Mount Carmel 2023: Bishop challenges pilgrims to be prophets of the new millennium

The annual pilgrimage to the Mount Carmel pilgrimage site was held July 16, 2023, on the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Some 900 were in attendance for the Sunday morning outdoor Mass. (Photo by Abbot Peter Novecosky, OSB)

By Jonathan Perez

[CARMEL, SK] – As Catholic youth gear up for the 2023 World Youth Day in Lisbon, Portugal, Bishop Mark Hagemoen urged those who participated in the Mount Carmel Pilgrimage July 16 to embrace their role as prophets of the new millennium.

On the feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, hundreds of pilgrims gathered at the Mount Carmel Pilgrimage site west of Humboldt, to participate in the annual pilgrimage. The day commenced with praying of the rosary and Marian hymns, culminating in outdoor Mass with  Bishop Hagemoen, con-celebrated with Abbot Peter Novecosy, OSB, and priests from the area.

At the conclusion of Mass, the bishop carried the Blessed Sacrament to the top of the Mount Carmel hill to bless the surrounding fields.

(Photo by Jonathan Perez)

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During his homily, Hagemoen echoed the words of Pope Francis, calling on the pilgrims to embrace their prophetic calling and spread God’s word to all. He emphasized that each individual, through baptism, has received the gift of messianic prophecy, becoming a prophet themselves.

“The pope says, ‘Each of us, brothers and sisters, is a prophet. In fact, with baptism, let us all receive the gift of the messianic prophecy.’ He quotes the Catholic Catechism: a prophet is one who, by baptism, helps others read the present under the action of the Holy Spirit. It is essential to read the present, not like the news, but under the action of the Holy Spirit, who helps understand God’s plans and conform to them,” said Hagemoen.

Highlighting the significance of living according to Christ’s teachings, Hagemoen emphasized that being a prophet is not limited to mere words but requires actions that bear witness to Jesus and demonstrate His love and compassion to others.

“You and I are called to be prophets. As a bishop, my brother priests, and Abbot Peter [Novecosky], are called to be prophets as we live our ministry of priesthood and ordination. You are called to be prophets. Here is what the Holy Father says: ‘A prophet is someone who points to God, and who, by word and life, shows us how to be like Christ,'” he added.

(Photo by Jonathan Perez)

Drawing inspiration from the biblical figure of Elijah, who challenged the prophets of the false god Baal on the historic Mount Carmel site in the Holy Land (as recorded in 1 Kings 18:16-45), Bishop Hagemoen encouraged the faithful to demonstrate the power of the one true God through their actions and devotion.

Further to World Youth Day in Lisbon, Portugal, Fr. Gerard Cooper (rector and pastor of the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon), Verbum Dei Missionary Sr. Marta Piano, and a number of other adult leaders will accompany some 40 pilgrims from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon to the faith gathering, with another 30 from the Diocese of Prince Albert also joining them. Together, they will be part of a 5,000-strong Canadian youth delegation at the international event.

RELATED: Young pilgrims from diocese of Saskatoon prepare for World Youth Day in Lisbon Aug. 1-6

RELATED: Canadian delegation heading to World Youth Day – including Bishop Bryan Bayda and 12 other Canadian bishops

As the young pilgrims embark on this spiritual journey, Bishop Hagemoen’s message resonates, urging them to be modern-day prophets, spreading the message of love and hope to the world.

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(A parishioner at the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon, Jonathan Perez is also a news reporter for Sask Today.)

Brief history of the Mount Carmel pilgrimage site:

  • Sept. 10, 1922 – The Our Lady of Mount Carmel pilgrimage site is dedicated during celebration of Holy Mass, with some 3,500 in attendance from throughout St. Peter’s Colony, led by the Benedictines of St. Peter’s Abbey, Muenster.
  • 1928 – An Italian-made white carara marble 2.5-metre-high statue of Mary holding the child Jesus was erected and blessed. The statue’s pedestal was struck by lightning in 1937 and 1950.
  • 1938 – Stone mason and architect Antonion Molaro constructed the chapel from local stone.
  • 1939 – Stations of the Cross, designed by Antonio Molaro, were canonically erected.
  • 2019 – Lightning pole replaced and solar-powered light installed.