Indigenous ministry education certificate program launched in diocese of Saskatoon

Icon of the Sacred Heart 2017 in collaboration with Romeo Crow Chief of Siksika Nation written by Andre J. Prevost

By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News

A new four-course certificate program for those involved in ministry begins Sept. 22, 2020, jointly sponsored by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools and St. Thomas More College.

“Indigenous Pastoral & Lay Leader Ministry Education” will be offered through weekly online classes, with some additional reading and course work completed between sessions.

This continuing education program is aimed at Catholic Indigenous and non-Indigenous clergy and lay ministers, led by teams of Indigenous and non-indigenous instructors, modelling respectful and reconciling relationships, explained Bishop Mark Hagemoen in a recent interview.

“This is an initiative meant to bring together Indigenous and non-Indigenous people involved in Church, education and health care in a faith context, and – in the spirit of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission ‘Calls to Action’ – to have a joint education and understanding of Indigenous history, the history of contact with non-Indigenous peoples in Canada, with reference to the Roman Catholic missionary experience, and to explore some of the Indigenous cultures in our country, with reference to Saskatchewan,” the bishop described.

The program will also “look at some principles of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and maybe some other themes related to that, as we look at true reconciliation moving forward, which impacts community life, church life, and other environments,” Hagemoen added.

Courses will be taught by teams of Indigenous and non-Indigenous instructors, “modelling respectful and reconciling relationships.”

“I am grateful for the work done by the curriculum committee to develop this program, and I thank St. Thomas More College and Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools for co-sponsoring this initiative in our diocese,” said Bishop Hagemoen in a recent letter inviting participation from clergy, religious, and lay ecclesial leaders in the diocese.

The new four-course certificate program is specifically geared toward those involved in ministry in a Catholic context, namely: clergy, lay ecclesial ministers, catechists, Catholic school teachers, and youth/family ministry leaders.

Download the Brochure – PDF

Under development for the past year and a half, the new certificate program begins with Course #1 – An Introduction to First Nations Studies, featuring nine sessions offered online 4:15 to 5:30 p.m. every Tuesday from Sept. 22 to Nov. 17. (Deadline to register for Course #1 is Sept. 18.) Instructors for the first course are MaryAnne Morrison of the Diocesan Council for Reconciliation and Adrienne Castellon of Trinity Western University.

This first course will be followed over the next year by three other courses, also offered online:

  • Course #2 – Indigenous-Settler Relationship offered Jan. 11 to March 12, 2021 instructed by Cristen Dorgan Lee and Denise Hahn;
  • Course #3 – Introduction to Contemporary Effects of Colonization offered March 29 – May 28, 2021 instructed by Falynn Baptiste, Ryan Leblanc and Adrienne Castellon; and
  • Course #4 – Introduction to Reconciliation: The Church and Indigenous Peoples offered Sept. 20 to Nov. 19, 2021, instructed by Gordon Martell and Bishop Mark Hagemoen. Cost of each course is $200.

The four courses reflect a number of key principles, which the development team has described as providing:

  • An overview of the features of Indigenous peoples in western Canada, with specific reference to the Saskatchewan context;
  • An overview of the history and features of contact and relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples with specific reference to the Roman Catholic Church experience;
  • Creation of a dialogue between Indigenous and Christian world views;
  • Insight into the history that has shaped the complex nature of the relationships in the present day;
  • An opportunity for mutual sharing and hope for a respectful and harmonious future as children of God, who together seek beauty and good of all.

Online registration is found at — or for more information contact or telephone 306-659-5831.