Bishop embarks on personal 50-km trek in support of Catholic TRC Healing Response

By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News

Bishop Mark Hagemoen of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon is embarking on a 50-km run to raise funds and awareness about the Catholic TRC Healing Response.

Those sponsoring the bishop’s 50km Trek are able to direct their donations to their particular diocese or eparchial efforts in support of the Catholic TRC Healing Response, notes Hagemoen. Funds raised will go to support residential school survivors and their communities, in light of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action, and in consultation with Indigenous leaders, elders and groups.

Dubbed “The 50km Trek,” the bishop’s run on Sept. 18 is part of the Beaver Flat 50 marathon held at Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park on a rough course that features “2300 meters/7545 feet of vertical gain.”

“I have always liked running, trekking and trail running, and was used to doing it more in BC and in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta,” says Hagemoen. “It was strongly suggested to me that I consider a race like this in Saskatchewan.”

The suggestion was intriguing, he says. “And then I thought, well, if I could do this for a worthy cause or effort, maybe I would consider it. Then it hit me: we are launching the TRC Healing Response fund, and we are trying to support that and bring awareness to that.”

The image of a trek seems an apt metaphor for the ongoing journey of truth and reconciliation, he notes. “We are on a journey to a hoped-for future, but that journey is kind of uncertain and not always easy, and requires effort.”

Donate: The 50km Trek For TRC

Related: Diocese joins country in preparing to celebrate National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Related: Saskatchewan bishops launch fund-raising appeal to support residential school survivors and their communities

He adds: “Let’s face it: our lives are one big trek. Sometimes the trek goes fine and you have all sorts of energy, and other days there are aches and pains, and it can be a little tougher – but the trek continues.”

Running and hiking have been formative experiences from the bishop throughout his life. “There are a lot of things that happen when you are running or hiking,” he says. “I pray. I pray a lot when I run. I usually do one rosary, and sometimes more. But I also do a lot of creative thinking and sometimes problem solving with God.”

He adds that he doesn’t listen to music when he runs, but instead strives to be present to nature and to creation, to the environment and to prayer. “I like the silence,” he says.

“The fact that this is a very long run, 50 km – and it is not just a run, but it is a trek, which will take a lot of time, endurance, patience, and some pain – that kind of fits where we are at with reconciliation right now,” he concludes.

“Maybe it’s prophetic that this is a long journey, not a short one. That seems like a good metaphor for what we need to expect and to do right now.”