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

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Updated: 8 hours 38 min ago

Canadian bishops condemn racism, call for healing

Tue, 06/09/2020 - 12:54

By Michael Swan, The Catholic Register

(With files by Bryan Dryden, Canadian Catholic News) – Bishops across Canada have condemned racism and encouraged peaceful protest amid the global wave of outrage at the killing of George Floyd while in police custody.

“These protests reflect justifiable anger and frustration,” Vancouver Archbishop Michael Miller wrote in a pastoral letter for Sunday June 7. “Racist attitudes and discrimination have been tolerated for far too long.”

Racism is not just an American problem, Miller wrote, drawing attention to the suffering of Indigenous Canadians.

“The fight against racism requires a personal change of heart. What is needed is a genuine interior conversion — the long road of conversion that will compel personal change and systemic social reform.”

A statement from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops called racism, “the denigration of humankind, the denial of God-given rights.”

“The Bishops and Catholic faithful of Canada join with Pope Francis in lamenting all who have lost their lives and suffered because of exclusion, racism and violence which are antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” the bishops wrote in a June 8 statement.

“We invite all Canadians to pray for all those who have lost their lives as a result of the sin of racism, to work for reconciliation and healing, as well as for peace and justice in our land and throughout the world.”

The bishops’ statements followed the May 25 killing of Floyd, an African American, while in the custody of Minneapolis police. A video showed Floyd died while a white officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes. Derek Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder.

Cardinal Thomas Collins, archbishop of Toronto, emphasized the reality of racism in our society.

“Racism knows no boundaries and it remains a present-day challenge that must not be ignored,” Collins said in a June 5 statement.

“It is important that … we authentically listen to the plight of those who have been victims of racism, intolerance and violence. I firmly believe on these occasions that we should all listen more than we speak, in order to gain a better understanding and appreciation of the suffering of others.”

Ottawa-Cornwall Archbishop Terry Prendergast called for “respect for the personal dignity and life of each person created in God’s image,” in a June 5 statement.

Protests in Ottawa organized by the No Peace Until Justice Coalition drew Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and several of his cabinet ministers out to kneel in silence for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck.

“I invite you (to) speak about and to pray for the healing of relationships between people of different races and to help bring about the elimination of expressions or gestures of racism wherever these are found, including in Canada,” said Prendergast.

In his weekly video message, Regina Archbishop Don Bolen compared Floyd’s death to Jesus’ crucifixion.

“It is above all in His death on the cross — which was death by asphyxia — that the Lord ultimately witnessed to how the deepest transformation is brought about by God. George Floyd too died by asphyxiation, and the Lord who invites us to stand with the crucified in our day summons us to solidarity,” Bolen said.

Bolen was quick to point out racism does not respect boundaries.

“Here in Canada, here in Saskatchewan, we too struggle with an embedded racism,” Bolen said. “Why is it that our Indigenous people are on the losing end of so many societal indicators of well-being?”

Bolen also had a question for Christians.

“How is it that our churches, inspired by the Gospel of the crucified Christ, are so often blind to the suffering and injustice, humiliation and wounds of our sisters and brothers?”

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Bishop provides update on the changing face of adult faith formation in the diocese of Saskatoon

Fri, 06/05/2020 - 16:29

By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News

In the midst of a ministry year affected by COVID-19 restrictions, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon continues to move forward with the vision of its Pastoral Plan “To Proclaim Christ and the Kingdom of God Today.”

The ongoing focus on the priorities of the three-year Pastoral Plan that was launched in September 2019 is bringing about a number of new directions for adult faith formation in the diocese, with a significant focus on evangelization.

Some programs in the diocese are changing, while other new initiatives are being introduced – but all with a view to advance the Pastoral Plan’s priorities, and to adapt to new realities. Those realities include the challenges posed by the global pandemic, the growing use of new technologies for learning and sharing faith, fiscal challenges, and a number of expanding partnerships.

Bishop Mark Hagemoen holds up a summary of the three-year Pastoral Plan promulgated in the diocese of Saskatoon in September, 2019. (File photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)

“The winds of change are blowing strong these days” when it comes to adult faith formation in the diocese, said Bishop Mark Hagemoen, reflecting recently on diocesan developments.

“However, the changes we are seeing relate not only to external circumstances – such as those related to the COVID 19 pandemic – but to ways in which the People of God of our diocese are accessing a variety of activities, supports, and other resources,” he said.

“Pastors and parishes are indicating the need for new and diverse ways to access religious education and ongoing formation.”

Changing methods and new resources

The ways in which people access information and resources have been revolutionized by technology and ever-increasing online use in recent years. Those shifts are prompting new ways of providing faith formation and outreach as well.

“One significant example relates to how many parishes over the last several years are enabling their parishes to access the increasing number of on-line parish resources, which not only provide quality sessions on various topics of Catholic faith and spirituality, but provide opportunities for ongoing personal and communal participation in a number of faith-based activities and study programs,” noted Bishop Hagemoen.

A change in how people access information and resources includes faith formation materials. (Photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)

As an example, he describes how several parishes in the diocese have purchased a subscription for all their parishioners to access the “Formed” website, and its “Catholic-faith-on-demand” services. “The various programs, videos, articles, and other on-line activities provide a range of quality faith formation supports, which parishioners can access as they choose,” said Bishop Hagemoen.

Such resources offer a flexible, online method of accessing faith formation materials that matches how more and more people access information in every part of their lives.

Another example is the expansion of programs offered by Catholic theological colleges to individual lay Catholics, and also to clergy and religious – including many programs with online access for distance education.

“These ongoing education and formation programs feature non-academic options – including certificates and diplomas – as well as academic degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels,” said Bishop Hagemoen.

“Almost all programs are now delivered via on-line education platforms and are very accessible. Examples that parish ministry staff and other parishioners are accessing include: Newman Theological College, Edmonton; St. Paul’s University, Ottawa; St Augustine Institute, Colorado; and Divine Mercy University, Virginia.”

Pastoral Plan – goals, training and focus

Marilyn Jackson, Director of Ministry Services in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, stressed the impact and importance of the Pastoral Plan in moving forward with proclaiming Christ and God’s kingdom in the diocese.

“The Pastoral Plan is the lens through which we should see everything that we do in the diocese,” she said. “It’s not about programming, process or strategy but about striving to be holy – and holiness is more about perseverance than perfection.”

Adult faith formation is a central element of the diocesan Pastoral Plan, stressed Bishop Hagemoen. “In fact, all six goals contain elements that – in order to realize these goals– require some form of adult faith formation.”

The six goals of the pastoral plan are:

  1. Draw People into a Deepening Intimacy with the Lord
  2. Make Every Sunday Matter
  3. Embrace Your Priesthood: discerning God’s call to each person to share in the mission and life of the Lord
  4. Promote the Healing Journey in the Lord
  5. Build and Support Family Community
  6. Moving from Maintenance to Mission: helping parishes proclaim Christ in everything

A diocesan “Breathe” marriage enrichment event was held in the fall of 2019: Support for family and community is one of the priorities of the Pastoral Plan. (Submitted photo, Catholic Saskatoon News)

“Some adult faith formation will be focussed on ‘ministry-related’ considerations and activities, while others may be more practical – including matters of administration, finance, and ‘best practices’ regarding carrying out parish and diocesan activities,” the bishop described.

To assist in pursuing the six Pastoral Plan goals, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon has continued to develop a comprehensive annual training plan, which features Administration Day; a Congress exploring ministry development themes; Clergy Study Days; and retreats and days of spiritual reflection.

Clergy Study Days 2019: ongoing training for leaders is part of the vision for adult faith formation in the diocese. (Submitted photo, Catholic Saskatoon News)

“The circumstances of the COVID 19 pandemic have very much challenged us as we are now not able to gather together for these major training events. However, these circumstances are the occasion to develop non-gathered strategies that rely on technology delivery to accomplish training and formation,” said Bishop Hagemoen.

Diocesan programs affected by new directions

As part of the ongoing evolution of adult faith formation in the diocese, two diocesan programs have been impacted by recent changes: the diocesan Justice and Outreach Year (JOY) and the Adult Faith Enrichment Program (previously known as Lay Formation).

“One key development is the conclusion of the JOY program. The difficult decision to conclude this program was made as a major funding source concluded – a grant from the Porticus Foundation,” announced the bishop.

“The JOY program, led by Kate O’Gorman, established a high standard for service learning, and has expanded our awareness of how service learning needs to infuse adult faith formation initiatives,” said Bishop Hagemoen, announcing the end of the diocesan program.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions on public gatherings, a reflection was already underway to find a more effective delivery of the Adult Faith Enrichment (AFE) program, which has seen several years of transition and change to the original Lay Formation program launched some 33 years ago, in September 1987.

“Plans are currently being made for an on-line delivery of the second year of the two-year program, which is to begin in September 2020. This online delivery will last as long as the pandemic is ongoing, and then we will look to being able to gather again for meetings,” announced Bishop Hagemoen.

“The program has had many coordinators over the 33-year history of the Lay Formation Program – now called AFE – most recently being coordinated by Blair and Jennifer Carruthers. The Carruthers will not be guiding AFE into this next phase, and we acknowledge them for their faithful service since the fall of 2017,” the bishop said.

“Thanks also goes to Marlene Hansen, who served for three years as the coordinator of the Indigenous track. The Indigenous portion of AFE will continue through the online delivery this coming fall,” said Bishop Hagemoen

Evangelization Commission initiative

The diocesan Evangelization Commission which was created in September 2019 has been putting much work and reflection into reviewing and responding to the Pastoral Plan, the bishop noted.

“The Evangelization Commission is in the midst of a proposal regarding a special initiative for interested parishes wanting to inspire Catholic parishioners to grow as Catholic Christians in today’s world, and to embrace Pope Francis’s call to be ‘missionary disciples,’” emphasized Bishop Hagemoen.

“As Pope Francis emphasizes in his exhortation ‘The Joy of the Gospel’ (Evangelii Gaudium), every member of the Church is like the Church herself: we don’t merely have a mission – we are a mission,” said Bishop Hagemoen, quoting the Holy Father: “My mission of being in the heart of the people is not just a part of my life or a badge I can take off; it is not an ‘extra’ or just another moment in life. Instead, it is something I cannot uproot from my being without destroying my very self. I am a mission on this earth; that is the reason why I am here in this world.” (EG #273)

Bishop Hagemoen added that this new initiative might be characterized as: “re-awakening one’s faith; deepening one’s relationship with the Lord Jesus; inspiring one’s witness by word and life.”

A Discovery faith enrichment group at Saint Anne Catholic Church in Saskatoon: the diocesan Evangelization Commission is planning an initiative to provide practical hands-on formation for adults to take up the call to evangelization. (Photo by Katelyne Bohmann)

Director of Ministry Services Marilyn Jackson said that the Evangelization Commission initiative will be designed to help make evangelization a practical reality in the diocese.

“Catholics across the diocese are telling us that they are ready to move beyond talking about the need to evangelize and embrace the practical ‘how to,’” she said.

Indigenous Pastoral and Lay Leader Ministry Education

The bishop also announced a joint initiative of St. Thomas More College, Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, to be known as “Indigenous Pastoral and Lay Leader Ministry Education.” The program – presented as both a certificate and a following diploma – establishes a curriculum to address ministry with indigenous people by clergy and lay leadership in the Canadian context.

“Inspired by several of the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission – the program will seek to bring together clergy and lay leadership – indigenous and non-indigenous – in a learning dialogue about ministry with our indigenous peoples,” announced the bishop.

“It is hoped that participants will join us from the Keewatin-Le Pas diocese, as well as other regions of western Canada,” he said.

Reconciliation Walk 2019 in Saskatoon: Inspired by several of the TRC Calls to Action, a new “Indigenous Pastoral and Lay Leader Ministry Education” program is under development at St. Thomas More College, in partnership with the diocese of Saskatoon and Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools. (Photo by Bishop Mark Hagemoen, Catholic Saskatoon News)

Formation of young adults

In another joint initiative with St. Thomas More College (STM), the diocese will collaborate in the religious and faith formation of young adults discerning a religious vocation or professional ministry in the Church.

“Titled ‘Religious Vocations Bachelor of Arts,’ the Philosophy BA program has been designed by STM to address the requirements for application to a Masters of Theology program typically required for candidates for priesthood or religious life, or for persons wanting to work in the Church. This program will also feature addressing human and spiritual formation which is increasingly required for all candidates to ministry in the church,” said Bishop Hagemoen.

“To assist with that human and spiritual formation, I am pleased to announce that three religious sisters from the Verbum Dei Missionary Fraternity will be joining us in September 2020,” he added.

“As reported about a year ago during their introductory visit to our diocese, the goals of Verbum Dei are to live a dynamic life of contemplation of the Word and God and of active work and ministry to transform disciples and society into the image of God’s kingdom.”

Sr. Sara Dawn and Sr. Leticia Lopez (l-r) of Verbum Dei visited the diocese of Saskatoon in April 2019: the fraternity of religious sisters is establishing a presence in Saskatoon this fall. (Photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)

 

The three Verbum Dei sisters come from different areas of the world, and Saskatoon will be the fraternity’s first Canadian presence. “It is hoped that they will work in conjunction with our diocese and St. Thomas More College in establishing the religious vocations program that will feature excellent academic, human, and spiritual education and formation for adult candidates,” said the bishop.

 

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Racial justice is a pro-life issue, says leading pro-life legislator

Fri, 06/05/2020 - 08:39

By Matt Hadro, Catholic News Agency

[Washington, D.C. – CNA] – Pro-life advocates must speak out in defense of all human life–including issues of racial justice and deaths at the hands of police, a prominent pro-life lawmaker told CNA Wednesday.

Louisiana state Senator Katrina Jackson told CNA in a June 3, 2020 interview that the pro-life movement “has made great strides in becoming more racially diverse” and should now be speaking out against racism and the killings of black men by police or by other people who target them for their race.

A nationally known pro-life Democrat, Jackson addressed the national March for Life in Washington, D.C. in 2019 and 2020. She served eight years in the Louisiana House before she became a state senator this year.

Jackson, who is black and a Baptist, spoke to CNA about racism, and the nationwide demonstrations that have taken place, including violence in some cities, in the wake of the death of George Floyd on May 25.

The lawmaker said pro-lifers cannot remain silent in the face of injustice. She quoted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., noting that “a time comes when silence is betrayal.”

Jackson, who has been lauded for her bipartisan efforts to pass some of the country’s most stringent restrictions on abortion, told CNA that she is “pro-life from conception until death.”

“I tell people that it’s not enough that we ask someone not to have an abortion and keep going.”

Protests began in Minneapolis last week after Floyd’s death in police custody. Video of his arrest showed Officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck as Floyd groaned, cried out, and repeatedly said he could not breathe. Chauvin has since been charged with murder, and other officers on the scene charged as his accomplices.

Demonstrations, along with rioting and looting, have followed in numerous U.S. cities and suburbs last week and into this week, with more than 9,000 people arrested. Protesters have clashed regularly with police forces in some cities, while in other cities, police leaders have supported or joined in peaceful protest marches.

Floyd’s death, Jackson said, came as he was arrested “by those who took an oath to protect and serve,”

She lamented the “alarming amount of African-American males that are killed by murderous hands,” including those killed by police officers. Such deaths, she said, are “a life issue.”

Racism, and the deaths of young black men, have been “plaguing our nation for years,” she said.

“It has to stop, because it goes directly against the pro-life stance that every life has value.”

“Right now, the pro-life movement could be holding very diverse online townhall meetings to discuss this issue,” she said, to “talk about life being important at every stage of life.”

Jackson also called for a more visible presence by pro-life advocates in peaceful protests, holding signs with language such as “life matters at every stage.”

“It’s as simple as that. Those are two things that we could be doing immediately, that I’m doing, to make sure people understand that we believe that innocent life should not be taken, at any stage,” she said.

While Jackson appeared with President Donald Trump at the 2020 March for Life, and has praised pro-life measures enacted by his administration, she expressed concern about the president’s response to the riots and protests.

“President Trump is doing more to incite and to perpetuate anger over this issue than he is doing to calm it down,” Jackson told CNA.

Last week, while threatening to deploy the U.S. military to quell riots, Trump tweeted that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Jackson said the president’s words, under the guise of upholding law and order, might have exacerbated lawlessness.

“Of course I stand against the looting, but I also stand against lawless actions of those who are put in positions to protect and serve, and to serve constituencies—which he is,” she said of Trump. “And what he did when he stated that, he basically promoted a lawless action himself. And that’s what’s so problematic.”

The next day, Trump offered an explanation for his use of the phrase, saying that violent riots could lead to other acts of violence. “Looting leads to shooting, and that’s why a man was shot and killed in Minneapolis on Wednesday night,” he tweeted.

The tweet was nevertheless interpreted by many to justify police firing rubber bullets or live rounds at those protesters who are looting stores. “What the president needs to understand is that—as the leader of the free world—what he tweets, what he says, has great consequences,” Jackson said, adding that, in her view, Trump “needs to understand that.”

“And it’s becoming very disturbing,” she added, that “he seems not to.”

Jackson said that the idea a person might be shot in response to a theft “goes directly against what American laws, every criminal justice system in America stands for.”

She told CNA that the president’s comments could encourage some people to take the law into their own hands: “There may be someone who goes out and shoots someone who’s looting because the president said it’s okay,” Jackson worried.

On Wednesday, Pope Francis noted that he had “witnessed with great concern the disturbing social unrest in your nation in these past days, following the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd.”

“We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life,” the pope said. “At the same time, we have to recognize that the violence of recent nights is self-destructive and self-defeating. Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost.”

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New Marian shrine set to welcome Rocky Mountain visitors

Fri, 06/05/2020 - 08:30

By Andrew Ehrkamp, Grandin Media

[Canmore, Alberta – Canadian Catholic News]  – The Virgin Mary is sitting with her son Jesus in a lush Alberta forest, surrounded by deer drinking from a gurgling stream, with the majestic Three Sisters peaks in the background.

“The window cries out to you ‘Rocky Mountains,’ and there is Our Lady in the midst of that,” said Fr.. Nathan Siray, pastor of Our Lady of the Rockies Parish. “That’s kind of our number one devotional image to Our Lady of the Rockies that is completely unique to this building.”

The powerful image is set in custom-made stained glass, one if the focal points of the new $20-million church in the mountain community of Canmore, about 25 km southeast of Banff. It’s a new church for the parish, which dates back to the 1800s, and the first shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary in the Diocese of Calgary. Pilgrimages, conferences, and other events are planned once pandemic restrictions are eased.

Calgary Bishop William McGrattan dedicated the new 17,000-square-foot church on May 30, during a Mass that was live-streamed on the Diocese of Calgary’s Facebook page because of the COVID-19 restrictions. The first public Mass in the new church will be celebrated on June 8, 2020.

Calgary Bishop William McGrattan celebrates Mass May 30 designating Our Lady of the Rockies as a Marian shrine. (Photo by Yuan Wang, Diocese of Calgary – CCN)

Bishop McGrattan noted that dedication came as Pope Francis led the major shrines worldwide in praying the rosary to implore Mary’s intercession and protection amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Public masses startedt to return across Alberta, with conditions, starting June 1.

In his homily, Bishop McGrattan recognized the spiritual foundation of Our Lady of the Rockies parishioners and the greater reach the church will have as a Marian shrine.

“In many ways our diocese, under the patronage of Mary, we should have a shrine church,” Bishop McGrattan said. “We should have a place in which people, not only in our own diocese but throughout the world and in Canada can come as they come to the Rockies to see nature’s cathedral. They can stop and they can pray and they can experience the great presence of God who comes to dwell in our midst in these humble abodes that we build.”

Fr. Nathan Siray said the roughly 300 families of Our Lady of the Rockies Parish are “ecstatic” that the church building has been completed, and dedicated in month of May which the Church devotes to the Virgin Mary.

“It’s going us take time to understand our new identity as a shrine. But the overwhelming sense I get from my people is, ‘This is incredible. Thank you,’” Siray said. “I couldn’t help thinking this church is dedicated to Mary and Mary was always one humble of heart. She was willing to start small and great things came from her. I think if we can embrace her spirit, we’re going to do well going forward.”

Fr. Nathan Siray is pastor of Our Lady of the Rockies parish in Canmore. (Photo by Yuan Wang, Diocese of Calgary – CCN)

The new church is the third for Our Lady of the Rockies. The last building, built in the early 1960s in downtown Canmore, and was demolished in 2018. Since then, Mass had been celebrated in the Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Academy school gym while the new building was being built.

The new church is at the edge of town, off the Trans-Canada Highway, and figures prominently when motorists arrive.

The exterior design reflects a European-style alpine church. That was the vision of Fr. Bryan Frank, a former pastor of Our Lady of the Rockies, and Guy Turcotte, a parishioner and the developer of Silvertip Resort in Canmore, who donated the roughly three-acre property for the church.

“We really got a tremendous gift in having such a prime location so visible for this new church to built upon,” Siray said. “You know it’s pretty cool, as you’re coming on Highway 1, you see the turnoff to Canmore town centre, and as you crest the hill one of the first things you see is our bell tower.

“Naturally people are going to have to turn in to see the town of Canmore; they’re going to have to drive by this beautiful new church and we’re hoping that left-hand signal is going to be that much more enticing,” Siray said.

“You couldn’t ask for a better location. We hope that it becomes a bit of a beacon of hope for people here that there’s something good and beautiful and it wants to welcome as many people as it can into it.”

Building the new Our Lady of the Rockies church in Canmore had its challenges. (Photo by Lincoln Ho, Grandin Media – CCN)

Fr. Siray’s predecessor, Fr. Wilbert Chin Jon, focused on the interior with traditional architecture, liturgical art and a large supply of marble for the new altar and ambo to blend both old and new.

The new Our Lady of the Rockies church has a capacity for 425 people, double the number of the old church, and it includes a new hall, kitchen, conference room, and columbarium with 262 niches.

The new Our Lady of the Rockies church is the latest building located at the first Marian shrine in the Diocese of Calgary. (Photo by Lincoln Ho, Grandin Media – CCN)

Siray said a new church was planned as far back as 15 years, but it wasn’t until 2017 that the site was cleared. Construction began in March 2019.

The land donation is worth $3 million, and the structure cost $16 million to build. The parish raised about 60 per cent of the building cost, with the remainder held as a mortgage with the Diocese of Calgary. Donors continue to contribute to the building fund and sponsor items and rooms in the church.

With plans underway for a new church, Bishop McGrattan declared Our Lady of the Rockies a Marian shrine in part because it would be a first for the diocese and also because its Rocky Mountain location will be a magnet for future conferences and pilgrimages.

“More and more Canmore is a world destination,” Father Siray said. “People come here from all over the world. On any given Sunday, I look at the congregation and most of them are visiting from abroad.

“There are so many beautiful hiking trails around here. Could we have our own mini Camino (walking pilgrimage) somewhere in Canmore, and really let people experience the natural beauty and encounter the Lord in the midst of that?”

The official feast day for Our Lady of the Rockies Parish is on Aug. 22, the Queenship of Mary. And the feast day for its sister church in Banff is the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary week earlier.

“So we thought, in time, it would a cool opportunity to really promote those two feasts,” Siray said.
Last summer, Our Lady of the Rockies Parish organized its own bicycle pilgrimage from Banff to Canmore.
“We brought a carrier and put a statue of Mary up on it. It was quite entertaining to meet people along the way as Mary goes by on the bike,” Siray said. “We’d like to continue to do stuff like that.”

The final stages of construction of the new church were delayed a couple of weeks because COVID-19 restrictions meant a smaller crew to finish the project. Among the challenges was the terrain itself.

“Building in the mountains is an adventure,” Siray said. “One of the things we wanted to make sure we got right was just all the foundation work. Sometimes Canmore is pretty notorious for a lot of underground rivers and instabilities.

“This church is actually sitting on top of 144 massive screw piles that have been pushed 20, 30 metres into the earth. If the mountain comes tumbling down, we’re going to be about the only thing standing. That was a huge project.”

Siray had his own stress. He said his “heart was pounding” as workers carefully moved 100-year-old statues and other precious items into the new church building.

Being pastor of Our Lady of the Rockies is a “tremendous blessing,” he said, especially since he grew up in Millarville, an hour’s drive southwest of Canmore, in the foothills of the Rockies.

In addition to his own congregation, Siray meets people from all over the world and he hopes the new Our Lady of the Rockies church is embraced by the larger community.

“It doesn’t just feel like a place for Catholics. It feels like a place that everyone wants to discover. I get the sense that people are looking for peace. I hope many people feel like they can walk through the door here and that’s what they’ll be able to experience.”

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Pope Francis calls Archbishop Gomez to express prayers after death of George Floyd

Thu, 06/04/2020 - 13:40

By Catholic News Agency Staff

[CNA] – Pope Francis called the president of the U.S. bishops’ conference on June 3, 2020 to convey his prayers and solidarity for Americans during the period of national unrest that began with the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed May 25 during an arrest by Minneapolis police.

“The Holy Father said he was praying, especially for Archbishop Bernard Hebda and the local Church in Minneapolis-St. Paul,” Archbishop Jose Gomez wrote in a June 3 letter to bishops obtained by CNA.

“He thanked the bishops for the pastoral tone of the Church’s response to the demonstrations across the country in our statements and actions since the death of George Floyd. He assured us of his continued prayers and closeness in the days and weeks ahead,” Gomez added.

On May 25, Floyd was arrested for attempting to use a counterfeit $20 bill. Footage of the incident circulated widely on the internet. It showed Floyd subdued and laying on his stomach, saying repeatedly, “I cannot breathe” and groaning as a police officer knelt on his neck for almost eight minutes, while other officers stood nearby and watched.

Floyd was taken to a local hospital, where he died shortly later. His death has spurred widespread protests, and looting and riots in numerous cities. President Donald Trump sparked controversy Monday when he said he would deploy federal troops to quell riots if state governors did not mobilize the National Guard.

Derek Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter on May 29. The officers present at Floyd’s arrest were fired from the Minneapolis police force. On June 3, Minnesota’s attorney general announced that Chauvin will be charged with second-degree murder, and the other officers charged with aiding and abetting.

U.S. bishops in numerous states have since expressed their support for protestors, prayed for healing, called for police reform, and decried racism.

On May 29, several members of the U.S. bishops’ conference said they were “broken-hearted, sickened, and outraged to watch another video of an African American man being killed before our very eyes.”

“What’s more astounding is that this is happening within mere weeks of several other such occurrences,” they said. “This is the latest wake-up call that needs to be answered by each of us in a spirit of determined conversion.”

“Too many communities around this country feel their voices are not being heard, their complaints about racist treatment are unheeded, and we are not doing enough to point out that this deadly treatment is antithetical to the Gospel of Life,” they said.

Archbishop Bernard Hebda offered Mass for Floyd’s soul on for his family May 27, has led or attended numerous prayer services, and marched June 2 with other area faith leaders to place where Floyd died, for a moment of prayer.

Gomez said that on behalf of the U.S. bishops, “I expressed our gratitude for his concern for the people of the United States,” and assured him that bishops are praying for him.

“In this challenging moment for our ministries and our country, I hope we can all take comfort and gain strength from our Holy Father’s prayers and encouragement.”

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Catholic Women’s League celebrates centennial as a national organization

Tue, 06/02/2020 - 10:22

Image from The Canadian League magazine: cwl.ca LINK

1920-2020 – Catholic Women’s League is 100 Years Old!

By Connie McGrath, Diocesan CWL Communications Chair 

Katherine Hughes of Edmonton was a “renowned journalist, teacher, public servant, author, and Catholic social activist on behalf of immigrant women and native families.” When she was in England in 1911, she became aware of a charitable group of women called Catholic Women’s League, which Margaret Fletcher had founded in 1906.

Upon her return to Edmonton, with Bishop Legal’s blessing, in 1912 she founded the Catholic Women’s League of Edmonton. The aim was to support immigrant women seeking work and lodging during Edmonton’s financial boom. Those first CWL members met every train arriving in Edmonton to welcome and support newcomers. One of the first social service agencies in Alberta was established by CWL members who looked beyond their own needs in order to serve others.

News of this successful endeavor eventually spread across Canada. Independent CWL branches were copied in major cities: Montreal in 1917; Toronto in 1918; Halifax in 1919; and then Ottawa. In 1920 these groups met in Montreal to try to establish a national group of Catholic women. On June 17, 1920 Bellelle Guerin of Montreal became the first national president.

Before it was cancelled because of COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 annual convention of the Catholic Women’s League (CWL) was set to honour the 100th anniversary of that first meeting in 1920.

The first CWL convention was in Toronto in 1921 when they produced a constitution, a set of bylaws and the beginnings of The Canadian League magazine, which is still produced three times a year. For God and Canada was the motto chosen in 1921.

In 1923, Our Lady of Good Counsel was adopted as the League’s patroness.

In 1947, to better supervise League activities, councils were set at parish, diocesan and provincial levels. Each council administers its own affairs, and sends a representative to the council at the next level. There is a hierarchy of structure to share responsibility and to disseminate information to all members.

National, provincial and diocesan councils are financed through per-capita fees from the parish level. There are 11 provincial councils – 10 councils including territories, and 1 Military Ordinariate. There are 34 diocesan CWL councils across Canada. Membership in provinces includes 43,194 in Ontario, 6,326 in Saskatchewan, and 859 in Quebec.

The driving force of CWL has always been the spiritual development of members while working together. Standing committees provide the opportunity to deepen Catholic values and address social issues, and include: Spiritual Development, Christian Family Life, Community Life, Education and Health.

Many resolutions are passed and presented to governments annually. See the full list at cwl.ca (To Act On /Resolutions). These are but a few of the issues addressed by resolutions: End Trafficking Children; Employment Insurance Benefits for Cancer Patients; Violence on Television; Over-Medication of the Elderly; Anti-Bullying Programs; Protection of the Pre-born Child.

Looking forward to the next 100 years, the national CWL council has devised a five-year strategic plan to revamp and revitalize the organization. Members from across Canada have joined committees to share ideas, make suggestions, and plan the future. The eight standing committees (and 35 subcommittees) are being merged into three strong foundational pillars: Faith, Service, and Social Justice. Councils are free to prioritize, but are encouraged to be as active as time and energy allow.

CWL, the largest women’s organization in Canada and we dare say, the best, has something to offer every Catholic woman.

Buying a membership unites faith-filled women with the resolve to make the world a better place through prayers, fellowship, service, friendship, strong leadership, and spiritual fulfillment. Catholic women become the heart and hands of Jesus Christ as is evident at cwl.ca (To Inform/On the Spot). The benefits of the CWL are eternal!

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Archbishop Gomez on racism: ‘It should not be this way in America’

Tue, 06/02/2020 - 09:47

By Catholic News Agency Staff 

[Los Angeles, California – CNA] – The president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, condemned violence and racism May 31 and called for peaceful protests.

The leader of the country’s largest Catholic diocese and the president of the bishops’ conference addressed the weekend’s violence and civil unrest, both in his Pentecost homily and in a statement released by the USCCB.

“When God looks at us, he sees beyond the color of our skin, or the countries where we come from, or the language that we speak. God sees only his children — beloved sons, beloved daughters,” said Gomez in his homily, delivered on Sunday at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles.

Addressing a week of protests and violence following the death of George Floyd, a black man killed by a police officer in Minneapolis on May 25, the archbishop said that there are “millions of our brothers and sisters who are still forced to suffer humiliation, indignity, and unequal opportunity just because of their race or the color of their skin,” and that “it should not be this way in America.”

Gomez added that “racism is a sin,” and one that “denies what God wants for the human person.”

“But the way forward for us is love, not hate and not violence. Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost,” said Gomez, referring to the numerous protests throughout the country, some of which descended into rioting and looting. Gomez said that the Gospel proclaimed a message of peace.

“Today more than ever, we need a spirit of peacemaking and searching for nonviolent solutions to our problems,” said Gomez.

Later on Sunday, Gomez released a statement from his office as president of the USCCB, echoing many of the points he made in his homily.

“On behalf of my brother bishops, I share the outrage of the black community and those who stand with them in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and across the country,” said Gomez in the statement.

The archbishop said that the killing of George Floyd was “senseless and brutal, a sin that cries out to heaven for justice.”

“How is it possible that in America, a black man’s life can be taken from him while calls for help are not answered, and his killing is recorded as it happens?” asked Gomez. While saying he is praying for Floyd’s family and loved ones, Gomez said civil authorities must bring justice to those responsible for his death.

As for the protests, Gomez said that these “reflect the justified frustration and anger of millions of our brothers and sisters who even today experience humiliation, indignity, and unequal opportunity only because of their race or the color of their skin.”

“It should not be this way in America. Racism has been tolerated for far too long in our way of life,” he added.

The archbishop condemned how some “legitimate protests” have been “exploited by persons who have different values and agendas.”

“Burning and looting communities, ruining the livelihoods of our neighbors, does not advance the cause of racial equality and human dignity,” he said, adding that “we should not let it be said that George Floyd died for no reason.”

“We should honor the sacrifice of his life by removing racism and hate from our hearts and renewing our commitment to fulfill our nation’s sacred promise–to be a beloved community of life, liberty, and equality for all.”

END

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MP calls for pause on proposed changes to euthanasia legislation as court deadline nears

Tue, 06/02/2020 - 09:14

By Brian Dryden, Canadian Catholic News

[Ottawa – CCN]  – A Conservative MP wants the federal government to ask the courts for more time to make changes to Canada’s euthanasia regulations as a court-imposed deadline this summer looms.

Sturgeon River-Parkland MP Dane Lloyd of Alberta said making changes to legislation that will make it easier for Canadians to legally kill themselves with the help of a doctor is too important an issue to rush into, given that the opportunity for debate in the House of Commons has been severely curtailed since early March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There is no way they can push this through in the House and in the Senate and have any meaningful debate on such an important issue and make that deadline,” Lloyd told the Canadian Catholic News in an interview on June 1.

“It would be inappropriate to push this through at this time,” he said of a July 11 deadline to make Canada’s euthanasia/assisted suicide system fall in line with a Quebec court decision that ruled that one of the key aspects of the existing legislation is unconstitutional because it is too restrictive.

In addition, Lloyd said the number of deaths related to COVID-19 across the country at long-term care homes for seniors has exposed an issue that must be part of the debate surrounding MAiD going forward. “We need to know why some people think their only option is an assisted suicide,” he said.

“We need to review the situation,” Lloyd said, adding that the situation at some long-term care homes in Canada is “compelling” evidence that the way Canadian society treats and cares for seniors can be a factor that drives some people to request euthanasia.

“It calls into question that if at the end of their lives they really see (euthanasia/assisted suicide) as their only real option, or is it the case of being relegated to live in a form of hell,” he said of the “tragic situation” that some seniors find themselves in which has been exposed by the death toll and shocking conditions in some Canadian care homes over the past few months.

The federal government already asked for and was granted an extension to bring Canada’s system of legalized assisted suicide and euthanasia in line with a 2019 Quebec court ruling, but Lloyd said the minority federal Liberal government must ask for another extension because of the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the ability of parliament to address the issue.

“I don’t think any court would deny such a request under the circumstances,” he said, adding “we need to slow down on this.”

The proposed changes to the existing regulations surrounding euthanasia and assisted suicide – which were also initially a reaction to a previous Supreme Court of Canada ruling – follows in the wake of a Quebec court decision in 2019 that declared one of the key aspects of the existing law, that a person’s death must already be reasonably foreseeable to qualify for a medically-assisted death, to be unconstitutional.

Both the federal and Quebec governments decided not to appeal that ruling, and the federal government said it would bring Canadian law in line with the Quebec court decision.  While the federal government put forward proposed changes to legislation in Bill C-7, which went through First Reading in the House of Commons on Feb. 24, 2020, it asked for and was granted a four-month extension of the timeline to comply with the Quebec court ruling.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Christine Baudouin agreed to the extension request on March 2, giving the federal government until July 11 to make changes to the national system of legalized assisted suicide and euthanasia. But that was before the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered the House of Commons for five weeks in March and parliament has been functioning on a limited basis since then.

As of June 1 the federal government had yet to decide how to proceed, whether to move forward in the House of Commons quickly to meet the deadline or seek another court extension, said Rachel Rappaport, spokesperson for federal Justice Minister and Attorney General David Lametti.

“We are very much aware of the time sensitivity here,” Rappaport said. “We are examining all the different options. We understand this is a very important issue and remains a top priority.

“There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented challenges, including the disruption of the current parliamentary session,” she said. “No decision has been taken at the present time.”

The federal government’s proposed changes to euthanasia legislation put forward in Bill C-7 would set up a two-tier system for those whose death is reasonably foreseeable and those whose death is not. It would also allow a waiver of final consent for those whose death is reasonably foreseeable but “who may who may lose capacity to consent” before euthanasia can be provided. It specifically states that it excludes “eligibility for individuals suffering solely from mental illness.”

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Development and Peace lays off staff for summer because of financial hit of COVID-19

Tue, 06/02/2020 - 09:00

By Michael Swan, The Catholic Register

Staring down the barrel of a $5 million deficit, Development and Peace / Caritas Canada is laying off its 70 employees for eight weeks over the summer while management takes unpaid leaves of absence or reduces their working hours to two or three days a week.

The agreement between the union that represents the workers and management will save the Catholic development and aid agency nearly $1 million, in addition to about $1.5 million in spending cuts already this year.

The layoffs and other budget cuts are dramatic, but they don’t spell the end of Development and Peace, said deputy executive director Romain Duguay.

“I don’t think this is going to be the end. It will definitely be a year of transition next year,” he said.

Development and Peace’s money problems are coming at them from all sides. Because of COVID-19 there was no Share Lent collection this year. The collection brought in $6.7 million last year.

However, the non-profit can’t apply for COVID-19 wage subsidies of up to 75 per cent because the money collected in April isn’t forwarded from dioceses to the Development and Peace bank account until August. So, while parishes and other church organizations dependent on the collection basket can show sufficient losses to qualify for the Canada Employment Wage Subsidy, Development and Peace is out in the cold.

“The real loss will happen in August and September. We don’t know what will be the situation at that time. We’re looking carefully to be able to apply,” Duguay said. “We will ask the government for special consideration.”

The Development and Peace national council, elected by the movement’s 10,000 members, gave management a mandate to eliminate the deficit this year. Before the pandemic, the Caritas agency was on track to slay the $521,000 monster from 2018-2019. They had already brought the shortfall down from $3.9 million in 2017-2018.

Under the pressure of investigations into its partners over the last three years, Share Lent revenues have been on a constant slide — from $8.3 million collected in 2017, to $7.6 million in 2018, to $6.7 million in 2019.

Related:  Reforms are a “new beginning” for Development and Peace

Online across Canada, in solidarity with the world – Development and Peace marks Solidarity Sunday 2020

Share Lent 2020 derailed by COVID-19

Turning to the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) for help, Development and Peace has had verbal reassurance that the bishops will help. There’s a possibility of a make-up collection in the fall. This would certainly be welcome, but it would come after the organization’s fiscal year-end on Aug. 31, Duguay said.

“The CCCB actually, as you know, is in the same shape we are because all of the churches are closed,” he said.

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Ursuline presence in Muenster ends after more than a century: Sr. Miriam Spenrath, OSU, moves to Trinity Manor in Saskatoon

Tue, 06/02/2020 - 08:34

By Abbot Peter Novecosky, OSB, St. Peter’s Abbey, Muenster

MUENSTER – A history of more than 100 years came to an end here June 2.

Sr. Miriam Spenrath, OSU,  moved from the Ursuline residence in Muenster to join the rest of her community at Trinity Manor retirement home in Saskatoon.

The Ursuline Sisters came to Muenster on Sept. 2, 1913. They came at the request of Abbot Bruno Doefler who needed teachers to staff schools in the newly founded St. Peter’s Colony. The first schoolroom was the sacristy of Muenster’s St. Peter’s Cathedral, where the sisters started teaching the day after their arrival.

The Ursuline Sisters staffed many of the school in the Humboldt-Muenster area until they were gradually replaced by lay staff. The Ursuline Sisters established their headquarters in Bruno where they started a girls’ residential high school, St. Ursula’s Academy.

Related: Ursulines of Bruno marked 100 years at a 2013 celebration in Humboldt

Sr. Miriam arrived in Muenster in 1971. She started the St. Peter’s Alternate High School and served as principal until her retirement in 1996. She has continued to live in Muenster since then, engaged in a variety of volunteer activities.

“It’s been a good stay here for me for 49 years,” she commented. “The community has been good to me.”

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Remote commissioning celebration held May 30 for students of St. Therese School of Faith and Mission

Tue, 06/02/2020 - 07:14

The commissioning Mass with Bishop Mark Hagemoen was live-streamed from the chapel at St. Therese Institute of Faith and Mission at Bruno, SK. (Photo by James Riley, courtesy of St. Therese)

By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News

St. Therese School of Faith and Mission 2020 graduates from across the country tuned in to a virtual commissioning celebration May 30, which included live-streaming of Mass with Bishop Mark Hagemoen from the facility at Bruno, SK, online sharing of student photos, tributes and testimonies; and a valedictorian address via video.

When COVID-19 restrictions prompted the closing of St. Therese Institute in March, students spent their final weeks of the program connected only via the Internet – an extraordinary and unique situation reflected on during the broadcast, available online.

In spite of the challenges, the virtual commissioning celebration was filled with words of inspiration, appreciation and congratulations.

“Today we celebrate, as we bring our students to the point of graduation, that they are seeking the Way, the Truth, and the Life … an intimate relationship with the Lord of the Universe, in Jesus Christ. He is our true food,” said Bishop Mark Hagemoen

In his homily, the bishop reflected on the reality of a faith that “goes beyond time and space.”

“The ultimate way that we are fed, in an absolute way, is by God – in the person, in the real life, in the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ,” stated the bishop, before reflecting on the hunger for Christ and for Jesus in the Eucharist that has been more evident during the days of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. “Maybe feeling hunger and thirst for this food that leads to eternal life is a good thing.”

Celebrating the Mass and the commissioning on the eve of Pentecost, the bishop also reflected on how “the Holy Spirit comes to bring God’s blessing and gifts to His people during these extraordinary and difficult times.”

After reflecting on the readings, on the temptations that we, like Christ, experience, and on the hope offered from the salvation that comes from God through Jesus Christ, the bishop shared words of inspiration, focused on the Holy Spirit.

“Let us thank the Spirit who comes to us at Pentecost, that same Spirit who blesses and anoints each and every one of the students here, as we celebrate this benchmark day in your lives — the  Spirit that awakens faith; the Spirit that animates all of creation to its fullness and wholeness; the Spirit that comes unceasingly to the world; the Spirit that reveals God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; the Spirit that draw us all the time to prayer and union with God; the Spirit that restores the Divine likeness; the Spirit that brings unity in the Church; the Spirit that draws and sends us on the mission of Christ; the Spirit that brings ever-needed healing and reconciliation to brokenness and despair in ourselves and with one another; the Spirit that brings wholeness and unity to division; the Spirit that brings peace and justice to conflict, to war and to hate; the Spirit that lifts up the lowly and hears the cry of the poor; the Spirit that makes the impossible, possible; and the Spirit that brings real hope to indifference or despair; the Spirit that sets us free to be more like Christ, to be truly more fully human, more fully alive.”

(Photo by James Riley, courtesy of St. Therese)

The program also included messages from St. Therese staff and leaders, a valedictorian address via video by Andrea Bator of Grande Prairie, AB, and video testimonies from first-year students Kalista Nugent, Keelin Kennedy, Jacob Anderson and Mathieu Gaucher, second-year students Janelle Ryan and Isaac Bourke, and apostolic year student Gabby Marshall.

Registration is now underway for the 2020-21 faith formation year at St. Therese School of Faith and Mission. Find more information at: www.sttherese.ca/ApplyToday

(Photo by James Riley, courtesy of St. Therese)

 

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Pope Francis blesses global “rosary relay” for the sanctification of priests on Feast of the Sacred Heart

Tue, 06/02/2020 - 06:38

By Catholic News Agency staff

[Vatican City – CNA] – Pope Francis has given his apostolic blessing to a worldwide rosary relay for priests.

In a message to the Worldpriest Rosary Relay for the Sanctification of Priests 2020, dated April 25, the pope expressed his support for the event which takes place June 19, 2020 on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Participating shrines pray a mystery of the rosary at a designated half hour in thanksgiving for the priesthood and to seek Mary’s protection for priests. They pray in relay across time zones until the globe has been encircled in prayer.

The message, sent by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin to Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam, said: “His Holiness Pope Francis was pleased to learn of the Annual Global Rosary Relay for Priests to take place on the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.”

“He joins all taking part in praying that priests everywhere will be confirmed in their ministry of proclaiming and celebrating the merciful love of Christ the Redeemer, and become ever more fully shepherds after his own Heart.”

“To all he cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing.”

Archbishop Neary is the episcopal adviser to Worldpriest, which was founded in 2003 by Irish entrepreneur Marion Mulhall. She established the organization to “affirm the dignity, beauty and gift of the Priesthood of Jesus Christ to humanity.”

In 2009, Mulhall oversaw the launch of the Global Rosary Relay, which takes place annually on the feast of the Sacred Heart.

Due to the coronavirus crisis, organizers are encouraging participants in this year’s rally to livestream their prayers or, if that is not possible, to pray in small numbers in churches, respecting measures to restrict the spread of the disease.

The Worldpriest website explains that all Catholics can participate in the event from any location.

“Simply join in prayer with many of the live-streaming presentations, such as the live television broadcasts by Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) — our media partners — or through radio, Facebook Live and YouTube, all broadcast from many prayer locations worldwide,” the website says.

The global rosary rally began with 24 locations in 24 countries. Last year it recorded 255 locations in more than 70 countries.

This year Catholics in more than 85 countries are expected to take part. Locations include Our Lady of Magadan in Russia’s Far East, the Shrine of Our Lady of Kibeho in Rwanda, the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal, and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

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Delivering compassionate care: St. Paul’s Hospital Executive Director Tracy Muggli has built a career helping the most vulnerable

Fri, 05/29/2020 - 13:58

By Ashleigh Mattern

When Tracy Muggli stepped into the role of Executive Director of St. Paul’s Hospital in Saskatoon on April 1 this year, she had to hit the ground running. She started her new role in the midst of a pandemic and she’s one of the site leads responsible for COVID-19 planning at St. Paul’s Hospital.

“I learned very quickly about negative air pressure and how to install temporary walls and doors in a building,” Tracy said. “It’s been quite an enormous responsibility to take on in my early days to make sure that we are doing everything we possibly can to not only provide safe care but also in a safe space,”

Owned by Emmanuel Health, St. Paul’s Hospital is a Catholic Hospital founded in 1907 by the Grey Nuns in response to a typhoid outbreak. A decade later, the hospital found itself fighting an influenza pandemic (1918-1919).

“As the Grey Nuns envisioned more than 100 years ago, the core value of compassionate care was key to their service delivery, and here we are, more than a century later, stepping up and  delivering compassionate care during a pandemic.”

Tracy draws inspiration from the founding values of the Grey Nuns and their legacy of service and compassionate care in Saskatoon. She has worked in Saskatchewan health care for decades, drawing on her professional training as a social worker and leading efforts to improve outcomes for those facing mental health and addictions challenges.

“I’ve spent the last 32 years of my career trying to help people who are the most vulnerable in our community and I believe St. Paul’s Hospital is a place where I can continue that work and build on it,” she said.

One of her goals as Executive Director is to help create a more welcoming experience for people who access the hospital.

St. Paul’s Hospital is already in the process of hiring someone on a three-year term who will help to re-design the hospital experience.

She’s also excited about the new Hospice at Glengarda, the first-freestanding residential hospice in Saskatchewan, under construction in the former Ursuline residence on Hilliard Avenue in Saskatoon, thanks to a $20-million Close to Home campaign by St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation.

“We shine in the palliative care realm and now, with the hospice coming on board, Emmanuel Health can enhance holistic and compassionate care, and the respect and dignity that we give to the clients and patients who need our services.”

Related: Close to Home campaign reaches goal for building hospice and strengthening end-of-life care

Tracy grew up in Muenster, SK., home to St. Peter’s College and St. Peter’s Abbey. She’s an alumna of the College and has served on its board of governors for the last few years. She said growing up in a small Catholic community taught her the importance of community service and giving back.

“You’re involved, you’re engaged and you give of your time. You have to keep your community alive. Everyone has a role to play whether it is in the church, the community hall, the school or sports and recreation activities; it’s part of how you thrive as a community.”

Even in her spare time, she’s engaged in the community and has served on several boards supporting newcomers who are making Saskatoon their new home, as well as philanthropic initiatives, such as the Saskatoon Community Foundation in its efforts to raise money for the Community Fund for Reconciliation. Volunteering is in her DNA. She also loves attending festivals, live theatre and music shows — which sometimes feature performances by her 22-year-old son Ayden.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, many of her favourite activities are on hold, and she still hasn’t had the opportunity to have a formal walk-through of the hospital yet, but she’s optimistic about the future and her role in making St. Paul’s Hospital a centre for high quality, holistic care.

“I’ve spent my entire career finding creative ways to support people whose needs aren’t always met by the formal systems we have in place,” she said. “My personal philosophy is there’s always a better way. It may take creativity and time and a great deal of effort but I learned that positivity and strong teams will always bring improvement.”

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Saskatchewan faith leaders ask for public worship to be part of Re-Open Saskatchewan plans as COVID-19 restrictions are eased: province responds with guidelines

Fri, 05/29/2020 - 11:29

By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News

A coalition of faith leaders from across the province recently lobbied the provincial government to include a return to public worship as part of “Re-Open Saskatchewan” plans in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The response from the provincial government has been to directly address worship services in a new set of Phase 3 guidelines to take effect June 8.

“Soon after the release of the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan, faith leaders from across Saskatchewan gathered online to discuss the re-opening of places of worship,” states a May 29 media release from the faith leaders. “We drafted a letter asking the Saskatchewan government to work together with faith communities to develop responsible guidelines bringing places of worship within the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan.”

Click here for full text of Saskatchewan faith leaders’ May 14, 2020 letter to Premier Scott Moe

“We represent diverse traditions, including the Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Mormon, Muslim, and Unitarian communities, and the following Christian churches: Alliance, Anglican, Baptist, Evangelical, Lutheran (ELCIC and LCC), Mennonite, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Ukrainian Catholic, and the United Church of Canada. We represent communities that are large and small, urban and rural. All told, we represent at least 700,000 Saskatchewan residents.” – Letter from faith leaders of Saskatchewan to Premier Scott Moe.

“The government has responded to our request with the designation of two members of the COVID-19 Response Team to liaise with faith leaders. We are extremely thankful for the professionalism and commitment of these public servants. A robust and fruitful dialogue has produced guidelines that have been submitted for approval of the relevant health authorities,” according to the statement from the provincial faith leaders. “We confidently expect their imminent release.”

The May 29 media release from the faith leaders continues: “We have been assured that the provisions included in Phase 3 of the Re-Open plan will be adjusted as further experience commends. Guidelines addressing other aspects of worship and community life within our faith communities will be added in the coming weeks.”

Later the same day, the government of Saskatchewan released new guidelines for gradual re-opening of public worship to take effect Monday, June 8, 2020. The public worship guidelines include increasing the number in attendance to one-third of occupancy space, to a maximum of 30 people, and details about physical distancing and other requirements: LINK to guidelines.

An earlier May 14 letter from faith leaders to Premier Scott Moe noted how faith groups and places of worship in the province suspended activities and closed their doors even before required to do so, while pointing out that until now, faith gatherings had not been addressed in Re-Open Saskatchewan plans.

“The current Re-Open Saskatchewan plan addresses commerce and recreation but does not address spiritual gatherings. There are increasing tensions within our communities, and pressure on leaders to make decisions about what we can and cannot do at the present. These questions and decisions go beyond permission to gather up to ten people in a worship space. We are concerned that without clear communication and directives there will be well-intentioned but misguided decisions at the local level as well as outright rogue behaviour,” states the letter.

In the letter to the premier, the faith leaders also stress the importance of spirituality and faith. “While religious services may not be deemed ‘essential’ services in an official sense, the ministries that we provide are vitally important for the health and well-being of the people of Saskatchewan. Day-by-day and week-by-week the religious communities of our province provide support, encouragement, and hope to people whose circumstances are sometimes very difficult. Through prayer, worship, fellowship, mission, and service we both support our adherents and make valuable contributions to the wider community,” states the May 14 letter.

“While we quickly closed our doors to physical gatherings, ensuring that we did not contribute to the spread of the virus, we swiftly moved our activities online and continued to provide spiritual support and encouragement to the people of Saskatchewan in all kinds of safe and creative ways. Still, the health and vitality of our religious communities will be hampered by an extended period of being unable to gather together physically.” Letter from faith leaders of Saskatchewan to Premier Scott Moe.

Members of the faith leaders’ working group (representing a group of 28 leaders) are:

  • Most Rev. Donald Bolen, Archbishop, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Regina
  • Rev. Amanda Currie, Synod of Saskatchewan, Presbyterian Church in Canada
  • Rev. Tricia Gerhard, Chair, Living Skies Regional Council Executive, United Church of Canada
  • Rt. Rev. Michael Hawkins, Bishop, Anglican Diocese of Saskatchewan
  • Rev. Paul Israelson, District Superintendent, Saskatchewan District, Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada
  • Rabbi Jeremy Parnes, Beth Jacob Synagogue, Regina
  • Imam Ilyas Sidyot, Islamic Association of Saskatchewan (Saskatoon)
  •  Rev. Dr. Bernie Van De Walle, District Superintendent, Canadian Midwest District of the Christian Missionary Alliance Church

Related: “Public celebration of Mass slowly resumes in diocese of Saskatoon as COVID-19 restrictions are eased”

 

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Knights of Columbus summer camp will offer a virtual experience this year because of COVID-19

Fri, 05/29/2020 - 10:12

By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News

The Knights of Columbus summer camp usually held at the Blackstrap site and facilities south of Saskatoon will this year be offered as a Virtual Camp from home, as COVID-19 restrictions on large gatherings and events continue in Saskatchewan.

Register for virtual camp: Blackstrap Youth Camp website

Rather than simply cancelling the Catholic summer camp experience, organizers are transforming the program into an online, virtual offering.

This year, the Blackstrap Youth Camp website provides details about the unusual 2020 camping season.

“Campers who register for our Virtual Camp Webinars will have the opportunity to participate in some traditional camp activities from home, while seeing some familiar faces from camp,” the site describes.

Virtual activities will be offered several times each week from July 6 to Aug. 7, 2020.

Webinars will be hosted by Blackstrap Youth Camp staff, who will lead campers through traditional camp activities such as bracelet making, tie-dye, variety night, praise and worship, faith testimonials, praying of the rosary, and counsellor question-and-answer sessions.

The Blackstrap Youth Camp website also notes:

  • Campers will need access to a functional smartphone/computer that can support a virtual conference platform in order to be able to view the Virtual Camp Webinars.
  • Registration will grant the camper access to all Virtual Camp Webinars for the entire camp season July 6 to Aug. 7.
  • Those who register before June 15 receive a “Camp Care Package” to use during the webinars and a camp t-shirt at the end of the summer. (Each camper must be registered separately in order to receive camp materials and a t-shirt).

There is a minimum registration fee of $50 per camper for the virtual summer camp, with an opportunity to top-up that amount as an additional donation.

The Saskatoon Knights of Columbus opened Blackstrap Youth Camp in 1972. For the past 48 years, the summer camp has provided a welcoming faith-centred camp that offers youth an opportunity to experience God through nature and the various activities of the summer camp experience.

From the Archives: “Bishop Mark visits Blackstrap Camp in 2019”

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Pope Francis will name Charles de Foucauld a saint. Who was he?

Wed, 05/27/2020 - 12:27

By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency

[Vatican City – CNA] – The Vatican announced May 27, 2020 that Pope Francis has advanced the sainthood causes of 14 men and women, including Blessed Charles de Foucauld, a French missionary killed in Algeria in 1916.

De Foucauld, also known as Brother Charles of Jesus, was a soldier, explorer, Catholic revert, priest, hermit, and religious brother, who served among the Tuareg people in the Sahara desert in Algeria. He was assassinated by a band of men at his hermitage in the Sahara on Dec. 1, 1916.

De Foucauld was born in Strasbourg in 1858. He was raised by his wealthy and aristocratic grandfather after being orphaned at the age of six.

He joined the French military, following in the footsteps of his grandfather. Having already lost his faith, as a young man he lived a life of indulgence and was known to have an immature sense of humor.

De Foucauld resigned from the military at age 23, and set off on a dangerous exploration of Morocco. Contact with strong Muslim believers there challenged him, and he began to repeat to himself: “My God, if you exist, let me come to know you.”

He returned to France and, with the guidance of a priest, came back to his Catholic faith in 1886, at the age of 28.

The following saying is attributed to him: “As soon as I believed in God, I understood that I could not do otherwise than to live for him alone.”

De Foucauld realized a vocation to “follow Jesus in his life at Nazareth” during a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He was a Trappist monk in France and Syria for seven years. He also lived as a hermit for a period near a convent of Poor Clares in Nazareth.

He was ordained a priest in 1901 at age 43 and left for northern Africa to serve among the Tuareg people, a nomadic ethnic group, saying he wanted to live among “the furthest removed, the most abandoned.”

In the Sahara he welcomed anyone who passed by, whether Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or pagan.

He was deeply respectful of the faiths and cultures he lived among. During his 13 years in the Saraha he learned about Tuareg culture and language, compiling a Tuareg-French dictionary, and being a “brother” to the people.

The priest said he wanted to “shout the Gospel with his life” and to conduct his life so that people would ask, “if such is the servant, what must the Master be like?”

De Foucauld was the inspiration for the founding of several lay associations, religious communities, and secular institutes of laity and priests, known collectively as “the spiritual family of Charles de Foucauld.”

At his beatification in 2005, Pope Benedict XVI said as a priest, de Foucauld “put the Eucharist and the Gospel at the center of his life.”

“He discovered that Jesus — who came to unite Himself to us in our humanity — invites us to that universal brotherhood which he later experienced in the Sahara, and to that love of which Christ set us the example,” he said.

After meeting with Cardinal Angelo Becciu, prefect of the congregation for saints’ causes May 26, the pope approved a second miracle attributed to de Foucauld’s intercession, paving the way for his canonization.

On May 27, Pope Francis also advanced the cause of Bl. César de Bus, a French priest who lived from 1544 to 1607, and founded two religious congregations.

He also advanced the cause of Italian Bl. Maria Domenica Mantovani, co-founder and first general superior of the Institute of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family, who died in 1934.

The pope also approved the first miracle attributed to the intercession of Venerable Michael McGivney, a 19th-century American priest who founded the Knights of Columbus. He may now be beatified.

French laywoman Venerable Pauline-Marie Jaricot, who lived from 1799 to 1862 in Lyon, may also now be beatified.

She founded the Living Rosary Association and the Society of the Propagation of the Faith — which later became the first of the four pontifical mission societies.

Jaricot, a member of the lay Dominicans, was devoted to promoting support of the Church’s missionary efforts around the world.

She was the youngest of seven children. After losing her mother when she was 17, Jaricot took a vow of perpetual virginity and devoted herself to prayer. For many years, St. John Vianney was her spiritual director.

She was declared Venerable in 1963 by St. Pope John XXIII.

In 2013, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, then head of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, said “Jaricot’s heroic virtues do not consist in a series of miraculous events, but in that fruitful fidelity to Christ, to whom she devoted herself both in good times and in those difficult and tormented moments, as well as in the long-term vision of a commitment to evangelization, so that all people get to know Christ and of the merciful love of God.”

Pope Francis also confirmed May 27 the martyrdom of six Cistercians, the Servant of God Simeon Cardon and his five companions, who were killed in 1799 in Casamari, Italy.

He also confirmed the martyrdom of Cosma Spessotto, a priest and Franciscan from northern Italy who was killed in El Salvador in 1980.

Servant of God Bishop Melchior de Marion Bresillac, who was apostolic vicar to Sierra Leone and the founder of the Society of Africa Missions, was also advanced on the path to sainthood. A Frenchman, he died in 1859 in the West African country.

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Founder of Knights of Columbus now heading for beatification died amid a global pandemic

Wed, 05/27/2020 - 11:49

By Courtney Mares, Catholic News Agency

[Vatican City – CNA] – Fr. Michael McGivney, an American priest soon to be beatified, died amid a 19th-century pandemic which may have been caused by a coronavirus.

Fr. McGivney founded the largest world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization, the Knights of Columbus, in 1882. Today the order formed in his parish basement in New Haven, Connecticut, has grown to more than two million members donating millions of dollars to charity each year.

Pope Francis approved a miracle attributed to McGivney’s intercession on May 26, paving the way for the American priest’s beatification.

McGivney was serving as a parish priest amid the pandemic of 1889-1890, according to a press release from the Knights of Columbus May 27.

Biologists using gene-sequencing methods have attributed the pandemic to a type of coronavirus, according to a Bloomberg report. This virus, which first appeared in Russia, killed a total of 1 million people worldwide, including 13,000 in the United States.

McGivney became seriously ill with pneumonia and died on Aug. 14, 1890, at age 38.

Born in Waterbury, Connecticut, in 1852, McGivney was the first of 13 children born to Irish immigrants Patrick and Mary McGivney. Six of his siblings died in infancy or early childhood. His father was a molder in a Waterbury brass mill, where the young McGivney himself worked for a brief time as a child to help support his family.

From an early age, however, he sensed a calling to the priesthood (two of his brothers also became priests). He was ordained in Baltimore’s Cathedral of the Assumption by Cardinal James Gibbons on Dec. 22, 1877, and took up his first assignment, as curate at St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, the city’s first parish.

In New Haven, McGivney faced anti-Catholic prejudice. A New York Times headline in 1879 — “How an Aristocratic Avenue was Blemished by a Roman Church Edifice” — deplored the construction of a new stone church after the original building was destroyed by fire.

In addition to his parish duties, he ministered to a 21-year-old man who was on death row for killing a police officer while drunk, visiting him daily up until his execution. On the day he was due to be hanged, James Smith comforted the priest, saying: “Father, your saintly ministrations have enabled me to meet death without a tremor. Do not fear for me. I must not break down now.”

McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus at St. Mary’s in 1882 as a way to provide financial protection to families who suffered the death of a breadwinner — a challenge McGivney himself faced in his youth when his father died in 1873. The priest also hoped the organization would dissuade Catholics from turning to secret societies in times of need.

The Knights were named after the explorer Christopher Columbus. The order’s original principles were “unity” and “charity,” with “fraternity” and “patriotism” added later.

Fr. O’Donnell, a contemporary in Waterbury, remembered McGivney as “genial, approachable, of kindly disposition, cheerful under reverses, profoundly sympathetic with those upon whom had fallen the heavy hand of affliction, a man of strict probity and sterling integrity in his business transactions.”

“He was charitable to a fault, if I may so speak. The poor found in him a Good Samaritan,” O’Donnell said in 1900.

Another contemporary, Fr. Slocum, said: “Fr. McGivney, though a man of unassuming character, was possessed of an indomitable will, by which, aided by the grace of God, he was able to face unkind and unjust criticism from all directions in his great effort to found a society for the benefit of young men and the glory of the Church.”

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Pope Francis, major Catholic shrines to offer rosary for Mary’s help during pandemic 

Wed, 05/27/2020 - 11:41

By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency

[Vatican City – CNA] – Pope Francis will pray the rosary in the Vatican Gardens’ Lourdes grotto on Saturday, May 30 as Catholic shrines from around the world join via video streaming.

The intention of the worldwide rosary is for the Blessed Virgin Mary’s help and solace during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

According to a letter sent to shrine rectors by Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, the livestreamed prayer will take place at 5:30 p.m. Rome time (9:30 a.m. Saskatchewan time) on Saturday, May 30.

Catholic shrines have been asked to participate by holding their own recitation of the rosary, in accordance with local health measures, at the same time as the Rome event and to promote the initiative.

They have also been asked, if possible, to provide satellite or streaming connections with the Vatican’s television center so that video footage of the rosary at the different shrines can be shared during Pope Francis’ livestream.

During the coronavirus emergency, many Catholic shrines have had to close to the public, including the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in France, which only partially reopened to pilgrims May 16.

The Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal has also been closed and the May 13 anniversary of the 1917 Marian apparitions were celebrated without the presence of the public for the first time in its history due to the pandemic.

The rosary with Pope Francis is being organized by the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, which in its letter to rectors paraphrased the Acts of the Apostles 1:14: “All joined together constantly in prayer, along [with] Mary.”

“In light of the emergency situation caused by the Coronavirus pandemic that has caused the stoppage of the normal activity of all Shrines and the interruption of all pilgrimages, Pope Francis wishes to express a gesture of closeness to each of you with the recitation of the Holy Rosary,” Archbishop Fisichella wrote.

Shrines which will participate in the rosary May 30 include the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., and the shrines of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of the Rosary of Chiquinquira, Our Lady of Lujan, and the Virgin of Milagro.

From Europe, there will be the Shrines of Our Lady of Częstochowa, Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Lourdes, San Giovanni Rotondo, and Our Lady of Pompei.

The National Pilgrimage Centre of Elele in Nigeria and the Shrine of Our Lady of Peace in Ivory Coast will join from Africa.

The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization has been responsible for Catholic shrines since 2017.

Globally, there have been more than 5.4 million confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, with more than 340,000 recorded deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

This story was updated with participating shrines at 2:24 am MT May 26, 2020.

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Churches take first steps in re-opening – a look at the national picture

Wed, 05/27/2020 - 11:20

By Mickey Conlon, The Catholic Register

[Toronto – Canadian Catholic News] – It was like a new beginning for Fr. Geoffrey Young and clergy in the Roman Catholic. Diocese of Saskatoon.

For the first time in more than two months, Young looked out at the pews of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Saskatoon on May 22 and had his gaze reciprocated, as the diocese was among the first in Canada to celebrate live public Masses since the COVID-19 lockdowns began. As Saskatchewan entered Phase 2 of its re-opening, priests took advantage of an easing of restrictions that allowed them to celebrate the liturgy with parishioners.

“It’s nice to have our families, our parishioners, the people we’ve been praying for, thinking about through these times and it’s nice that we can slowly start gathering with them and having people to look at when we’re praying,” said Young.

There’s still a long way to go to reach pre-pandemic Saskatchewan, as guidelines allow for only 10 people, including the celebrating priest, to gather for public Mass. For Young, his first Mass was celebrated on a Friday afternoon with one family.

“Ten people, you’re pretty limited. I have a family with seven kids, the parents and myself,” said Young. “When we talk about public Masses, honestly it’s by appointment and there’s some logistics to that obviously to try and give a chance for each of the parishioners to come.”

Related: “Public celebrator of Mass slowly resumes in diocese of Saskatoon as COVID-19 restrictions are eased.”

These baby steps in Saskatoon mark a start and fuel hope that churches nationwide will soon be welcoming back parishioners. Strict regulations are in place, including the need to physical distance and practise stringent sanitary measures. Even communion is affected. Young will distribute the Eucharist outside of the Mass, allowing the priest to wash his hands and don a mask, which he won’t wear during the liturgy.

“It will look a little different than it was before this happened, but generally people will be able to come for communion,” said Young.

So far, it’s areas in Canada less severely impacted by COVID-19 that are easing back towards normal. The Archdiocese of Winnipeg allowed churches to re-open May 23-24. In a May 21 memo, Archbishop Richard Gagnon issued liturgical protocols to move from “the current private nature of our celebrations toward public ones.” Following Manitoba’s provincial guidelines, parishes could celebrate Mass with up to 25 participants “when pastors and administrators are ready.”

British Columbia has begun to celebrate Masses with a maximum of 50 people, higher than other parts of the country. In Vancouver, Archbishop J. Michael Miller has left the decision to re-open a parish “to the pastor’s prudential judgment, due to different circumstances of each parish.”

Regina and Prince Albert in Saskatchewan are also re-opening parishes. In Regina, public Masses can begin on Pentecost weekend (May 30-31), while Prince Albert, like Winnipeg, will open based on priests and parishes initiating protocols to follow guidelines.

Meantime, the Regina archdiocese has been trying to clarify some unanswered issues with provincial authorities. One topic sure to come up is an allowance so that larger parishes can welcome a greater number of worshippers.

“A lot of restaurants and bars, they’ll say 50-per-cent occupancy,” said Young. “We’re asking for some consideration for churches. We have some very large churches that can sit 2,000 people. Ten people, you can obviously safely have more than that with distancing and all that.”

In Alberta, the bishops developed a task force on re-opening and the province issued guidelines for places of worship, including limiting attendance to 50 people or one-third of normal capacity, whichever is less. The Archdiocese of Edmonton and Calgary diocese have said public Masses will resume on June 1.

Northern dioceses will begin to open up for Pentecost. In a Facebook message May 24, Whitehorse Bishop Hector Vila announced Mass will be celebrated at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Whitehorse, Yukon, on May 30.

Things have been a little different in the Diocese of Mackenzie-Forth Smith, which encompasses the Northwest Territories, the extreme west of Nunavut and north Saskatchewan. Friendship circles of up to 10 people in private homes, 25 in outdoor settings, have been possible since May 15. Some churches have experimented with outdoor Masses, though others are awaiting church reopening, set for mid-to-late June.

In Ontario, which next to Quebec has been the province hit hardest by COVID-19, churches remain closed, though beginning on the May 24 weekend the government said drive-in services were permitted.

Other faiths have taken advantage, but Catholic churches have not. Neil MacCarthy, director of public relations and communications with the Archdiocese of Toronto, said drive-in services have not been part of the conversation though drive-thru confession has been discussed.

These alternative celebrations are also not being considered in London in southwest Ontario.

“The Diocese of London does not endorse these as necessary at this time or good liturgical practice,” said Bishop Ronald Fabbro. “Instead, I encourage (parishioners) to continue to take advantage of alternatives such as online Masses and prayers.”

In Quebec, society is reopening faster than Ontario, but churches have not benefitted from the easing of restrictions. The Assembly of Quebec Catholic Bishops has sent out a health-protection protocol that will evolve along with provincial health guidelines.

In eastern Canada, the four dioceses in New Brunswick will re-open parishes with strict distancing protocols and other measures for Pentecost weekend.

Other Maritime dioceses have not indicated any change from the services provided online.

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Online ecumenical service for Pentecost planned Saturday, May 30 by Canadian Council of Churches

Tue, 05/26/2020 - 12:52
“Together in One Place” (Acts 2:1) 

By The Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) 

Amid the unique challenges and opportunities of this year’s COVID-19 pandemic, the CCC is hosting an online ecumenical Pentecost prayer service to “come together in one place” (Acts 2:1) in ecumenical friendship and prayer on Saturday, May 30, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. Saskatchewan time (3:00 p.m. EDT).

The season of Pentecost has always held a special significance for the ecumenical movement. With it comes the promise of new life through the arrival of the Holy Spirit, and a reminder of the unity we share, which has been forged with God’s help across differences.

Prayers, Scripture readings, and reflections will be offered in English and French.

National leaders of CCC member churches from across Canada will lead the service. Rev. Amanda Currie, Moderator of the 2019 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, and Most Rev. Pierre Goudreault, Roman Catholic Bishop of Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière, will offer brief reflections.

Other service leaders include:

  • Rt. Rev. Richard Bott, Moderator of the United Church of Canada
  • Rev. Susan C. Johnson, National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
  • Rev. Stephen Kendall, President of The Canadian Council of Churches
  • Most Rev. Linda Nicholls, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada
  • Pastor Peter Noteboom, General Secretary of The Canadian Council of Churches
  • Commissioner Floyd J. Tidd, Territorial Commander of The Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda
  • Rev. Archpriest Fr. Zareh Zargarian, Vicar, Armenian Holy Apostolic Church, Canadian Diocese

For info and registration: ecumenical-pentecost.eventbrite.ca

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