By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News
An annual fund-raising effort to support ministry and outreach across the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon is starting a bit later this year – but that’s not the only thing that is new.
The 2021 theme for the Bishop’s Annual Appeal (BAA) – “God is Doing New Things” – is particularly apt as a number of new situations, new initiatives and new realities continue to challenge and inspire the diocese and its parishes. The theme is based on the scripture verse from Isaiah 43: 19: “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
Among the new initiatives this year is another, parallel fund-raising effort — the Catholic TRC Healing Response in support of healing for residential school survivors and their communities, launched this summer by the Catholic bishops of Saskatchewan.
“The 2021 Bishop’s Annual Appeal (BAA) begins later than usual this fall due to the importance of working on details of the recently-launched Catholic TRC Healing Response fund-raising effort,” noted BAA Coordinator Cathy Gilje of the Diocese of Saskatoon Catholic Foundation.
In his letter to parishioners about this year’s Annual Appeal, Bishop Mark Hagemoen noted: “We look forward to making further progress in our diocese on our commitment to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In this spirit, the Bishops of Saskatchewan recently announced efforts to promote a Catholic TRC Healing fund to support the healing and care of persons affected by the damaging legacy of residential schools in our province.”
Gifts to the Bishop’s Annual Appeal have always supported Indigenous Ministry, including Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, which serves Indigenous and Métis parishioners in Saskatoon, as well as the Diocesan Council for Truth and Reconciliation, which has its mandate “…to provide a forum for listening and sharing, through stories and prayer, to collaborate with the diocese toward building and strengthening relationships, and to support healing from the Indian Residential School experience.”
This year the diocese also joined with Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools and St. Thomas More College to launch a new Indigenous Pastoral & Lay Leader Ministry Education Program.
Other recent new developments in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon include a new age for Confirmation of young people (now raised to 11 years or about Grade 6) with resources and assistance provided to parishes by the diocesan Office of Evangelization and Catechesis, a new vision for Youth Ministry and the launch of Project Timothy to mentor young adults as leaders of outreach to youth across the diocese, a new vision for Adult Faith entitled “Proclaim, Awaken, Encounter” offering formation, prayer, events and community throughout the year, and a new vocations initiative, Sts. Benedict and Scholastica Formation Program.
“The Bishop’s Annual Appeal is how our diocese and the local church responds to the many needs we see around us and provides service and outreach throughout our diocese,” said Bishop Hagemoen in his letter to the diocese.
“These supports are more necessary than ever as we deal with the challenges of our present times. The size of your gift is secondary to the goal that all people of our diocese participate in sharing and working together in the mission of Proclaiming Christ, in service to others, sharing from the heart.”
The Bishop’s Annual Appeal supports many needed ministries and programs in the diocese and beyond, including:
- Hospital Chaplaincy
- Prison Ministry
- Youth Ministry
- Indigenous Ministry
- Justice and Peace
- Vocations and the education of diocesan seminarians, clergy and laity
- Marriage and Family Life
- Evangelization and Catechesis
- Adult Faith
- Office of Migration (refugee sponsorship)
- Communications, Liturgy Commission
- Deaf Ministry
- ministry support for the northern Archdiocese of Keewatin-LePas
- Church restoration fund / new church sites fund
- Friendship Inn
- Prairie Centre for Ecumenism.
VIDEO – Bishop Mark Hagemoen provides an overview of this year’s Bishop’s Annual Appeal in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon:
VIDEO – Marilyn Jackson, Director of Ministry Services, reflects on the vision for life-long faith formation in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon.
VIDEO – Introducing the new Project Timothy youth ministry project:
VIDEO – Fr. Paul Oshin, a missionary priest serving in the Archdiocese of Keewatin-Le Pas describes the faith of the people and the impact of support for Catholic ministry in northern Saskatchewan: