By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News
Delegates from across western Canada gathered Oct. 13-15 in Saskatoon to reflect, share and pray about a variety of social justice issues, including polarization, poverty, homelessness, and human trafficking.
The Western Conference of Social Justice (WCSJ) serves as a committee of the Assembly of Western Catholic Bishops, originally founded in 1998 to support those involved in social justice ministry in dioceses and eparchies of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon, and Northwest Territories.
Bishop-appointed delegates from the dioceses of Victoria, Nelson, Edmonton, Grouard-McLennan, Saskatoon, Regina, Keewatin-Le Pas, St. Boniface, Winnipeg and Mackenzie-Fort Smith attended the 2023 annual gathering at Queen’s House of Retreat and Renewal, along with the current bishops’ representative for the group, Bishop Jon Hansen, CSsR, of the Diocese of Mackenzie-Fort Smith.
The WCSJ agenda included diocesan reports and networking, panel discussions, speakers, and time for discussion and sharing.
A panel discussion Oct. 13 on “Equipping community and church leaders in a society of polarization” featured author and speaker Dr. Brett Salkeld, Archdiocesan Theologian for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Regina; Fr. Aaron Wessman, Vicar General and Director of Formation for the Glenmary Home Missioners and author of “The Church’s Mission in a Polarized World,” and author and speaker Leah McDonald Perrault, Executive Director of Southwest Homes.
The conference continued Oct. 14 with a session about the local response to human trafficking, featuring speakers Myron Rogal of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, and Catholic Women’s League members Donna Aldous and Marion Laroque.
Representatives from the Vincent de Paul Society and the Diocese of Victoria presented a session on “Where is the Church in the homelessness crisis.”
The conference concluded Oct. 15 with celebration of Mass and an Annual General Meeting.
Kiply Lukan Yaworski is the communications coordinator for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon – rcdos.ca