Summer Spiritual Pilgrimages in the Diocese
By Bishop Mark Hagemoen, Diocese of Saskatoon
Spiritual pilgrimages are a great feature in the summer season in the Diocese of Saskatoon. They occur across the diocese and province as soon as schools close. They are opportunities for spiritual devotion and community celebration. They are also occasions when people from across different areas of the province and beyond can celebrate their common fellowship in our One Lord, and gain inspiration from the legacy of faith of persons who have gone before us, who have contributed through their lives of faith, service, and devotion – evident also in the presence of the various churches and pilgrimage sites.
The 87th Annual Pilgrimage to Reward featured a group of pilgrims who walked from Unity to Reward (above). The trip was roughly 34 kilometers, and featured times of prayer and petition, and remembering in solidarity those faithful from the area who have gone before us in faith, prayer, and life – as the faith was lived in this western area of the area known at St. Joseph’s Colony and the Saskatoon diocese.
The walking pilgrims departed from St. Peter’s Parish in Unity, SK, at 10 am on the Saturday, July 6 – the day before the Sunday gathering at Reward. The walk was about 8 hours in all.
Fr. Greg Roth led the pilgrims in his Charger through the country roads leading to the Reward church site. Fr. Greg would drive ahead every 2 kilometers for the entire 34 kilometer trip, to make sure traffic was aware of the walk, and to address any needs of the pilgrims along the way. Fr. Greg walked several kilometers himself – changing places with Matthew Witzany behind the wheel.
A model of Holy Rosary Church was on display this year at the Reward shrine site.
The annual pilgrimage at the Mount Carmel shrine, west of Humboldt, was held two weeks later, on July 21. Abbot Peter Novecosky, OSB, and several Benedictines from St. Peter’s Abbey in Muenster were on hand for the celebration. Music ministry was provided from a choir from St. Scholastica Parish in Burr, SK.
Clergy “Sports Days” held at St. Peter’s Abbey, Muenster, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus of Saskatchewan
The annual “Clergy Sports Days” were again held at St. Peter’s Benedictine Abbey on July 15 and 16, 2019. There was a good turnout of clergy from the dioceses of Regina, Saskatoon, and Prince Albert.
The clergy played a surprisingly intense and competitive series of sports, including soccer, volleyball, and basketball. The previous evening featured ping-pong and board games. The bishops tried to quell the competitiveness – but, alas – this effort was in vain.
Annual celebration at St. Ann Seniors Home
I again had the privilege of celebrating with the residents and community of St. Ann Seniors Home in Saskatoon on the Feast of St. Joachim and St. Ann – July 26, 2019.
Sisters Margaret Beaudette and Dianne Naud – Sisters of St. Joseph of Canada (below) – attended the Mass. Both have worked in the Diocese of Mackenzie-Fort Smith, NWT, for decades, providing education, counselling, and ministerial support in several parish communities. They visited Saskatoon during the time of the St. Ann celebration.
Mass and Luncheon Celebration at Columbian Manor
Another of our Catholic senior facilities – Columbian Manor – was the site for a gathering and celebration this summer. The residents of Columbian Manor includes several priests and religious. The Manor has plans to expand. On Aug. 5, residents and community supporters came together for a mid-summer celebration of the Eucharist, and a community event.
Monsignor Stan Urbanoski and Monsignor Ray Senger concelebrated at the Mass, along with Fr. Michel Bedard. Celebration of the Eucharist was followed by a lunch-time banquet at Columbian Manor. There was a large turn-out at the annual event.
Blackstrap Youth Camp – operated by the Knights of Columbus
On July 25, 2019, I again had the opportunity to celebrate the Mass for the leaders and campers at Blackstrap Youth Camp, run by the Knights of Columbus at Blackstrap Lake, south of Saskatoon.
The Camp Coordinator, Julien Dale, led a capable team of councillors and youth leaders. Julien started his first year as a teacher with Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools this September.
Our Lady Queen of Peace Polish Catholic Church 100th Anniversary Celebration August 11, 2019
Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church (north of Prud’homme) was constructed in 1918-1919. Many former residents gathered for a centennial celebration at the church in August.
There was a very large turn-out and a festive mood as many recalled their days celebrating at the church. The views are stunning – as one looks south from the entrance of the Church one can see rolling prairie farm landscapes. The power and the blessing of the land is evident, and certainly contributed to the faith and spirit of the pioneers of the church community.
It was a pleasure to have Monsignor Stanley Urbanoski and Fr. Denis Phaneuf join regional pastor Fr. Colin Roy concelebrate at the Sunday Eucharistic liturgy.
Dedication of Statue of St. Mother Theresa on the Feast Day of St. Mary Parish, Macklin
The Nativity of Mary – the Mother of Jesus – September 8, 2019
The weekend of Sept. 7-8 2019 was a time of special celebration for the parishes that make up the north-west region of the diocese. For St. Mary Parish in Macklin, the feast-day of the Parish was also the occasion to celebrate a significant ‘pro-life’ saint of the Church – St. Mother Teresa. The community is demonstratively pro-life.
The Mass and dedication of the statue was on the grounds of St. Joseph’s Health Care facility. The statue is located on the grounds where many religious sisters prayed the ‘Stations of the Cross’ as they lived and worked at St. Joseph’s facility. In attendance was Jean Morrison – President and Executive Director of Emmanuel Care.
The homily at the event celebrated St. Mother Teresa as an example of the power of one holy person’s “YES” to giving themselves to Christ and caring for the beloved little ones – especially those on the peripheries. It was also the occasion to invite the community to get ready to receive the upcoming “Diocesan Pastoral Plan” soon to be promulgated in the diocese.
Applicants to the Permanent Diaconate Program
Paul Wheeler, Nicholas Blom, Ryan LeBlanc and their wives, Ely, Maureen, and Monique gathered for an informal dinner at my residence on Sept. 5, 2019.
Receiving New Clergy in our Diocese to Serve our Parish Communities
The Diocese of Saskatoon continues to be blessed by the clergy who come to serve our Diocese. This summer several priests arrived from Ghana, Nigeria, and India to serve our parish communities.
The spring and summer season was a time of experiencing an abundance of God’s blessings and the experience of the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a striving and faithful People of God. ministry and blessing.
The Diocese of Saskatoon continues to reveal so many ways in which love and dedication to Christ and the Church is evident in the many activities and devotions of dedicated and zealous people.
I look forward to the upcoming Fall season as we introduce our Diocesan Pastoral Plan, and propose to our parish communities pastoral goals to help our communities and diocese continue to engage in the life, mission, and ministry of Jesus Christ.