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

Photo of the St. Therese Class of 2020 taken before the COVID-19 shut-down. (Photo courtesy of St. Therese School of Faith and Mission)

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:

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