks of Pope Francis’ papacy, says Vancouver Archbishop J. Michael Miller.

In an interview with The B.C. Catholic to discuss Francis’ 10th anniversary as pope marked on March 13, Archbishop Miller said Francis’ chief contribution to the Church has been “launching the joy of the Gospel” and “the whole notion of Catholics being called to be missionary disciples, with all that implies, such as engagement with the world, and re-looking at how the Church understands its priorities.”

Archbishop Miller doesn’t believe that Pope Francis has offered the Church a new direction, so much as a development of existing Catholic themes.

“It’s an emphasis that started with Paul VI,” he said, “[Francis] has just given it a certain emphasis in his use of certain images and metaphors,” such as his description of the Church as a “field hospital.”

Pope Francis’ homilies and speeches have a grassroots feel that sometimes offers unique results.

“The notion of evangelization isn’t new, but he has a rather delightful way with words and homey examples that bring it home,” Miller said.

“His predecessors came from a more academic background,” the Vancouver archbishop said, “and their language just wasn’t as colourful as Pope Francis.’”

Miller offered an example: “When he talked about families he would say even though he knows people throw the dishes at each other from time to time the three most important words to say are still ‘please, thank you, and I’m sorry.’”

That relatable language and simple imagery is “a unique gift of Pope Francis,” Miller said.

Saskatoon Bishop Mark Hagemoen was appointed bishop of the northern diocese of Mackenzie Fort Smith by Pope Francis in the first year of his papacy. “I was quickly inspired by his spiritual and pastoral leadership, which has in many ways guided and mentored my own ministry,” says Hagemoen, who was later appointed the eighth bishop of Saskatoon by the Holy Father.

In particular, Bishop Hagemoen cites three of many features of Pope Francis’ leadership:

•  “I have been inspired and guided by how Pope Francis has approached the ‘New Evangelization,’ building on his predecessors: Pope St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Perhaps in part because – as a former archbishop of a South American country – he is able to link to many of the unique issues of the Global South – he has expanded the discussion and reflection about the New Evangelization to be practical and focussed, especially in terms of reflecting on the marginalized and the stranger, and addressing our global relationship with our peoples and cultures, and also our relationship with creation.”

•  “Pope Francis has invited and challenged the Church to embrace the fullness of her teaching. In our world today – which features so much polarization – we witness at times the emphasis on only a part of the Church’s teaching and tradition. Pope Francis has endeavoured to bring to bear both Catholic moral and social teaching on the range of complex and difficult issues the world is facing.”

•  “I have very much appreciated Pope Francis’ reformer’s heart, as he works to always align the Church’s structures and bureaucracy with the Gospel. As all of God’s faithful are called to ‘ongoing conversion of life and heart’ – so with the Church’s structures and administration, which carry out difficult and complex tasks of stewardship and governance, all-the-while making sure that the Church’s institutional features always reflect and serve the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Pope Francis’ emphasis on evangelization and the joy of the Gospel have born concrete fruit, says Archbishop Miller, noting they were the inspiration for “our celebration of missionary month which launched Proclaim,” the archdiocese’s evangelization ministry in the Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver.

“We talk about the Church’s evangelizing mission now,” Miller said, such as describing “our schools as evangelizing communities” or “the importance of friendship with Christ.” The archbishop believes the Church is “seeing the outgrowth of Francis’ unique ability to make the Gospel more practical and understandable.”

Pope Francis prays silently at the water’s edge at Lac Ste. Anne, during the papal visit to the Indigenous Peoples of Canada. (File photo by Michael Swan, The Catholic Register – CCN)

Pope Francis has not been without controversy, and while his comments can sometimes make people uncomfortable, Archbishop Miller says these are opportunities for growth. “I find the Holy Father quite often challenging,” said Miller, “because he puts things in new ways that I would not put it.”

Despite the discomfort Francis can provoke, “his emphasis on simplicity of life, on care for the poor and marginalized, can’t help but raise questions about one’s attention to those realities, and then the Church’s broader attention.”

When he thinks about the notable moments of Pope Francis’ papacy, certain images have been emblematic of the papacy’s unique connection to Christ. One is from the Urbi et Orbi (to the City and the World) blessing during the early days of the pandemic in March 2020.

“He was all alone,” said Miller. “I spent many years in Rome. I am used to seeing the pope in St. Peter’s Square with tens of thousands of people, and there is hubbub and clapping. But he was just alone with the Lord.”

For the archbishop of Vancouver, that scene of Pope Francis alone in St. Peter’s Square, illustrated the difficult-to-define relationship between Pope and Christ, summarized in the papal title “vicar of Christ.”

Pope Francis has not been a stranger to controversy, and much of the mainstream news coverage of his 10th anniversary has focused on hopes some people have for Francis as a reformer of Church teaching.

Regardless of the issue in question – be it women’s ordination or some other change of doctrine – Miller said the popular narrative built up around Pope Francis as a disappointing revolutionary misses the point.

“The Pope’s concern is really in the pastoral question,” he said. “How do we make the doctrine of the Church alive and joyful for people to receive?”

Ultimately, Miller said, the response should be gratitude.

“I think it’s a time for the Church to be grateful once again for the ministry of Peter that is now embodied in Pope Francis,” he said.

“[Pope Francis] really is the touchstone of the Church’s unity and it’s a blessing that we have such a touchstone. People might have wished he said more about this, or less about that, but in the long run, those are secondary to the important role in which to be Catholic is to be with Peter.”

There is “certainly room for human discussion about this or that, but at the bottom, at every Eucharist, we pray that we are in communion with Francis our Pope,” The archbishop said. “There is no Catholic Church without Peter.”

Pope Francis places flowers near a statue of Mary as he prays in the Little Chapel of the Apparitions at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal May 12, 2017. Pope Francis consecrated Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25, 2022. (CNS file photo by Paul Haring)


The post Pope Francis offers new development, not new direction – archbishop appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

City of Winnipeg plans to remove references to Bishop Grandin

Thu, 03/23/2023 - 12:37
Missionary bishop’s legacy under fire for residential school connection

By Quinton Amundson, The Catholic Register

[Toronto – Canadian Catholic News] – The Archdiocese of Winnipeg is taking a hand’s off approach as the Prairie city looks to erase the legacy of Bishop Vital-Justin Grandin from its map because of his association with Canada’s residential school system.

The City of Winnipeg executive policy committee recently reviewed a report proposing Bishop Grandin Boulevard, an expressway that runs through the districts of Fort Garry, St. Vital and St. Boniface, undergo a name change due to the complicated legacy of its namesake.

Bishop Grandin (1829-1902), who served as shepherd of the Diocese of St. Albert from 1871 until his death, is widely credited for being a vital builder of the Catholic Church’s presence in Western Canada. Since the initial reports in May 2021 by Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation of unmarked graves near a former residential school near Kamloops, B.C., Grandin’s legacy has faced intense scrutiny because of his public championing of Canada’s residential school system.

Winnipeg Archbishop Richard Gagnon explained in a statement why the Church is staying out of this matter.

“In response to recent developments in the City of Winnipeg regarding the renaming of public properties which were named after Bishop Vital-Justin Grandin, the Archdiocese of Winnipeg believes that this is a matter for public policy not Church policy,” wrote Gagnon.

“Properties such as Bishop Grandin Blvd. named after him were decisions taken by the City of Winnipeg or individual developers at the time. In recent years, there has been a focus on Bishop Grandin’s association with the residential school system in Canada and therefore a reconsideration of these previous decisions is now underway.”

The committee report proposes rechristening the road as Abinojii Mikanah, which translates from Ojibway as “children’s road.”

Grandin Street in St. Boniface and the Bishop Grandin Trail in Winnipeg would also be outfitted with new Cree names — Taapweewin Way and Awasisak Mēskanow. Taapweewin means “truth” in Michif, and Awasisak Mēskanow means “children’s road” in Cree.

A group of Indigenous elders, residential school survivors, knowledge keepers and youth participated in the naming process.

Winnipeg Mayor Scott Gillingham told CBC that renaming the streets is a better course of action than the contemplated alternative: to keep Grandin as the namesake and install accompanying informational signs that explain his complicated history.

“I think if we’re sincere about making the changes along the path of reconciliation … then we need to take actions that go beyond putting up panels that someone may or may not ever see to educate people,” said Gillingham. “If we’re going to take the calls to action seriously, then we need to act, and this, to me, is action.”

Many Canadian buildings and businesses have already stripped Grandin’s name. Calgary, Edmonton and St. Albert Catholic Schools voted to choose new designations for schools formerly associated with Grandin.

The City of Edmonton swapped Grandin LRT station for Government Centre station and removed a mural depicting the late bishop. Grandin Fish ‘n’ Chips in Edmonton rebranded as Prairie Fish ‘n’ Chips.


The post City of Winnipeg plans to remove references to Bishop Grandin appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

St. Joseph embodies mission God gave us

Thu, 03/23/2023 - 12:11
Canada’s patron personifies spirit of work, protection and faithfulness

By Michael Swan, The Catholic Register

Joe Grogan is proud of his working class origins in Toronto’s tough Parkdale neighbourhood. He’s proud of a lifetime of labour activism, following in the tradition of his father who was active in the Textile Workers Union of America throughout the 1940s and ’50s. Work and workers have also formed Grogan in his Catholic faith.

“Jesus as well as St. Joseph were workers — a reality very often overlooked. Furthermore all of the Apostles were fishermen, again members of a labouring class, one controlled by Imperial Rome,” Grogan told The Catholic Register in an email.

As a former teacher, one of the ways Grogan connects with St. Joseph is the idea of Joseph as the master carpenter who led Jesus through His apprenticeship, teaching Him the importance of doing things right, of care and attention on the job, instilling pride in the skills to be mastered.

To go along with St. Joseph’s life as a humble builder, Grogan came to understand Mary as a woman who came up from poverty. He saw that Jesus grew into manhood in the context of work and struggle.

On the Solemnity of St. Joseph March 19, Grogan’s prayers and imagination turn again to St. Joseph the Worker.

“Giving some attention to St. Joseph as a worker, I think it is really a commendable kind of objective,” Grogan said.

Pope Pius XII declared the humble, silent carpenter of the Gospels the patron saint of workers in 1955, when Grogan was a scholarship student at St. Michael’s College. At the time, as the Soviet Union became firmly entrenched as a world power and Marxist ideals were sweeping across young nations, Pope Pius boldly declared the feast of St. Joseph the Worker would be May 1, the same day workers and communists marched through European capitals parading banners to celebrate International Workers’ Day.

But St. Joseph already had a feast day, March 19, when all the aspects of St. Joseph as patron saint of the Universal Church, of fathers, expectant mothers, immigrants, engineers, tradespeople, the sellers of houses, and, not least, principal patron saint of Canada, are also celebrated.

As the saint most associated with workers and work, St. Joseph opens the way to a spirituality of work. That’s a spirituality particularly important to members of Opus Dei, like Isabelle Saint Maurice.

“Work is like our daily food,” Saint Maurice explains. “Whoever is working in the world, with whatever work, can do the same thing as St. Joseph — giving life to the mission that God gave humankind. The spirituality of Opus Dei is that we have been created to work. God wanted humankind to be happy in work.”

Whether working at a desk, at a sewing machine or on a construction site, members of Opus Dei understand their place of work as an altar.

“We sanctify the work, because work takes the importance of being an offering to God,” said Saint Maurice.

An attitude to work shaped by faith is very different from thinking of work as a transaction — X amount of drudgery and boredom in exchange for a weekly paycheque. St. Joseph helps Saint Maurice understand work differently.

“Joseph was involved in his daily work, giving himself to his daily work. For us in Opus Dei, work doesn’t bring us to be sad because of the fatigue, because of the effort we have to put in,” Saint Maurice explained. “We are collaborating in the redemption, giving to God the talents He gave to us, to love Him.”

An American transplanted to Montreal during COVID, St. Joseph’s Oratory Rector Fr. Michael Delaney has been thinking about the ways in which St. Joseph is the right patron saint for Canada — how he fits with Canada’s character and history. The association between St. Joseph and honest toil isn’t irrelevant to Canada’s story, said Delaney.

Canada was built with the hard work of ordinary people, and that has been celebrated at St. Joseph’s Oratory ever since the enormous shrine was a construction project in the middle of the Great Depression.

“All kinds of unions used to come here on Labour Day,” said Delaney. “He was seen as the patron saint of workers and when you think about it, that’s what makes Canada run.”

But Delaney also associates St. Joseph with Canada’s history as an immigrant nation — a country that has received wave after wave of people fleeing war, poverty and oppression. Like St. Joseph taking his young vulnerable family in the middle of the night on a perilous journey to Egypt, millions of Canadians have a refugee story somewhere in their family history.

“I think he’s kind of that figure for all people,” said Delaney.

In the modern, multicultural and multifaith context of Canada, St. Joseph speaks to all cultures and all faiths, said the Holy Cross Father. In his time at the Oratory, Delaney has greeted Hindus, Muslims and people of no faith who come in admiration of this image of constant, faithful fatherhood. “I think St. Joseph can pertain to all different religions and faiths as a kind of protective father and a revered father.”


The post St. Joseph embodies mission God gave us appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

Putting the Catholic in Catholic education

Thu, 03/23/2023 - 11:53
“Every class can and should be taught from a Catholic point of view”

By Michael Swan, The Catholic Register

[Toronto – Canadian Catholic News] – In his new book Educating for Eternity, Regina archdiocesan theologian Brett Salkeld insists that everything in every classroom can be Catholic.

The book aimed at Catholic teachers and school system administrators takes a bit of education jargon — “curriculum permeation” — and puts theological meat on its bones.

“The idea is, every class can and should be taught from a Catholic point of view,” said Salkeld.

The very existence of Catholic schools, particularly in Canada where the Catholic school boards are to varying degrees part of provincially funded public systems, depends on making sure science, math, history, gym and music are taught from a Catholic mindset, a Catholic worldview, said Salkeld.

“If we’re going to have Catholic education publicly funded in Canadian provinces, we need to be clear about what makes us unique,” said Salkeld. A religion class tacked onto the end of the student’s day just isn’t going to cut it.

“You actually want to have a Catholic school system that is different and has some way to justify its existence,” he said. “You need to have some clear sense of who you are and how that impacts what you’re doing, not just in religion class but across the curriculum.”

This is not actually a new idea, points out Institute for Catholic Education executive director Anne Jamieson in Hamilton, Ont. In an extended pastoral letter called This Moment of Promise — launched as a sort of charter for Ontario’s publicly funded Catholic schools in 1989, after Catholic school boards achieved full funding — Ontario’s bishops argued for “a distinctively Catholic vision of education that permeates every aspect of the learning process,” Jamieson said in an email.

More than 30 years on, Jamieson hopes Salkeld’s book will get teachers, principals and school superintendents focused again on the Catholic way to teach every subject and every child.

“Curriculum permeation lifts up important ideas such as the relationship of faith and reason, the interconnectedness of all creation and what it means to hold a sacramental worldview — and looks to the application of Catholic social teaching, for example, to our learning,” Jamieson said.

In Salkeld’s view, there’s nothing more dangerous than the presumption that math or reading or science are just neutral subject areas dictated by the broad public consensus represented in provincial curriculum documents.

“You are never teaching a subject from a neutral point of view. If you imagine you are teaching something from a neutral point of view, you’re actually importing a whole bunch of presuppositions that you haven’t examined,” he said.

“People just assume that math is neutral. Look, there are presuppositions behind why you think people should learn math, what you think math says about the intelligibility of the universe. There are presuppositions in the background one way or another. In a Catholic school, we should be intentional about those presuppositions.”

That doesn’t mean teaching math from St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica or turning every class into another opportunity to pound away at the Catechism.

“Science class deserves its proper methodology and to be treated as a science class,” Salkeld said, but imbuing the subject with a Catholic sense of an incarnate God who inhabits every atom in all of creation can be as simple as approaching the subject with wonder and awe.

“This is different from brainwashing. In fact, it’s the presumption of neutrality that is often a better prerequisite for brainwashing,” said Salkeld.

Doing what Salkeld suggests in Educating for Eternity demands access to a precious resource — Catholic teachers formed and trained to teach like Catholics.

The absence of a Catholic teachers’ college and reliance on a patchwork of professional development courses and teachers’ college electives has left the system with professionals who want to be good Catholic teachers but are uncertain about how to share their faith while doing their jobs.

“We say Catholic teachers don’t know their faith. Well, we literally have no institutions that are training them in this kind of thing,” Salkeld said. “We have a provincially approved Catholic studies curriculum (in Saskatchewan) and no training in our post-secondary institutions for teachers of Catholic studies. Can you imagine if that was physics?”

A presumption that there’s a wealth of young Catholic teachers who grew up in their parishes, praying novenas with their families, their wallets stuffed with prayer cards and travelling to World Youth Day as they reached adulthood does not amount to a plan for Catholic education in a very secular culture.

“The school systems are going to be a reflection of what the Church in society looks like,” Salkeld said. “Where are you going to get teachers from, if not from the ambient culture and the Church in the state that it’s in? That means the basic challenges we have in the Church more generally are going to show up in the schools. There’s no way around that.”

But naming the challenge is not the same as throwing in the towel. In his encounters with young teachers, Salkeld meets Catholics with a sense of vocation who fill him with hope.

“They’ve been in a culture where they haven’t had exposure to the Catholic worldview that they deserve to know. My book is trying to fill that gap,” he said.



The post Putting the Catholic in Catholic education appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

Medically-provided euthanasia for mental illness delayed; some want the expansion scrapped altogether

Thu, 03/23/2023 - 11:37

By Quinton Amundson, The Catholic Register

[Toronto – Canadian Catholic News] – The broadening of medically-provided euthanasia / assisted suicide to include those solely suffering from mental illness has officially been delayed by one year to March 17, 2024, though voices are rising to scrap any expansion altogether.

On March 9, the Canadian Senate approved Bill C-39, a piece of legislation crafted by Minister of Justice and Attorney General David Lametti, at third reading.

Mindful that Bill C-39 needed to be passed before March 17, the Senate studied it as a committee of the whole on March 8 to streamline the process. Lametti and Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos were on hand to explain the delay and answer questions from senators.

The federal government wants to put the brakes on expanding what is known as “medical assistance in dying (MAiD)” to the mentally ill for a year after a groundswell of opposition complained things were moving too fast with not enough study done on the issue.

In February, The Catholic Register reported the surge in public opposition to medically-provided death. A poll jointly released by the Angus Reid Institute and the non-partisan think tank Cardus revealed that only 31 per cent of 1,816 surveyed Canadians support this proposed expansion to include those suffering from mental illness. Fifty-one per cent directly oppose this course of action and 18 per cent indicated they are unsure of their stance.

However, the government presently only plans to delay the euthanasia expansion by one year, which saw Lametti challenged by Senator Donald Plett, leader of the official opposition in the upper chamber, as to why the government wants to implement this at all.

Plett questioned Lametti on the federal government’s stated commitment to continuing down this road of expanding medically-provided death, particularly citing a lack of wholesale support from the Canadian medical community.

“Minister, when there is absolutely no professional consensus among experts that this can be done safely, why would your government even consider continuing with this radical expansion?” Plett asked. “Why not listen to the experts and abandon this policy altogether, especially given the consequences of getting this wrong are so dire?”

Lametti told the senator, “I disagree on most counts.”

“First of all, this is a law that is already passed. We’re only temporarily delaying its implementation. It would be extremely disrespectful to both houses of Parliament, but in particular this honoured house, Mr. Plett, to turn around and reverse exactly what it did only two years ago, and the expertise that was shown by committee in this house.”

He also maintained that the committee that provided guidelines for the government ensured “that the only kinds of mental disorders that are eligible for MAiD are those where there is a longstanding path of care with a psychiatrist, and in which all sorts of things have tried and failed.”

Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre has called for a permanent moratorium on expanding medically-provided death to the mentally ill as well. He said the Liberals are ignoring the growing number of experts who say euthanasia expansion is risking the lives of Canada’s most vulnerable.

“Canadians struggling with mental health deserve hope and treatment,” said Poilievre. “Instead of working to provide Canadians with a life worth living the Liberals have given up on the most vulnerable.”

Moira McQueen, the executive director of the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute, wrote that people who oppose assisted suicide must continue pressing their case passionately during this one-year window.

“Those who oppose euthanasia want all relevant legislation to be repealed, including the changes made in 2021,” said McQueen. “Those who see the purported safeguards as inadequate and who fear that people with mental illnesses can neither properly assess the implications of the procedures nor be capable of giving full consent, must continue to press those points in an effort to further postpone procedures or delay them permanently, while calling for repeal. There is currently some momentum in society to do so, and we should make efforts to maintain it. “

Conservative MP Ed Fast introduced Bill C-314 on Feb. 10, which proposes a permanent abandonment of offering euthanasia to the solely mentally ill. Currently Fast’s private member’s proposal is outside the order of precedence so it is unclear when it will undergo second reading debate.



The post Medically-provided euthanasia for mental illness delayed; some want the expansion scrapped altogether appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

Dealing with abuse a work in progress

Thu, 03/23/2023 - 11:29

By Michael Swan, The Catholic Register

[Toronto – Canadian Catholic News] – Publishing the names of credibly accused child sex abusers, as Canada’s Jesuit Fathers did March 12, is one small step toward creating a better Church, but it’s not enough for abuse survivor John Swales.

For Swales, who was sexually exploited by Fr. Barry Glendinning between 1969 and 1974 in London, Ont., transparency about past sexual abuse is a good first step. But transparency must be accompanied by accountability, Swales told The Catholic Register.

“The question that needs to be answered is, ‘Why? Why are we here? What are we going to do about it?’ Accountability really reigns high,” he said. “If the question is, ‘Would that build a better Church?’ Absolutely.”

Swales won’t get an argument from Canada’s most recognized expert on clerical sexual abuse, Sr. Nuala Kenny.

“Transparency and accountability are key in atonement and developing a culture of safeguarding,” she said in an e-mail. “We are slowly learning how to implement them.”

Since serving on the Winter Commission that investigated the Mount Cashel child sexual abuse scandal in Newfoundland in 1989, Kenny has watched Church leadership slowly walk away from its impulse  to secrecy.

“There is no question that secrecy, silence, denial and cover-up are at the heart of all sexual abuse. They take a particular turn when the offender is a cleric, an Alter Christus, because sexual abuse is an abuse of power, position, trust and conscience,” Kenny said.

It’s in that context that Kenny praises the Canadian Jesuits’ decision to publish the names of credibly accused abusers gleaned from 70 years of the order’s records.

“Canada’s Jesuits have acted with justice and prudence by publicly naming abusers in the order,” she said.

Related: Diocese of Saskatoon releases historical review in July 2021

That such facts will be public and should be public is increasingly accepted among religious orders. For the Benedictines of Westminster Abbey in Mission, B.C., an hour’s drive east of Vancouver, conducting an audit and publishing names aren’t really an issue, said Abbot Alban Riley.

“Our small size means we don’t need an audit,” the Abbot said in an e-mail to The Catholic Register. “The only member accused, Fr. Placidus Sander, has been published by the Vancouver Archdiocese as part of their disclosure, because we run the Archdiocesan seminary.”

For the Basilian Fathers, an international order headquartered in Toronto, it’s a little more complicated. For the last 17 years the Basilians have entrusted monitoring their sexual abuse policies and management of cases to an outside consulting company that specializes in sexual abuse policies in all sorts of organizations, religious and secular. The Basilians’ contract with Praesidium Inc., based in Arlington, Tex., effectively subjects the order to a permanent audit.

“The decision to release a list of those credibly accused is very complicated,” Basilian superior general Fr. Kevin Storey said in an e-mail.

While that complicated question remains open, Storey points to significant safeguarding and accountability now baked into Basilian life. “Since 1992, all candidates for the Basilian Fathers must pass psychological screening by independent assessors and have annual reviews and growth plans,” Storey said.

Without question and without hesitation, the Basilians call the police and co-operate in all legal investigations whenever one of their own is accused, said Storey.

They also call in a review board of lay professionals to review incidents, even if they don’t rise to the level of a police investigation.

For the Canadian Oblates of Lacombe Province, who operated 48 of Canada’s infamous residential schools, naming names is only one part of providing greater transparency — though it’s a step they haven’t taken yet.

“Over the last year, we have heard calls for additional transparency and are actively reviewing how other religious entities —including the Jesuits — have approached additional disclosures,” provincial superior Fr. Ken Thorson told The Catholic Register in an e-mail. “With an aim to identifying any possible improvements that balance the need for transparency and respect for victims’ right to privacy.”

That said, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate “support any victim or survivor who chooses to do so (publicly name their abuser) and expect secular authorities to report any charges and convictions,” Thorson said.

While there are many legal questions around going public with the names of abusers, lawyer Mary Margaret MacKinnon doesn’t believe that victim privacy or possible re-traumatizing of victims is the big issue.

“There may be the occasional victim who feels traumatized by seeing a photo of somebody, but I’ve worked with lots of victims groups as well and they would say the value of having some information about these people so we can move forward with our healing far outweighs the few people who can just not look at that picture again. I don’t buy that,” MacKinnon told The Catholic Register.

MacKinnon, of Guild Yule LLP, headed up the Archdiocese of Vancouver’s 2019 audit of nearly 80 years of abuse files, and has consulted with religious orders across Canada on similar audits. The big issue when it comes to publishing names is a clear definition of “credibly accused.”

“It’s not 51 per cent. It’s going to be something where you have some solid basis for believing those allegations are true,” MacKinnon said.

How we define “credibly accused” matters even more if the people named are still alive. The threat of libel action is not insubstantial, particularly in Canada where there is no First Amendment-free speech right to hide behind. There’s also the issue of provinces, such as British Columbia, which have Protection of Individual Privacy Acts (PIPA) that enshrine privacy rights in the law. Even in provinces that don’t have PIPA legislation, a reasonable right to privacy is part of common law and will be given deference in courts.

Gregorian University psychology professor and Pope Francis’ point man on sexual abuse, Jesuit Fr. Hans Zollner, is in favour of publishing names when possible.

“Publishing the names of offenders can become an opportunity for the Catholic Church to confront its past in order to better its future,” Zollner told The Catholic Register in an e-mail. “The act of recognizing not only those who have betrayed their ministry, but also how abuse was allowed to continue without accountability can help dioceses and religious communities enact the necessary means to prevent it from happening again and to fully endorse much-needed protocols and guidelines to protect minors and vulnerable adults.”

The legal landscape around the world doesn’t always make this possible. “North Americans are quite surprised when they learn that, according to data protection law, the publication of full names even of convicted criminals is not allowed in the European Union, with some exceptions, let alone the names of persons who are alleged or credibly accused offenders,” Zollner said.

The Church also faces significant cultural barriers in parts of the world where it is a large presence and growing — Africa and Latin America.

“Sexuality and especially sexual misconduct very often isn’t spoken about in families or society, either due to shame or because it is considered a taboo subject,” Zollner said. He fears a future in which the media and courts will force transparency on reluctant Church institutions.

“It is imperative that individual bishops’ conferences and dioceses present in those regions find an effective way to respond to victims and to be transparent and accountable, in full accordance with the laws of states or countries, and help to modify cultural barriers around such society/family/Church secrets,” he said.


The post Dealing with abuse a work in progress appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

Celebrating 55 years of Solidarity through Development and Peace: Responding to Typhoon Haiyan

Mon, 03/20/2023 - 14:52

[Note: Gwen Stang, the Development and Peace- Caritas Canada (DPCC) representative at St. Mary Parish in Macklin for about three decades, recently retired from this position.  A story which touched her heart involved an exposure trip to the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan by some members from Saskatchewan whom she knew. One of the participants in that exposure trip, Norm Lipinski of St. Philip Neri Parish in Saskatoon, has written this story.]

By Norman Lipinski

Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines in November 2013. The eastern island of Samar bore the brunt of the storm. The storm surge hit the city of Tacloban, washing ships onto shore and people out to sea. Many hundreds took shelter in the basketball arena. When the storm surge hit, the arena filled with water and those people drowned.

We arrived in Manilla in June, 2014, a group from Saskatchewan and the Maritimes.

We visited partners in the area, concentrating on groups working on housing. Land ownership in the Philippines is concentrated in the hands of a few old Spanish settler families; the vast majority of people are tenant farmers or squat on public land. One particular partner had organized a group to resist relocation by the government and had managed to negotiate new housing in the area, rather than being transported many kilometres away from their schools and livelihoods. This initiative bore the later idea of Pope Francis village.

We also visited sites in Samar and witnessed firsthand the destruction caused by Haiyan. Six months after the storm, people were still housed in United Nations tents that were designed to last 90 days. The heat and humidity were very high, so conditions were poor.

One group we visited had started a garden of hope. All the women involved had lost someone in the storm – parents, husbands, children.  In the garden they grew food for themselves but also talked to each other and worked through the trauma of their experience.


(Photo courtesy of the Lipinski family)

We also attended the opening of a village of new housing funded by Development and Peace – Caritas Canada (DPCC) and the Canadian government. Because land ownership is a problem, the houses were designed to be easily moved if the landowners change their minds and want the land for another purpose.

All in all, the trip gave me a far more clear idea of how effective is the partnership model of DPCC empowering people to advocate for a better life for themselves and for their children.

(Photo courtesy of the Lipinski family)

A documentary video about this project, “After the Storm:  Building the Pope Francis Village” can be viewed at


Related: Ready, Set – CREATE HOPE – Link to Reflection

Related: Celebrating 55 years of Solidarity – Walkathon 1968 for CCODP – Link to Reflection

Related: Celebrating 55 years of Solidarity through Development and Peace – Link to Reflection about Share the Journey 2019

Related: Celebrating 55 years of Solidarity through Development and Peace: Canadians and the Brazil’s Landless People (Sem Terra)

Related: Celebrating 55 years of Solidarity through Development and Peace: Fun Food Funds and the Box Lunch Auction

A historical note:

“In 1967, the Canadian bishops launched the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace as a creative new way to assist the poor and oppressed peoples of the world in  their struggle for justice…To realize this vision, the new organization devoted many of its resources to building an integrated social movement that educated Canadians about global injustice and mobilized them for action…The origins of Development and Peace were at the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).  Working closely with their colleagues from Latin America, Africa and Asia, the Canadian bishops became increasingly aware of the massive poverty and systemic injustices that confronted the developing world…”  –  Page 13 of the book Jubilee, 50 Years of Solidarity by Peter Baltutis.



The post Celebrating 55 years of Solidarity through Development and Peace: Responding to Typhoon Haiyan appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

In Exile – “Binding and Loosing”

Mon, 03/20/2023 - 07:01
Binding and Loosing

By Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI

Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. These words of Jesus apply not just to those who are ordained to ministry and administer the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but to everyone inside the body of Christ. All of us have the power to bind and to loose.

What is this power? How do we bind and loose each other on earth in a way that engages heaven?

One part of this allows for some easier explanation. Here’s an example:  If you are a member of the Body of Christ and you forgive someone, Christ forgives that person and he or she is loosed from sin. Likewise, if you, as part of the Body of Christ, love someone and remain connected to him or her, that person is connected to the Body of Christ and through you (biblically) touches the hem of Christ’s garment, even if he or she is not explicitly confessing that. That is one of the incredible gifts given us in the Incarnation.

But what about the reverse? Suppose I refuse to forgive someone who has wounded me in some way; suppose I hold grudges and refuse to let go of the wrong that another has done to me, am I binding that person in sin? Does God also refuse to forgive and let go because I refuse to forgive and let go? How does the Body of Christ work regarding the “binding” part of the power that Jesus gave us?

This is a difficult question, though a couple of preliminary distinctions can shed some light on the issue.

To begin with, the logic of grace – and grace, like love, has a logic  – only works one way. In grace, just as in love, you can be gifted beyond what you deserve, but the reverse is not true. The algebra of undeserved grace works only one way. Love can give you more than you deserve, but it cannot punish you more than you deserve. God gives us the power to set each other free, but not the same kind of power to keep each other in bondage.

Second, in this life, as C.S. Lewis used to say, hell can blackmail heaven, but this is not true in the other realm. Thus, while we can hold each other captive, psychologically, and emotionally, on this side, God does not ratify those actions.

When we bind each other here in this world by refusing to forgive each other, that refusal does not bind God to do likewise.

Put more simply, when I hold a grudge against someone who has wronged me, keeping him constantly aware that he has done wrong, I am keeping that person tied to their sin – but God isn’t endorsing this. Heaven will not go along with my emotional blackmail.

These distinctions though provide only an ambience for an understanding of this. What does it mean to bind a person?

The Christian power to bind and loose is the power to bind and loose in conscience, in truth, in goodness, and in love. When I refuse to forgive another, when I hold a grudge, I am acting not as the Body of Christ, nor as an agent of grace, but precisely as part of the very chain of sin and helplessness that Christ was trying to break. When I act this way, it is I who need to be loosed from sin since I am acting contrary to grace. My non-forgiveness may well bind another person emotionally, keeping her bound in that way to her sin, but it is the very antithesis of the power that Christ gave us.

Biblically, we bind each other when, in love, we refuse to compromise truth and when we refuse to give each other permission to take false liberties and make bad choices. Thus, for example, parents bind their children when they, lovingly but clearly, refuse to give them permission to ignore Christ’s teaching on marriage and sexuality. We bind a friend when we refuse to give him our approval to cheat in his business in order to make more money. A friend binds you when she refuses to bless your moral compromises.

In Robert Bolt’s play, A Man for All Seasons, we see Henry VIII literally beg Thomas More to bless his marriage to Anne Boleyn. Henry appeals to their friendship, appeals to their shared humanity, and tries to morally bully Thomas by telling him that his refusal to approve is timidity and arrogance. Yet Thomas refuses to approve. He binds Henry in conscience and Henry knows he is bound. In the end, he kills Thomas for his refusal to compromise and give permission, to (biblically) loose him.

Ever since God took on concrete human flesh, grace has a visible human dimension. Heaven is watching earth – and is letting itself be helped by the best of what we do down here, but not bound by the worst of what we do down here.


Oblate Father Ron Rolheiser is a theologian, teacher, and award-winning author. He can be contacted through his website He is also on Facebook

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

The post In Exile – “Binding and Loosing” appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

Catholic health places the emphasis on “care”

Sat, 03/18/2023 - 20:50

By Peter Oliver, Catholic Health Association of Saskatchewan

The more things change the more things remain the same.

The founding story of Catholic health care in Saskatchewan and many other places in the world is rooted in “care.”  Hospitals cared for people who were sick.  As science and technology proved more and more beneficial a change occurred.  The ministry of health shifted from “care” to “cure.”  The work of doctors and nurses became the labour of lifesaving interventions.  While that change is likely to remain with us, it is clear that Catholic health is again placing an emphasis on “care.”

As present-day lingo puts it, our vision of Catholic Health is moving upstream. It’s a shift that places the emphasis on wellness as opposed to sickness.  Responses that consider the “social determinants of health” – things such as housing and social supports – are getting increased attention.  For this reason, a March 2 meeting of Canadian Catholic bishops and the Governing Council for the Catholic Health Alliance of Canada (CHAC) engaged in presentations and discussions focused on homelessness, exploring examples of faith-based property innovation and the full engagement of Indigenous people in applying for grants from the Indigenous Reconciliation Fund.

What is exciting and critically important in these changes is the value of building a strong relationship between the Catholic faith community and Catholic Health.  National Catholic Health Care Week (NCHCW) brings a focus to these efforts, and it also received attention at the March 2 meeting.  NCHCW helps to tell the story of Catholic Health Care across the country which is entirely consistent with CHAS’ mission.  The next NCHCW week will be Feb. 4 to Feb. 10, 2024.

While keeping a steady focus on realities that impact Catholic Health across the country, CHAS’ convention strengthens Catholic health in the province.

The 2023 CHAS gathering will be our 80th convention and it will also give attention to the “upstream” issues of wellness. The convention will take place on Thursday Oct. 26 and Friday Oct. 27, and is titled “Holistic Care: Healing Through Spirit, Story and Song.”

The anchoring words that are guiding our plans for the CHAS convention include relevant, hospitable and enriching.  Presenters focusing on the theme of the convention will draw attention to the innovative work being done by Catholic Health throughout the country, highlight advocacy being done for long-term care and celebrate the journey of healing brought about by Truth and Reconciliation initiatives.  Marking the importance of Catholic Health with the CHAS convention in October and NCHCW in February offers two excellent opportunities to support the relationship between the Catholic community and Catholic Health.

At a presentation I attended last year, Scott Irwin, CEO of Emmanuel Care, observed, “Whatever happens, we know that Catholic Health Care isn’t going away.”

Indeed, the more things change the more certain we can be that the leadership from our care facilities, the bishops of our Catholic dioceses and eparchies, and the faithful of our communities are committed to the healing ministry of Jesus Christ.  We don’t do it to be impressive, but it is impressive because it is rooted in the love of God whose ultimate concern is not “cure” but rather health, reconciliation, and the fullness of life in all that we do.


The post Catholic health places the emphasis on “care” appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

Celebrating 55 years of Solidarity through Development and Peace: Fun Food Funds and the Box Lunch Auction

Tue, 03/14/2023 - 21:52

By Louise Bitz

When Development and Peace was first initiated in 1967 in schools and churches across Canada the staff at Holy Cross High School were quick to embrace both the education and fund-raising component of D&P as integral to the faith development of young people.

All kinds of creative ideas emerged to raise funds for D&P’s partners in the Global South, and the students always had a great spirit of fun doing it. I remember the elaborate cake auctions and the penny races in particular.

Immersed in the spiritual as it was, Lent was also a fun time where students saw themselves as part of a bigger global community in the church.

When I returned as chaplain to the school in 2000, it seemed like an opportune time to initiate a new Lenten fund-raiser. Thus began a 19-year ride with the Box Lunch Auction.

The idea originated decades ago at E.D. Feehan High School. To successfully do a Box Lunch Auction takes a lot of commitment, cooperation, organization, energy, momentum, creativity, and generosity from staff and students. This took hold through the years, and gained its own significant traction and spirit, such that “the thing” for the graduating class of each year was to ensure that the total raised for the auction was higher than the year before. For over ten years, the total raised each year was between $22,000 and $43,000. We topped out at $43,357 one year.

But it wasn’t just about the money. The Box Lunch Auction created a deep feeling of community and unity in the school – for that one day, we were all on one page and celebrated together. The joy and excitement in the air was palpable.

The lunches were creatively conceived and named:  Cheeses of Nazareth, Life of Pie, Charlie and the Chocolate Fondue, Banana Rama Bananza, Around the World in 60 Minutes, The Breakfast Club, Alice in Wonderland Tea Party, Disney Princess Party, to name a few.

There were Hoedowns, Patio Parties, Hawaiian Luau’s, Dance Parties, Bouncy Castles, Dad Barbecues and a host of other fun gatherings.

A few highlights that will forever remain in my memory:  in 2002, only the second year of the auction, I saw a group of four Grade 12 boys bid $100 for a $20 Macdonald’s lunch; then I knew they understood what this was about.

(Submitted photo courtesy of Louise Bitz)

In 2006, the Grade 12’s successfully bid and won their lunch for $7,000, but had raised $11,330, so a group of them stood up exuberantly with a sign that gave their $11,330 bid, even though it was $4,000 over what they already won. I remember the gasps in the crowd.

That was a significant moment. From then on the auction really became a rallying cry for the students and staff to step up in a big way for Development and Peace.

All grades engaged with excitement and collegial spirit to make this day one of the best days in the school year. It was really about engaging in some creative fun to help bring life to God’s dream for greater justice and peace in the world.

I remember a conversation I had the day after the auction with a young man in Grade 12 who worked part-time at the Coop gas station. On the morning of the auction, I had seen him running into the school and asked him what the rush was.  He said he had just emptied his bank account and had to get the money to the table where the Grade 12s were pooling their bid.   The day after, as he was filling up my car at the Co-op, I asked him out of genuine curiosity, “Today, how do you feel about emptying your bank account yesterday?”  And I will never forget the look on his face.  With a wide grin he said “I feel GREAT!”

And that, my friends, is how the grace of God works in the hearts of our beautiful young people and testifies to the spirit of generosity with Development and Peace that took hold at Holy Cross for many decades.

Related: Ready, Set – CREATE HOPE – Link to Reflection

Related: Development and Peace – Link to YOUTH info

Related: Celebrating 55 years of Solidarity – Walkathon 1968 for CCODP – Link to Reflection

Related: Celebrating 55 years of Solidarity through Development and Peace – Link to Reflection about Share the Journey 2019

Related: Celebrating 55 years of Solidarity through Development and Peace: Canadians and the Brazil’s Landless People (Sem Terra)

A historical note:

“In 1967, the Canadian bishops launched the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace as a creative new way to assist the poor and oppressed peoples of the world in  their struggle for justice…To realize this vision, the new organization devoted many of its resources to building an integrated social movement that educated Canadians about global injustice and mobilized them for action…The origins of Development and Peace were at the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).  Working closely with their colleagues from Latin America, Africa and Asia, the Canadian bishops became increasingly aware of the massive poverty and systemic injustices that confronted the developing world…”  –  Page 13 of the book Jubilee, 50 Years of Solidarity by Peter Baltutis.





The post Celebrating 55 years of Solidarity through Development and Peace: Fun Food Funds and the Box Lunch Auction appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

In Exile – “Losing a Loved One To Suicide”

Mon, 03/13/2023 - 07:06
Losing a Loved One To Suicide

By Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI

New York Times columnist David Brooks recently wrote an article about a lifelong friend who died by suicide. In describing his friend and his descent into a suicidal illness, Brooks sheds some needed light on how we still have a long way to go in our understanding of suicide. (New York Times, February 9, 2023)

His friend, Peter, seemed a most unlikely candidate to die by suicide. He had a wonderful marriage, two loving sons, a warm circle of friends, and a fulfilling career as a doctor within which he took a lot of satisfaction in helping others. He was also physically healthy, active and athletic. Yet, at point, he began sink into a crushing depression before which all the love in the world stood helpless. Eventually, he took his own life.

What Brooks highlights in documenting his friend’s journey should be required reading for everyone. What does he highlight?

First, that in most cases, suicide is an illness. People don’t choose to sink into this kind of depression any more than people choose to have cancer, diabetes, or a heart condition. They are hit with an illness, and they cannot will themselves out of it any more than someone with a major physical illness can cure himself or herself through simple willpower and attitude. You don’t just will your way out of a suicidal depression. Moreover, suicidal depression is not something that any of us, as outsiders, really understand.

Second, the depression is horrible, the ultimate nightmare.

Note how William Styron describes his own depression in his memoir, Darkness Visible, “I experienced a curious inner convulsion that I can only describe as despair beyond despair. It came out of the cold night; I did not think such anguish possible.” Then, the suffering is compounded by the fact that part of the anatomy of the disease (most times) is that the person undergoing it finds it impossible to articulate what the pain exactly consists of. Hence, they are alone inside it, unanimity-minus-one, and with that alone-ness comes the overpowering feeling that one is doing a favour to family and friends by removing oneself through suicide.

Moreover, in the face of suicidal depression, medicine and psychiatry can be helpful but they are limited in effectively treating this kind of depression.

What should we do when we are dealing with someone who is undergoing this kind of paralyzing depression? In trying to answer that, it can be helpful to start with the via negativa – what shouldn’t we do?

Brooks shares some of his sincere, but ultimately misguided, efforts to reach his friend. For example, he reminded Peter of all the wonderful blessings he enjoyed and how blessed his life was. Later he realized that “this might make sufferers feel even worse about themselves for not being able to enjoy all the things that are palpably enjoyable.” As well, we should not ask the person if he is thinking of hurting himself. The person is already hurting so badly that everything inside of him wants only to stop the pain, and suicide is perceived as the only means of doing that.

What should we do? Brooks is clear: “The experts say if you know someone who is depressed, it’s OK to ask explicitly about suicide. The experts emphasize that you’re not going to be putting the thought into the person’s head. Very often, it’s already on her or his mind. And if it is, the person should be getting professional help.” Experts also agree that we should take the risk and ask the person openly if he or she is thinking of suicide. If the person isn’t thinking about suicide, he or she will forgive you for asking; but if he or she is thinking of suicide and you are too timid to ask, your timidity might stand in the way of saving that person’s life.

Brooks points out that despite all the work that has been done in medicine and psychology in recent years, suicide rates today are 30 percent higher than they were even 20 years ago and one in five American adults experiences mental illness.

My own life has been much affected by suicide, the suicide of relatives, friends, neighbours, colleagues, classmates, former students, and trusted mentors. In my experience, in every one of these deaths, the person who died was a good, honest, gentle, sensitive, and over-sensitive soul who, at a point in his or her life, was too bruised, too full of pain, and too overpowered by illness to continue to live. Each of these deaths also left behind a tragic sadness that was massively compounded by our lack of understanding of what really caused this person’s death.

In his assessment of his friend’s suicide, Brooks says that in the end “the beast was bigger than Pete; it was bigger than us.” It still is. Simply put, we are still a long way from understanding mental health and its fragility.


Oblate Father Ron Rolheiser is a theologian, teacher, and award-winning author. He can be contacted through his website He is also on Facebook

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

The post In Exile – “Losing a Loved One To Suicide” appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

Pope Francis: There is no option to be passive Catholics when it comes to evangelization

Fri, 03/10/2023 - 10:26

By Courtney Mares, Catholic News Agency

[Vatican City – CNA] – Pope Francis says that there is no option to be “passive subjects” when it comes to evangelization, because every baptized Catholic has a mission to actively proclaim the Gospel.

“There are not those who preach, those who proclaim the Gospel in one way or another, and those who keep silent. No. Every baptized person … whatever his position in the Church or level of education in the faith, is an active subject of evangelization,” he said on March 8, 2023.

“Are you Christian? ‘Yes, I received baptism …’ And do you evangelize?” the pope asked.

“By virtue of the baptism received and the consequent incorporation into the Church, every baptized person participates in the mission of the Church and, in it, in the mission of Christ the king, priest, and prophet,” he said.

In his weekly Wednesday audience in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis encouraged Catholics to reflect on the Second Vatican Council’s decree on missionary activity, Ad gentes (To the nations), which he said “reminds us that it is the task of the Church to continue the mission of Christ, who was ‘sent to preach the Gospel to the poor.’”

Quoting Ad gentes, he said: “‘The Church, prompted by the Holy Spirit, must walk in the same path on which Christ walked: a path of poverty and obedience, of service and self-sacrifice to the death, from which death he came forth a victor by his resurrection.’”

Pope Francis added that preaching the Gospel should be done in community and should never be a solitary or individualistic task independent of the Church.

“Today we listen to the Second Vatican Council to discover that evangelizing is always an ecclesial service, never solitary, never isolated or individualistic,” he said.

The Holy Father also warned of the temptation to follow “easier pseudo-ecclesial paths” or to “adopt the worldly logic of numbers and polls.”

The pope underlined that evangelizing the faith that one has received from the Church ensures “the authenticity of Christian proclamation.” He added that evangelization should always be done “in the community and without proselytizing because that is not evangelization.”

The livestreamed address was the seventh in Pope Francis’ cycle of catechesis on “the passion for evangelization” and the first general papal audience held outdoors in 2023.

Children joined Pope Francis in the popemobile as it made its way around St. Peter’s Square as pilgrims from around the world waved and cheered.

International Women’s Day March 8

At the end of the audience, Pope Francis shared a message for International Women’s Day, a day of commemoration adopted by the United Nations in 1977.

“On International Women’s Day, I think of all women: I thank them for their commitment to building a more humane society through their ability to grasp reality with a creative gaze and tender heart. This is a privilege of women alone! A special blessing for all the women in the piazza. And a round of applause for the women. They deserve it!” Francis said.

The pope also encouraged people to continue praying for war-torn Ukraine during Lent.

“In these days of Lent, let us walk even more courageously in Christ’s footsteps, trying to imitate his humility and fidelity to the divine will,” he said.

“And please, dear brothers and sisters, do not forget the pain of the martyred Ukrainian people, they suffer so much. Let us always have them present in our hearts and prayers.”

The post Pope Francis: There is no option to be passive Catholics when it comes to evangelization appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

Morality and the Market

Fri, 03/10/2023 - 10:14

By Michael Swan, The Catholic Register

[Toronto – Canadian Catholic News] – Individually, economists need to be saved as much as any other poor sinner. Collectively, the rest of us need to be saved from the fallen state of economics, says Catholic economist Tony Annett.

“Economics is basically part of political economy, which is part of ethics,” said Annett, author of the newly published book Cathonomics from Georgetown University Press. “But modern economics has completely lost that mooring. You can’t discuss economics without discussing morality at the same time.”

Annett is the rare economist unafraid of talking about morals and the market.

In Cathonomics, he gets an assist from the last 130 years of papal encyclicals. Cathonomics is about economics, but it examines the economic life of nations and individuals through the lens of Catholic social teaching.

“It basically uses the encyclicals from Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum (1891), all the way through to Pope Francis’ Fratelli Tutti (2020),” Annett said. “It’s kind of heavily tilted towards the magisterium of Pope Francis, given that that’s our current Pope.”

Injecting the encyclicals into how we think and talk about economics is Annett’s way of recovering the original, moral purposes of his discipline, so that economics might become more useful to society as a whole, rather than a tool of the wealthy to preserve their advantage.

“Part of our problem in modern society is that our economics have gone completely off the rails, with excessive individualism and competition and principles that don’t accord with the deepest truths of our human nature,” he said. “People are looking for an alternative. I’m saying, ‘There’s a ready-made alternative in clear view that has been around for the last 130 years. It’s called Catholic social teaching.’ ”

Annett is not alone in bemoaning the state of orthodox, mainstream, classical economics. Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman has pointed out that economic models that assume consumers are rational actors whose desires and spending will naturally lead to the most good for the most people are simply wrong.

“I think economists have a moral responsibility to be more than just technicians. They have to recognize the limits of their models and recognize that their models have a certain incompleteness. They have to recognize that the people who use their models are going to be looking at what they say as advice, and that advice has implications for the well-being of people,” Kahneman told The New Yorker magazine in 2011.

But technicians is what Annett sees coming out of faculties of economics and business schools everywhere.

“They prioritize people who can solve tricky math problems with very little relevance to the lives of people,” he said. “In my view, economics should be about the well-being of people. And it used to be about the well-being of people. But I wonder if it is anymore.”

As early as 1958 Canadian economist John Kenneth Galbraith, writing in The Affluent Society, recognized how economics had become hammer and tongs for a particular political persuasion.

“The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy — that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness,” Galbraith wrote.

Modern popes have not recognized any of the proposed superior moral justifications for selfishness.

“Development is impossible without upright men and women, without financiers and politicians whose consciences are finely attuned to the requirements of the common good,” Pope Benedict XVI wrote in Caritas in Veritate (2009). “Both professional competence and moral consistency are necessary.”

In Fratelli Tutti Pope Francis argues that political and moral choices must shape our economies.
“We cannot expect economics to do this, nor can we allow economics to take over the real power of the state,” Francis wrote.

For Francis, the cost of a world, a culture or a nation dancing to the tune of markets is too great.

“We are more alone than ever in an increasingly massified world that promotes individual interests and weakens the communitarian dimension of life,” he writes. “Indeed, there are markets where individuals become mere consumers and bystanders.”

Libertarianism — a kind of radical individualism promoted through an ideology of free markets — has obscured the traditional Catholic belief in the universal destination of goods, said Annett.

“There are certain libertarian Catholics who would lean much more towards an absolutist view of property rights,” he said.

According to Pope Francis and going back at least as far as Pope Pius XI, property rights are secondary rights that take a back seat to the common good, said Annett. Or as Pope Benedict XVI wrote in Caritas in Veritate: “In and of itself, the market is not, and must not become, the place where the strong subdue the weak.”

In Cathonomics, Annett said that he wants to speak to Catholics and non-Catholics “who are interested in a different, more humane set of principles on which to manage and operate a global economy.”



The post Morality and the Market appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

United Nations reconciliation review skips Catholic bishops

Fri, 03/10/2023 - 10:00
Special Rapporteur meets ‘relevant stakeholders’ on UNDRIP – CCCB would welcome meeting

By Michael Swan, The Catholic Register

[Toronto – Canadian Catholic News] – Canada’s relationship with Indigenous people is getting a check-up and Canada’s Catholic bishops want to be part of it. Whether or not they get the chance is still up in the air.

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, José Francisco Cali Tzay, began a 10-day tour of five Canadian provinces March 1.

Cali Tzay, a Mayan Cakchiquel from Guatemala, has a mandate from the UN to report on how well countries are complying with their obligations under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

Canada formally incorporated UNDRIP into Canadian law June 21, 2021.

Cali Tzay will meet with Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller, representatives of all three national Indigenous political organizations — the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Metis National Council — along with judges, human rights organizations, civil society and “relevant stakeholders.”

But so far there’s been no meeting scheduled with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB).

“We have not received an invitation to meet with the UN Rapporteur,” CCCB general secretary Fr. Jean Vézina told The Catholic Register in an email, though the CCCB “would welcome the opportunity.”

Given the chance, the bishops would “share with him our commitment as a Church to walking with Indigenous peoples toward truth, justice, healing, reconciliation and hope,” he said.

Graydon Nicholas —Wolastoqey Indigenous elder, chancellor of St. Thomas University and member of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle — told The Catholic Register the bishops should get some face time with Cali Tzay.

“I’m a very strong advocate of them meeting with (Cali Tzay),” Nicholas said. “It would be a very good idea if they took along some Catholic Indigenous spokespersons.”

A month ago, in pastoral letters to Indigenous Canadians, the bishops committed themselves to “accompanying you in the pursuit of justice for your peoples, in the spirit of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and of Catholic Social Teaching.”

But Nicholas points out that the Church commitment to UNDRIP goes back much further.

Just months after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission issued 94 Calls to Action in 2015, the CCCB released an eight-page response to Call to Action #48, which asked the Church “to formally adopt and comply with the principles, norms and standards of the United Nations Declaration.”

The Holy See has repeatedly endorsed the principles of UNDRIP. Pope Francis committed the Catholic Church in Canada to UNDRIP in his July 27 address at the Citadelle de Quebec.

“The Holy See and the local Catholic communities are concretely committed to promoting the Indigenous cultures through specific and appropriate forms of spiritual accompaniment that include attention to their cultural traditions, customs, languages and educational processes, in the spirit of the United Nations Declaration,” Pope Francis said.

Working in the spirit of UNDRIP is something Canadian Catholics should take very seriously, said Regina Archbishop Donald Bolen.

“The UN Declaration is a road map to a healthier and more just society,” Bolen said in an email.

“The Church desires to stand in solidarity with the legitimate aspirations of Indigenous peoples in their pursuit of justice, in their efforts to maintain their cultures and traditions, in their desire to foster and uphold a life-giving relationship with the land and all of creation. The UN Declaration lays out principles which could guide efforts to stand in solidarity.”


Archbishop Donald Bolen of Regina (left) is pictured with Ted Quewezance, former chief of Keeseekoose First Nation and a residential school survivor, near the Vatican in Rome March 30, 2022. Canadian Indigenous delegations were in Rome for meetings with Pope Francis which concluded April 1, 2023 with the pope’s apology for abuse suffered in Residential Schools. Archbishop Bolen said that he would welcome the chance to speak to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples who is visiting Canada right now. (Photo by Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service)


Though currently laid up in a Mexican hospital recovering from a hip replacement, Bolen said he would welcome the chance to speak with Cali Tzay.

“I would like to learn more about how the pursuit of Indigenous rights in Canada relates to the pursuit of Indigenous rights in other parts of the world,” he said. “I would like to hear best practices from other parts of the world in terms of solidarity of faith communities with the Indigenous pursuit of rights, and would like to engage with him on the addresses of Pope Francis during his visit to Canada.”

There’s much common ground between Catholic social teaching and UNDRIP principles, Bolen said.
UN communications staff supporting Cali Tzay’s tour did not respond to multiple requests for an interview, but instructed reporters to attend a March 10 press conference in Ottawa, where he will present preliminary findings. The Assembly of First Nations did not respond to calls for comment while Metis National Council spokespersons were tied up in a board of governors meeting.



The post United Nations reconciliation review skips Catholic bishops appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

“How to spread the word” is focus for upcoming Spring Congress in diocese of Saskatoon

Fri, 03/10/2023 - 09:37

By Quinton Amundson, The Catholic Register

[Canadian Catholic News] – Each year over the past four the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon has hosted a Spring Congress to share diocesan plans and priorities with clergy, staff, lay leadership and Church attendees from its 92 parishes.

The “whys” and “whats” of evangelization have been on past agendas, and this year when the Congress unfolds March 16-17 at the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon, the plan is to move on to the “how” of evangelization, said Marilyn Jackson, the Director of Ministry Services for the diocese of Saskatoon.

Jackson told The Catholic Register that these two-day summits are a good “occasion for people in our diocese to come together for food, fellowship and to come to get to know and support one another.”

Marilyn Jackson, Director of Ministry Services for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon (Submitted photo)


Renewing parishes

Previous iterations of the diocesan Congress have featured in-depth topics such as navigating a post-pandemic future and exploring the themes presented to the Church through the Synod on Synodality. Jackson said attendees are learning the practical know-how to renew their parish evangelically this year.

“Our diocesan Pastoral Plan was promulgated in 2019, and we have been building on our mission to ‘Proclaim Christ and God’s Kingdom Today,’” said Jackson.

“Over the last few years, we have covered the ‘why’ and the ‘what’ of evangelization, and this year we feel like people are ready to move into the practical ‘how.’ ”

Congress speakers

Guest speakers Marc Cardaronella, catechesis and faith formation director for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, and Michael Hall, a senior specialist in ministry training and program development for Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO), are set to provide concrete steps for parishes to spread the Word of God effectively.

Cardaronella’s presentation will predominately feature material from his book Every Catholic a Disciple Maker: The Average Catholic’s Guide to Sharing the Faith.

John Hickey, Evangelization and Mission Leader for the diocese of Saskatoon (who is also speaking at the Congress), said that Cardaronella’s book contains a resource that helps parishes adjust where they are thriving or underwhelming in their pastoral efforts to grow the congregation.

“It looks at creating a pathway for parishes,” he said. “The tool helps parishes to look at all the different types of programming it offers to see how well it aligns with this discipleship pathway. They can see where they are strong in this particular mission and where they are weak and receive advice on building something different.”

Hall’s talk will derive from his book Intentional Accompaniment: An Apprenticeship for a New Generation of Builders, a title inspired by Pope John Paul II’s call at the 2002 World Youth Day in Toronto for the young people to bring new people to the Lord.

Hickey, who has served as a Saskatoon campus leader for CCO for many years, said Hall’s book is chock full of direct, helpful tips.

“His book is practical for helping catechists reach people where they are and accompany them so they become disciples of Jesus. He has advice on how to forge relationships with those on the periphery or spiritually curious people. The book has the questions to ask to stir that spiritual curiosity and provide clear and simple ways to respond to any questions.”

Evangelization and Mission Leader John Hickey will also speak at Spring Congress. (File photo from 2022 Administration Day by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)

Matthew Courchene, the Parish Life Director for St. John Bosco Parish in Saskatoon, is another diocesan leader at the Spring Congress.

Courchene, Hickey, Jackson and other facilitators will participate in Friday afternoon breakout sessions, an opportunity for attendees to formulate a feasible action plan collaboratively.

Passion and urgency

Passion and urgency is anticipated from the lay parishioners appearing at the conference, said Hickey.

“The people in the pews are expressing to me the importance of our pastoral plans. They are the ones whose grandchildren are wandering from the faith or whose co-workers came to Church but are not anymore after the pandemic. They feel the effects of that firsthand. The lay parishioners are telling us, ‘we need to move here.’ ”


More information about Spring Congress on March 16 and March 17:  LINK

Online registration:  CLICK HERE


The post “How to spread the word” is focus for upcoming Spring Congress in diocese of Saskatoon appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

Celebrating 55 years of Solidarity through Development and Peace: Canadians and the Brazil’s Landless People (Sem Terra)

Mon, 03/06/2023 - 06:28

Author’s Note: As Canada struggles to follow the challenges of living up to the United Nations’ Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, we recall with pride how the Church of Canada through the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, as well as many of its own missionaries, struggled to support action in situations similar to those in Canada. The Sem Terra (“Without Land”) movement in Brazil was one such effort where our own missionaries were active participants and supported by people of faith across our country.

Development and Peace – Caritas Canada program in Brazil – LINK

By Fr. Lawrence DeMong, OSB

It was about 3 o’clock at the rectory in Uniao dos Palmares, home of the Saskatoon Mission since the 1960s in the Brazilian state of Alagoas, when a desperate call came.

The call was from a member of a group of about 80 landless people whom we at the parish had helped to move at the stroke of midnight a few days earlier from the larger encampment near the highway that runs to the capital city of Maceio, to a vacant piece of land closer to our town. They had put up their black plastic huts and started to settle down, when they got word that the owner and his henchmen were coming to evict them. Afraid of violence, they were asking for help.

“The ‘pistoleiros’ are coming!” was the desperate call from these folks as they begged the padre to come out to their encampment (“encampamento”) which the land owners referred to as an ‘invasao’ (“invasion”).

These desperate folks were simply exercising the freedom given them by Brazilian law to grow food on unused land. The word among these landless was whispered that the former mayor of Maceio who “owned” it was a shady operator. Besides, this land was just being held for speculation and producing nothing. And the people who called us were sure the owner would not cold-bloodedly kill a priest, even if the priest took their side in defending their right to use the land.

I called up two brave women, Cleoniza and Carmelia, who agreed to come along. Off we went with the parish truck, hoping our presence could prevent violence against these poor people. In the course of our conversation as we drove out there, Cleoneza asked me, “Are you afraid?”  “Of course! Aren’t you?” I  asked. “Oh,” said her companion, Carmelia, in good round Portuguese, “This would be a perfect way to die!”

I had written a brief “last word” in my diary before leaving, but I confess that I wasn’t quite ready to give my life, and felt like a scared chicken beside these brave women!

On our arrival, everything appeared calm; no one had yet come to challenge the group. But soon enough over the hill to our left, a group became visible in several vehicles. Our little gathering moved closer together and upwards on the hill as these newcomers assembled at the bottom about 50 meters from us. No guns came out, but pretty soon the cameras were busy recording our presence. It was definitely an eerie experience, knowing that we were being marked, but we stayed put, and pretty soon they drove off and we returned home.

When I see this incident in the context of the Sem Terra movement, one of the most powerful experiences was visiting the larger group along the highway a few days earlier in the place from where this new group came.

After meeting a mom holding a very emaciated child, a woman who accompanied Fr. Les Paquin and me during our visit to encourage these people, told us: “That child will be dead within a few days.” I had no doubt she was right.

That experience gave us the push to return and support the midnight move of part of that larger group to this new piece of land. I believe the outrage of children dying of starvation in this rich and prosperous land motivated many of us comfortable people in Brazil to get involved and add pressure to the Sem Terra effort.

It certainly provided motivation for those of us who returned home to comfortable Canada to gather signatures from thousands of Catholics in order to reach out through our Catholic justice entity, Development and Peace, to encourage action. We supported our dear Leo and Helen Kurtenbach to deliver those many thousands of signed petitions to the federal government in Brasilia. (Leo Kurtenbach – the former farmer and World War II veteran who over many years was an insightful and articulate letter writer on issues of justice and pacifism – died recently at the age of 103. )

During the years when Sem Terra was a prominent force in making land available for the most excluded ones in Brazil, the Prairie Messenger, which unfortunately has discontinued publication (previous papers are on-line), carried in its March 14, 2007 edition some wonderful reflections of high school students who had traveled to Brazil.

With gratitude to the authors, I have chosen the following from these very thoughtful letters:

  • “The most important thing I learned while on my trip to  Brazil was that our lives are not about us, as individuals. We are not here to live in such a way that all of our desires are met, without concern for others. I believe that we are here to take care of other people and the earth. That is what the missionaries and the Brazilian poor demonstrated to us. They take care of one another. In their giving, they receive. I received in Brazil, and they taught me something important about giving.” – Kylie Boire


  • “My favourite word in Portuguese is the word alegria, which means ‘joy.’ This is something that was shown time and time again by the people I encountered in Brazil. While life is by no means easy, the Brazilians and the Canadian sisters we spent time with show joy in all things. Joy in work, joy in play. But what struck me most deeply was the joy I witnessed in service. … I left Brazil with a desire to take this spirit of generosity with me.  … In this spirit, service becomes no longer a chore, but joy. Alegria!” – Melanie Lipinski

A truly touching response also came from Louise Bitz, one of the two teachers responsible for this student journey to Brazil. Following her reflection upon the seasonal slave work of 12-hour days for a pittance by the sugar cane harvesters and the group’s meeting with the sugar mill manager at a feast put on for the Canadian visitors, Louise wrote: “Of all the people I have met in Brazil, all the amazing people, I am the most like him, and I like him the least.” The realization was inescapable. “Conversion is what happens when you have tea with your shadow,” Father Les replied with a grin.

It’s a beautiful confession of the need for conversion, not only of individuals but of countries like our own. And people like Fr. Emile April, Fr. Les Paquin and Sr. Jeanine Rondot, who are mentioned in that Prairie Messenger edition, are among the many missionaries whose experience desperately needs to touch and change us, making us missionaries to our own rich country.

Archbishop James Weisgerber of Winnipeg, previously bishop of Saskatoon, in this same copy of the Prairie Messenger, challenged us to act on the needs of the poor that “the wealthier nations be more involved in solidarity, social justice and universal charity.” And in his own words, adding: “The need for Development and Peace is greater than ever.”

Related: Ready, Set – CREATE HOPE – Link to Reflection

Related: Celebrating 55 years of Solidarity – Walkathon 1968 for CCODP – Link to Reflection

Related: Celebrating 55 years of Solidarity through Development and Peace – Link to Reflection about Share the Journey 2019

Development and Peace in Brazil:

“Development and Peace has a long history in Brazil, and its programming has developed over the years through its initial interactions with the pastoral commissions of the Brazilian Church, which were set up to address specific socioeconomic issues in the country. The Pastoral Land Commission (CPT) of the Church remains an important partner of Development and Peace in strengthening peasant rights.

“Through its partnerships in Brazil, Development and Peace’s program is addressing the injustices and abuses suffered by poor and marginalized communities in the name of development projects that benefit corporate interests, such as mining sites, large-scale agriculture of monocultures and the construction of hydro-electric dams. Whether in urban or rural areas, the poor and vulnerable rarely benefit from the wealth generated from these projects, and as a result Brazil has one of the highest rates of income inequality in the world. Development and Peace is working to ensure that the voices of these communities are heard and their rights are respected at the municipal, state and national levels.” –

A historical note:

“In 1967, the Canadian bishops launched the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace as a creative new way to assist the poor and oppressed peoples of the world in  their struggle for justice…To realize this vision, the new organization devoted many of its resources to building an integrated social movement that educated Canadians about global injustice and mobilized them for action…The origins of Development and Peace were at the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).  Working closely with their colleagues from Latin America, Africa and Asia, the Canadian bishops became increasingly aware of the massive poverty and systemic injustices that confronted the developing world…”  –  Page 13 of the book Jubilee, 50 Years of Solidarity by Peter Baltutis.





The post Celebrating 55 years of Solidarity through Development and Peace: Canadians and the Brazil’s Landless People (Sem Terra) appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

The Return of the Eagle

Sat, 03/04/2023 - 12:41

By Sister Maggie Beaudette, CSJ, Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada

The month of March has arrived, and it is the time I begin to watch for the bald eagle’s return to Hay River.

The earliest date I have seen one is March 9 and the latest has been March 28. Although I hear from others that the eagle is back, I wait to see my first sighting. I

live beside the Hay River, 10 kilometres from town and one kilometre off the highway. My location is away from traffic and provides a serene, peaceful atmosphere. I am blessed that the eagle sits in a tree in front of my deck, almost daily.

Ehndah cho

This week I visited with elder and former chief, Roy Fabian of Katl’odehche First Nations to talk about the eagle. The eagle is regarded with great respect.

In speaking with Roy Fabian, he shared with me how his father, Edward Fabian spoke of the eagle. Roy’s father spoke of the reverence and respect for the eagle. Since the eagle can fly so high, higher than any other bird, it is close to God. The eagle flies beside heaven and therefore is very close to the Creator.

My encounters with eagles have brought me joy, wonder, and awe.

The drive from Yellowknife to Fort Providence takes approximately three hours. Along the way, there are many small lakes and large ponds on either side of the road. By the month of April, the ice on these bodies of water has started to thaw. The area of ice gradually decreases as it melts and is surrounded with water.

As I was driving home, I came to one of these small ponds. Driving past it, I noticed a most beautiful sight. It was a very sunny day, the snow was dazzling white, with the water reflecting the sky. Right in the middle of the ice sat a huge bald eagle. The eagle was sitting as if it were soaking in the warmth of the sun. I slowed down, backed up my vehicle to appreciate this sighting. After a prayer of thanksgiving to the Creator, I continued my way, grateful once again for the beauty of creation that surrounds me daily.

Builders and Providers

Eagles mate for life and return to the same nest each spring.

On the “back road” in Hay River the eagles had a nest. Every spring I would visit the nest to see if the eagles had returned to it. Sometimes the nest needed a bit of repair after the winter. Then, the pair of eagles would be in or near the nest, soon sitting in the nest on eggs, and eventually, I would see one or two small heads in the nest with one parent. The other parent would be sitting in another tree keeping watch or sometimes flying to nearby Great Slave Lake to catch a fish.

I would visit the nest many times throughout the summer. If you have seen an eagle’s nest, have you wondered how they are made?

One winter the snowfall was very heavy and there was much wind. By the springtime, the nest had been destroyed by the elements of snow and wind. The eagles had returned and as I drove to the nest one Saturday morning, flying towards me, one of the eagles was carrying a very large stick, perfectly balanced in its talons. The eagle brought the huge stick to the top of the tree, which looked like a “Y” shape and manoeuvred the stick in place. This was the beginning of their new home.

A few days later, on the side of the road was a large pile of twigs and small branches. I wondered at this. Did the eagles prepare this pile? As the building of the nest progressed with large sticks, the pile of twigs disappeared becoming filling in between the larger sticks.

(Photo by Gary Vizniowski)

Blessing and Gratitude

A few years ago, I was in a time of discernment regarding a possible change in ministry and living situation.

After many months of discernment through prayer, guidance from a few individuals whom I trust and who know me well, the time was coming for an answer. I was conflicted with coming to a definite decision and I was aware of my deepest feelings about the situation. One of my “guides” suggested that I pray for clarity rather than for a definite answer.

It was late March and I had not yet seen an eagle, although I knew others in the community had seen them. My answer was needed April 1. As I sat in prayer, being open to a gift of clarity, I saw the eagle flying along the centre of the river. I was so grateful and thanked the Creator for its safe return.

A few minutes later, the eagle turned and flew towards my house. There are three long, narrow windows in my living room which face the river. As the eagle flew closer, it was right at the middle window, flying over the house. This was most unusual. The eagle was huge and the white of its feathers were resplendent! It was as if it paused in flight before lifting over the house.

A sense of awe and amazement filled me, but also a deep sense of “all will be well.” What a gift, what a blessing!

“And He will raise you up on eagle’s wings, Bear you on the breath of dawn…” As I sing these words from the hymn On Eagle’s Wings (from Isaiah 40:31), they hold a deeper meaning for me, as I remember the words of Roy’s father about the closeness of the eagle to the Creator as it flies beside heaven.

And so, as the month of March begins, I will be watching for the return of the eagles.

As they return, I will know and be reminded of the faithfulness and care of the Creator for all creatures. I look forward with openness, anticipation, and expectation to be surprised with the lessons the eagle will teach me this season.

Mahsi, thank you Creator, for all the gifts You have given each of us. May we always walk humbly with respect, kindness, gratitude, and love for all of creation.

(Photo by Gary Vizniowski)




Sr. Maggie Beaudette, CSJ, has lived and served in the north for some 32 years, including the past 22 years in Hay River, NT, on the south shore of the Great Slave Lake in the Catholic Diocese of Mackenzie-Fort Smith. She is a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph in Canada.

The post The Return of the Eagle appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

Bishop leads Way of the Cross during prayer service for victims and survivors of abuse

Sat, 03/04/2023 - 12:17

By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News

A candlelight prayer service was held on the First Friday of Lent in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon to pray for all victims and survivors of abuse, establishing what will become an annual event.

The candlelight prayer service at the Cathedral of the Holy Family included the Stations of the Cross, with reflections from the perspective of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and prayers at each of the 14 stations by Bishop Mark Hagemoen that included praying for all victims and survivors of abuse.

A time of Eucharistic Adoration followed, with those in attendance invited to bring up candles an to offer prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. As well, the bishop anointed all who came forward to receive the sacrament of healing during the time of Adoration.

“Praise to you Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, source of all consolation and hope. By Your Son’s dying and rising, He remains our light in every darkness, our strength in every weakness. Be the refuge and guardian of all who suffer from abuse and violence. Comfort them and send healing for their wounds of body, soul and spirit. Rescue them from bitterness and shame and refresh them with Your love. Heal the brokenness in all victims of abuse and revive the spirits of all who lament this sin. Help us to follow Jesus in drawing good from evil, life from death. Make us one with you in your love for justice as we deepen our respect for the dignity of every human life. Giver of Peace, make us one in celebrating Your praise both now and forever, Amen.”

Prayer by Bishop John F. Kinney, Bishop of Saint Cloud, MN ©2002, Diocese of St. Cloud, which was offered at the start of the Stations of the Cross Feb. 24 in Saskatoon.

“We dedicate these prayers for any victims or survivors of abuse anywhere in the world and those who have dealt with this, and those who are continuing to deal with this,” said the bishop at the start of the service.

“We pray that the church and our world will be healed of any threat to human dignity, and that this Lenten season will be a time when we can walk with the Lord to realize that dignity more fully.”

“We are doing this in solidarity with other dioceses throughout the world,” noted Bishop Hagemoen. “This was a commitment form our Safeguarding Committee and our College of Consultors here in the diocese.”

Find the diocese’s safeguarding commitments and policies online at: Safer Church, Stronger Communities

Prayer for Healing for Victims / Survivors of Abuse concluding the Saskatoon prayer service:

“God of endless love, ever caring, ever strong, always present, always just:  You gave Your only Son to save us by the blood of His cross. Gentle Jesus, Shepherd of Peace, join to your own suffering the pain of all who have been hurt in body, mind and spirit by those who betrayed the trust placed in them. Hear the cries of our brothers and sisters who have been gravely harmed, and the cries of those who love them. Soothe their restless hearts with ope, steady their shaken spirits with faith. Grant them justice for their cuase, enlightened by your truth. Holy Spirit, Comforter of hearts, heal Your people’s wounds and transform brokenness into wholeness. Grant us the courage and wisdom humility and grace, to act with justice. Breathe wisdom into our prayers and labours. Grant that all harmed by abuse may find peace in justice. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.” –

Fr. Gerard Cooper carried the cross during the Stations of the Cross Feb. 24, part of a candlelight prayer service for victims and survivors of abuse in our world. (Photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)


Fr. Geoffrey Young, diocesan Director of Liturgy, and Sr. Mirasol Abala of the Verbum Dei Missionary Fraternity were among the leaders at the prayer service Feb. 24 in Saskatoon. (Photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)


Participants brought candles before the Blessed Sacrament during a time of Eucharistic Adoration that was part of the Feb. 24 prayer service for victims and survivors of abuse. (Photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)




The post Bishop leads Way of the Cross during prayer service for victims and survivors of abuse appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

Those journeying toward baptism at Easter blessed during diocesan Rite of Election

Sat, 03/04/2023 - 10:49

By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News

At the diocesan Rite of Election Feb. 26, 2023, Bishop Mark Hagemoen welcomed and blessed catechumens from across the diocese who are journeying toward the initiation sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and First Eucharist.

Affirmed by their parishes and by their sponsors, the catechumens wrote their names in the Book of the Elect, and entered another stage of the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults). The newly-elect now begin a “season of purification and enlighten during Lent,” before celebrating the sacraments at Easter.

During the afternooon celebration at the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon, Bishop Hagemoen also welcomed and blessed candidates — already baptized Christians who are preparing to be received into the Catholic Church.

The Rite of Election included celebration of Sunday Eucharist for the First Sunday of Lent. In attendance were a number of priests from parishes that are preparing catechumens and candidates to receive sacraments at Easter, as well as sponsors, family members and parishioners from the 13 parishes participating in this year’s celebration.

Photo gallery:


The post Those journeying toward baptism at Easter blessed during diocesan Rite of Election appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.

Continental synod summary getting clearer

Sat, 03/04/2023 - 10:03

By Michael Swan, The Catholic Register (with files from Paul Schratz, The B.C. Catholic)

[Toronto – Canadian Catholic News] – Ten Americans and seven Canadians have less than 30 days to sum up the life of the Church in North America — everything the baptized know and love and dream and hope for.

The North American writing team for the continental stage of the global Synod on Synodality met in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 13 to 17 to begin a process of coming up with the North American contribution to a working document for the first of two sessions in Rome Oct. 4-29, to be followed by a second gathering in Rome in October of 2024.

“It was a lot of work,” Winnipeg Archbishop Richard Gagnon told The Catholic Register after the Orlando sessions. “But we found ourselves drawing closer together in terms of our deliberations as we were practising synodality ourselves — being good listeners to God, listening to one another and working towards this goal.”

Such continental assemblies to prepare for a synod are not new. Pope St. John Paul II initiated pre-synod “special assemblies” organized by continent 40 years ago, though they were held in Rome with contributions and guidance from the Roman curia. In the present case, the continental stage of the 2021-2024 Synod on Synodality began Oct. 27 last year when the Working Document for the Continental Stage was released by the General Secretariat of the Synod.

Since then there have been 12 online meetings — two in French, three in Spanish and seven in English — that involved over 900 delegates from 236 Canadian and American dioceses. Each diocese was able to select up to five delegates to participate in the virtual meetings held between Dec. 14 and Jan. 25.

The writing team in Orlando was tasked with reading and reflecting on the results of those online sessions. Before the team assembled, the Synod of Bishops General Secretary Cardinal Mario Grech sent them a video message to explain how the Synod is “an ecclesial exercise of discernment.”

“Do not be afraid to speak. Do not be afraid to listen, to make an effort to welcome and understand others,” Grech said. “Also, do not be afraid to change your mind based on what you hear. Above all others, listen to the Holy Spirit, the true protagonist of the synodal journey.”

Related: Synod delegate from Vancouver helping to paint the Church in all its colours

Related: Canadian national Synod synthesis by the CCCB – ENGLISH  /  FRENCH

Related: Regional Synod synthesis by the Association of Western Catholic Bishops – ENGLISH  /  FRENCH

Related: Diocesan Synod synthesis for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon – PDF

Gagnon came away from the team’s retreat convinced that the entire process is deepening the Church’s sense of mission — not calling for a revolution.

“You know the old saying, to thy own self be true? If you’re going to be the Church, if you’re going to be the communion of the baptized, then we always want to go back to the meaning of that baptism and what it means to be in communion,” he said. “Really, if we are to allow the rubber to hit the road in terms of trying to live our faith the way the good Lord intended, then yes, we need to move along this way.”

Barb Dowding, special assistant to Vancouver Archbishop J. Michael Miller, joined Gagnon on the writing team. Having seen what everyday Catholics had to say, she agreed that revolution is not in the air.

“My personal take is that most of the people who participated in the listening sessions truly love their Church,” said Dowding. “They want it to be better, to be inclusive and open to all. But I did not see an overwhelming desire for drastic doctrinal changes.”

The potential issues — contentious topics like women’s ordination — the team received were no surprise, said Dowding.

“They were all things we’ve heard before,” she said. “What we heard mostly was the desire for the Church to find ways to include everyone.”

Gagnon acknowledged there’s been resistance to the entire synod process.

“Certain people, certain segments of the Church could feel somewhat threatened by it, because you are moving out of accepted ways of decision-making, accepted ways of behaving within the Church — going into an area where you actually have to listen to other people more intensely and listen to where the Holy Spirit is calling us,” he said.

Synodality is nothing new, Gagnon said.

“Throughout the 2,000 years there have been many indications of synodality, and also many indications of not being synodal,” he said. “Pope Francis is trying to raise up that which already exists within the Church and live it more fully. Sure, for many people it may seem new. Maybe because they’re not quite aware of this factor in the Church’s life.”

Gagnon is one of two Canadian bishops on the writing team, along with Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops president Bishop Raymond Poisson of Saint-Jérôme-Mont-Laurier. Theologians on the team include Dowding, Fr. Gilles Routhier, Patrick Fletcher, Sr. Chantal Desmarais and CCCB general secretary Jean Vézina.



The post Continental synod summary getting clearer appeared first on Catholic Saskatoon News.