Ministry reports and events highlighted during diocesan Administration Day

Myron Rogal, Sr. Marta Piano, Astrid Alas, Marilyn Jackson, and Jackie Saretsky (l-r) were among the ministry leaders who presented information and updates at a diocesan Administration Day Sept. 14 in Saskatoon. (Photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)

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By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News

A joint Bishop’s Annual Appeal and diocesan ministry “resource guide” publication was introduced during Administration Day Sept. 14 in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon.

The 12-page booklet will be mailed to parishioners, as well as being available online at

John Hickey introduced a new “You Shall Be My WItnesses” resource guide publication highlighting ministries and upcoming events in the Catholic community. (Photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)

John Hickey, diocesan Evangelization and Mission Leader compared the 12-page booklet to the city of Saskatoon’s “leisure guide” of swimming lessons and recreational programs – but for Catholics seeking programs and information about faith enrichment events.

Before the summer, Hickey contacted parishes and Catholic groups to invite event submissions, and a number of parish and Catholic organizations’ events are also included in the publication.

A letter from Bishop Mark Hagemoen about the Bishop’s Annual Appeal and its 2023 theme “You Will Be My Witnesses” is also included in the resource guide publication, along with a BAA donation form.


Adult Faith programs

Other ministry updates on Administration Day included information from Adult Faith Coordinator Astrid Alas about upcoming Awaken faith formation programs, including online webinars in fall 2023 and fall 2024: “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church” online from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 3, 10, 17 and 24, and “Everyday Apostles” online Feb. 20 and 27, and March 5 and 12.

Alas also introduced a video about the five-part “Church of the New Evangelization” in-person Awaken series to be held on five Wednesday evenings Oct. 25, Nov. 1-22 at the Cathedral of the Holy Family, introducing Vatican II and papal documents about evangelization from four popes: Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis.

Speakers for the series are Sr. Mirasol Abala of the Verbum Dei Missionaries; Marilyn Jackson, Director of Ministry Services; Bishop Mark Hagemoen; Sr. Malou Tibayan of the Verbum Dei Missionaries; and Fr. David Tumback, pastor at St. Patrick Parish. Video:

She also reminded parish leadership about the Catherine of Siena Institute’s “Called and Gifted” program, which is available in the diocese of Saskatoon.


Justice and Peace

Myron Rogal, diocesan coordinator of Justice and Peace, spoke about a number of ongoing issues and upcoming events.

“We will continue to be looking at human trafficking, which was mentioned this morning during the presentation of the pastoral plan,” Rogal said, pointing to a “Working Toward Freedom” four-section resource about the issue created by the diocese of Saskatoon, the diocese of Victoria and the archdiocese of Vancouver, which is available on the diocesan website. He noted that this issue has also been taken on by the Catholic Women’s League both locally and nationally.

Myron Rogal, Office of Justice and Peace (Photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)

Another ongoing project is Grow Hope Saskatchewan, which brings together farmers and donors to raise crops that are sold in support of relieving hunger and increasing food security in marginalized areas of the world. “This year again we have 421 acres that can be sponsored,” he noted. Ecumenical partners include the diocese of Saskatoon, Development and Peace-Caritas Canada, Mennonite Central Committee and Canadian Baptist Ministries.

Rogal noted that Sept. 30 is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and highlighted a “Walk for Reconciliation” event being held in Saskatoon that morning. A similar walk is also planned in Humboldt.

Former TRC Commissioner Wilton Littlechild is one of the speakers at an Oct. 26 event being held in Saskatoon in conjunction with the Catholic Health Association of Saskatchewan convention – the evening talk can be attended on its own, Rogal noted.

Nov 22 is “Red Wednesday” – the international day to recognize and to pray for persecuted Christians around the world. An ecumenical prayer service is planned for that evening, as well as a novena to St. Michael the Archangel beforehand, Rogal noted

Ongoing office support around the Diocesan Council for Truth and Reconciliation and fund-raising for the Indigenous Reconciliation Fund are also continuing. “We are available to give presentations on that fund,” he noted.

Another ongoing issue is working for those without housing in our city, working towards warm-up shelters and other outreach.


Sts. Benedict and Scholastica

Sr. Marta Piano of the Verbum Dei Missionaries provided a brief overview of the Sts. Benedict and Scholastica Formation Program, which offers human and spiritual formation in a community setting, to those engaged in an academic program, who are discerning priesthood, religious life, or lay ecclesial ministry.

So far, the program has included only men, but it is also open to women discerning religious life or ecclesial ministry, she noted.

Prayer, retreats, spiritual formation and community living foster this “integral formation” of young adults, Piano said.

Sr. Marta Piano, Verbum Dei (Photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)

Sts. Benedict and Scholastica is co-ordinated by the Verbum Dei Missionaries (Piano, Sr. Malou Tibayan and Sr. Mirasol Abala), on a team with Vocations directors Fr. Colin Roy and Fr. Dan Yasinski, and Bishop Mark Hagemoen.


Hospital Chaplaincy

Jacqueline Saretsky, coordinator of Hospital Chaplaincy, reported on her work with diocesan hospital chaplain Fr. Benedict Arakkal, providing spiritual care to patients at Royal University Hospital (RUH), Saskatoon City Hospital, Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital, and the Leslie and Irene Dubé Centre for Mental Health.

“Fr Arakkal goes to all these hospitals, and he shares the load at St. Paul’s Hospital with Fr. Cosmas Epifano, OSB, who has been gratefully on loan to us from St. Peter’s Monastery out at Muenster.”

Regarding the ministry, she noted that Arakkal says Mass at RUH at 2 p.m. Sundays and at City Hospital at 4 p.m., for patients, their families, and staff. “So many of your parishioners from out of town come (to hospital), and it is good for you to have that knowledge, so that you can inform them,” she noted. “If you have a parishioner at one of the hospitals in the city, encourage them to ask for a chaplain upon admission, otherwise, we might not know that they are there… you have to request it.”

Jackie Saretsky, Hospital Chaplaincy (Photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)

Right now, Saretsky also has a mission to educate people about palliative care, using the Horizons of Hope program developed by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. The goal is to have the program presented in every parish across Canada, she said.

“Many Catholics don’t know what palliative care is, and what it involves, and many Catholics do not understand what the Catholic Church teaches about end-of-life and the type of care that they have a right to receive,” she said.

“End-of-life care does not include Medical Assistance in Dying, also known as MAiD, which, bluntly stated involves euthanizing people by lethal injection – rather, palliatve care is care that supports the patient with compassionate physical, medical, social, and spiritual care until natural death.”

Any parish or group interested in the Horizons of Hope workshop can contact Saretsky at (306) 659- 5839 or


Evangelization and Catechesis

Director of Ministry Services Marilyn Jackson encouraged parish leaders to contact her office if they have any questions, requests, or ministry needs.

She also provided an update about initiatives in the diocesan Office of Evangelization and Catechesis, including partnering with FacetoFace Ministries to offer confirmation retreats to young people in March 2024 at a number of locations. “All the confirmation candidates across the diocese will be able to choose one of those confirmation retreats to go to,” she said, encouraging parish leaders to watch for details in the coming weeks.

Jackson also highlighted sacramental preparation guidelines and resource materials available to parishes.

Marilyn Jackson, diocesan Director of Ministry Services, with MC Greg Chatlain, Director of Administration and Finance in the background. (Photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)


Marriage Movement

A marriage and family committee was recently formed in the diocese to identify features and gaps in the Pastoral Plan around the priority of “Building Family and Community.” The recommendation was to implement a “Marriage Movement” that will help to create social supports for married couples through small group gatherings.

A brochure about the initiative has been created inviting parishes to assist in supporting married couples and families through this movement. “We can provide support as a diocese, but it will only be successful if it is carried out at the parish level.”


Fall Congress

Jackson also highlighted the upcoming day-long Fall Congress on Thursday, Oct. 19 at the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon, which is open to clergy, staff, lay leadership, and the general public. Registration can be found at:

Keynote speaker for “The Lord Heals the Broken-Hearted and Saves the Crushed in Spirit” (Psalm 34:18) is Bryana Russell of Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries. Jackson introduced the ministry with a video about the Sanctuary vision of care and accompaniment. “If people are coming to us in their woundedness, we have to respond,” said Jackson.

Other speakers during the day will include a panel of grief support ministries in the diocese, including Dianna Knaus of Mourning to Dawn grief ministry for bereaved spouses; Sharon Powell of Transitions, which ministers to those who are separated or divorced; Anne Marie Hughes of the Saskatoon Pregnancy Options Support Centre, who will speak about post-abortion grief ministry; and Restorative Ministry coordinator Dianne Anderson, who will speak about ‘what grief and healing looks like in prison ministry.” There will also be information about Red Bird Ministries, a non-profit, pro-life Catholic grief ministry program for parents who have lost a child, from pregnancy through adulthood.




Kiply Lukan Yaworski is the communications coordinator for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon –