Welcome to our News Page! Here you will find news stories from the Archdiocese of Winnipeg, the Church in Canada, and beyond! We also invite you to submit your own articles to our Communication Services Office. Selected articles may be included here, as well as our Weekly News Bulletin sent to all parishes in the Archdiocese. Questions and submissions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. God bless!
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Archdiocese of Winnipeg - From Archbishop Richard Gagnon's memorandum: "I am pleased to announce the appointment of Deacon Claude Lambert as Pastoral Administrator pro tem of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Elie, St. Eustache Parish in St. Eustache and St. François Xavier Parish in St. François Xavier. This appointment is effective immediately."
Archdiocese of Winnipeg - Anyone who has ever done any serious hiking knows the value of keeping an eye on the person in front of you, and ensuring you are always on 'the trail'. In rocky terrain, it is recommended that you visually locate the next rock cairn before the one closest to you is out of sight. Staying on an established path is critical, for all but the most seasoned backpackers, to ensure they reach their destination safely and when expected.
Humans are not the only creatures who know the value of a well-beaten path. In fact, many people who lose their way when hiking find themselves on a wildlife spur, which reveals itself in the fact that it invariably leads downhill and to a source of water. Once a trail has been established it is uncommon for a person, or an animal, to forge a new one even though there may be a better way. The same is true of habits. Once we have become accustomed to doing things a certain way, it becomes difficult to do something new - even when that is our intention - and easy to slip back into the familiar. "Old habits," as they say, "die hard". This reality was made clear to me at an event I recently attended in my new role as Synod Implementation Coordinator for the Archdiocese of Winnipeg.
On September 11, 2019, I had the pleasure of attending my first meeting of the Synod Implementation Commission, held at the Catholic Centre in Winnipeg. The Commission comprises individuals who have, for the most part, been involved in the Synod from the very beginning. As such, they are very familiar with the concepts of 'holy listening' and 'synodality'. Holy listening is the practice of paying attention to the promptings of the Spirit, as one engages in conversation, while synodality recognizes that the Church is, at its core, a community of believers guided by the Holy Spirit. These two concepts were what Jesus intended as the framework within which the Church would operate when he breathed on the apostles and commissioned them to make disciples (Mt. 28:16-20; Jn. 20:22). We can see these two principles at work in the early Church by the manner in which Matthias was chosen to replace Judas (Acts 1: 12-26), and as they wrestled with the question of whether Mosaic Law should apply to the new Christian Gentiles (Acts. 15:1-21).
The purpose of our meeting in Winnipeg that night was to discuss how to best help parishes prepare to implement the Synod recommendations in their own communities. One suggestion was to hold a gathering of priests, parish pastoral council members, and Synod delegates to remind them of the findings of the Synod, update them as to what progress has been made since it closed, and to present them with information on tools being developed that they might find useful. During our discussion, it became clear that although our intent was to promote synodality, the meeting being proposed sounded very much like one of information dissemination. Although we were intellectually committed to a new manner of doing business - to forging a new way of being 'Church' in the Archdiocese - we had inadvertently fallen into the familiar way we knew of hosting a meeting. Our feet had found the safest and surest 'tried and true' path and we had all dutifully fallen into line. This realization led to a new discussion. If our intention was to encourage parishes to adopt a Spirit-led, synodal approach, we should be modelling such an approach at every opportunity. What would such a meeting look like when there remains a necessity for a certain amount of information to be dispensed? Our experience that night will, hopefully, serve as both a caution and a source of comfort as parishes begin to incorporate the new mandate of synodality in their own congregations. Despite our best intentions, there will be times - likely many times- that we fall into our old ways of conducting business. This is not to say that our previous efforts were not fruitful, but only that there is a better way - one that Christ intended - that calls us to intentionally follow the One, who is the Way, in everything we do.
The parable of the rich young man, gives us an example of one who followed the established route (Mk. 10:17-22). The Gospel makes it clear that the young man was committed to upholding all of God's laws, that had been handed down to him from his ancestors, and that he strived, in every way, to live a virtuous life. Despite this, something was telling him that he should do more. Seeing his desire, Christ challenged the man to go beyond the basic requirements by choosing to follow him as one of his disciples. It is the same offer he has made to each of us. But to follow Christ means that we must be willing to let go of our own control and allow him to navigate us on a path of his own choosing.
Breaking a new trail is risky. It invites criticism from others who are more cautious. It means that we may be asked to forge through thick undergrowth, circumnavigate gorges and other obstacles, cross deep waters, and climb rocky terrain over which we do not want to go. Following Christ requires that we restrain an enthusiastic zeal that would have us run on ahead, thinking we know the better way, and that we, instead, put our full trust in Jesus, who is our true 'Compass," even when fear, discomfort, or discouragement leads us to be tempted to turn back. True discipleship requires that we continually conform our own will to that of Jesus, just as he conformed his will to that of the Father.
Unlike the rich young man, we have the advantage of having received the gift of the Holy Spirit who guides us internally. But to be useful that gift must be accepted and applied. Discerning the Spirit takes effort and is a skill that grows and develops over the course of a lifetime. As we apply this process of discernment to parish life there will undoubtedly be times that we forget to listen to the Spirit's promptings as we undertake tasks in a routine manner. When our failing comes to light we should remember to be kind to ourselves and others who do the same. Our attitude should always be one of gratitude; gratitude that we live in the time and place in which God has positioned us, that he chose us to be his instruments of salvation in the world, and that he has given us, as a guide, his Holy Spirit whose witness to us permits us to witness to others. With our eyes focused on Jesus and our ears trained to listen for guidance from the Holy Spirit, we can be confident that we are truly disciples on the way to the Father.
Linda Chiupka is the Synod Implementation Coordinator for the Archdiocese of Winnipeg and a former employee of a national wilderness park.
St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish, Winnipeg - This has been the second year that St. Kateri Tekakwitha Aboriginal Catholic Church celebrates the “Season of Creation.” What a blessing! For us, as Catholics, it is like an open door to our becoming more familiar with Pope Francis’s letter to the world, “Laudato Si”.
In planning for this year's Season of Creation, our main resource was the “Global Catholic Climate Movement”. Through their website we could read and see what is happening all over the world in terms of the care of creation. It is heartwarming to feel our connections with all our brothers and sisters of all continents. The enthusiasm and energy helped us feel these connections – and we celebrated with “all our relations”, as our elders would say. We also could hear and see the struggles that are caused by our negligence towards all of God‘s creation. As St. Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, “For we know that up to the present time all of creation groans with pain, like the pain of childbirth …”(8:22) – the melting icebergs, the destruction of rain forests, the commercialisation of water, the pollution in the air, the waterways, the soil.
Last year, we looked at the issues caused by the plastics that become huge piles of rubbish, entering into the whole ecosystem – the oceans, lakes and rivers. Our community became more conscious and more pro-active by sewing shopping bags. These bags were distributed at the end of the season as part of our closing ceremony on the fourth of October. As we looked at the lifestyle of our own faith community, we knew we needed to make some changes. One of these decisions was to no longer use plastic utensils and styrofoam dishes. Our cupboards are now filled with “real” dishes which were donated or bought at second-hand stores.
The theme this year was “The web of life: biodiversity, a gift from God”. Again our liturgy communicated the beauty and sacredness of the various elements: water, air, fire, and earth. Our “sister water” and “brother fire” were honoured in a special way through traditional ceremonies at the opening of our Eucharistic celebration. The texts for the “Laudato Si” Mass were used at the collect and closing prayer. The choir chose hymns and honour drum songs that were appropriate for the Season.
We had many areas from which to choose for our “action”. Many of our members who had gone to the Ste. Anne du Lac pilgrimage were very disappointed to find the lake so polluted with algae that they were warned to not go into the lake (some went anyway). Ste. Anne is a sacred place in Alberta where for centuries the Indigenous people found healing and courage. The lake is being poisoned by the use of pesticides on farmlands. Also, here in Manitoba, people could not swim in the lakes because of the growth of blue algae. The other issue around water is that of the many communities that do not have clean water to drink. Our reflections and activities would pertain to water. We invited Sr. Johanna Jonker, snjm, as a guest speaker for one evening. This has pushed us into continuing our efforts to keep water issues in the forefront of our activities.
For the 27th of September, we had a “bee” to make posters and a banner for the Global Climate strike. A number of our parishioners participated in the interfaith prayer service at the All Saints' Anglican Church and then proceeded to the Legislative Building and joined the thousands marching for the care of our beautiful gift from God, our Planet Earth – our Mother Earth.
The group of Religious who have been working for a number of years bringing Reconciliation and Conversation between the Indigenous Community and the Church joined us to receive, on October 2nd, the “Red Threads of Peace Playback Theatre”. The actors treated us to a delightful evening full of joy and laughter, drawing our attention to our connection to Creation, including each other. Members of the Home Street Mennonite Church joined us in this event. The evening ended with a snack and continued conversations.
The Feast Day of St. Francis is the official closure of the Season of Creation. We had adoration followed by Mass. We will now be keeping the devotion of Adoration followed by the Celebration of the Eucharist each 1st Friday of each month. We still have much work to do.
We want to thank Archbishop Gagnon for encouraging us to observe this special time.
Pope Francis tells us: “Every member of the human family can act as a thin yet unique and indispensable thread in weaving a network of life that embraces everyone”.
He ended his message with a challenge to all to have “the courage to do good without waiting for someone else to begin, or until it is too late”.
This article was submitted by Margot Lavoie from St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish. It is through contributions like these that faith stories from throughout the Archdiocese are told. From the bottom of our hearts - Thank you, Margot!
St. Theresa's, West St. Paul - We had a safe that holds the church register books and various other items and it wouldn't open so we had to break in. Now, we need a new safe. If you or your parish have a safe that you are not using anymore, please contact us! It would need to be large enough to hold our register books.
For more questions and to donate, please contact Barb Melo, Parish Secretary, St. Theresa's Church, at 204-339-2649.
St. Augustine of Canterbury Parish, Brandon - For more than four years, St. Augustine of Canterbury’s refugee ministry in Brandon has been working toward and anticipating the arrival of a family or individual to sponsor. The time finally came!
At the end of May, we were happy and blessed to welcome Malcolm and his two sons to Brandon (arriving from Botswana) and two months later we welcomed Ruta (arriving from Sudan). Through the generosity of our parishioners and the various supports in our community, such as Westman Immigrant Services and Samaritan house ministries, these individuals are becoming more familiar with life in Canada and are "childishly" looking forward to winter.
We wish to thank Patti Fitzmaurice from Micah House, Catholic Centre for Social Justice, for helping us through this process.
We thank Linda Chegwin for this article submission! It is through contributions like these that stories of faith from throughout the Archdiocese come to light.
Toronto, Ontario - Patti Fitzmaurice, the Archdiocese of Winnipeg's Social Justice Coordinator, recently penned an article on the federal election debate hosted by the Archdiocese of Toronto. It was published in the Faith section of the Winnipeg Free Press. Click here to view the article.
Ottawa, Ontario - The 2019 Federal Election Guide, prepared by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops' (CCCB) Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace and published in the name of the Permanent Council, has been formatted for online sharing and includes hyperlinks directing the reader to further resources on various issues important to Catholics. The Guide's content offers a reflection on key ethical and moral issues that voters, especially Catholics, may want to consider.
St. Maurice School - On the morning of September 26th, at the conclusion of the school’s annual Terry Fox Walk, the K-6 students and staff gathered on the lawn in front of the Grades 4 to 6 wing to participate in the official opening and blessing of the school’s new Little Library. This free take-a-book / leave-a-book library project was conceived to demonstrate to the community at large that literacy is of lifelong importance to the students, staff and families of St. Maurice School. Thank you to Resource Teachers Mrs. Grieve and Mrs. Shillingford for their imagination and creativity for the design of the library and a huge tribute to our Head of Maintenance Mr. Fontaine for the use of his talents in its construction!
At the grand opening, Mrs. Grieve shared this message with the students:
Tell your family; tell your friends, the give and take should never end! Take a book - leave a book, that is what it is all about! Reading is important and helps you increase your knowledge of the world. Whether you are reading the Bible, magazines, novels, picture books, etc., books open up a world of information and images for you to use in your life! Never stop reading!
Free Little Libraries are found all across the world. I am so very happy that we now have one here at St. Maurice School and St. Vital Parish. Thank you to Father Mark and Mr. Doiron for saying “YES” when asked if we could build one. Thank you to Mr. Fontaine for his amazing craftsmanship and to his sidekick Mr. Bashuski for his help. Thank you to Mrs. Shillingford who found the images that are on the Library. Thank you to students Luke and Charlie for donating books they have finished reading; they brought a huge basket full this morning.
And then we chanted: “Reading is so good for you, Sharing Books is what we’ll do!”
A prayer of blessing was composed by our Pastor and Director, Father Mark Tarrant, for the occasion:
Lord, our God
We proclaim your majesty.
In many and varied ways
you continuously reveal yourself to us
and in the scriptures you have handed down your inspired word.
Listen to our prayers,
that all who come to this library
may always be open to the wisdom of your word.
Grant that imbued with true learning,
they will strive to create a more civilized world.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Parents, students, staff and the general public are all invited to leave a book and take a book from our new little library! Let’s all enjoy the benefits of Lifelong Learning and Literacy!
Winnipeg, Manitoba - Have you noticed more faith stories in the Free Press over the past seven months? Have you wondered why? It’s because of a Free Press project to increase the coverage of religion — with the support of the local faith community. Click here for the full article by John Longhurst, published in the Winnipeg Free Press.
Winnipeg, Manitoba - "With so many big issues facing the country, it can be hard for people of faith to know how to approach the upcoming federal election. Fortunately, some faith-related organizations have prepared resources to help voters — guides to help people prayerfully, and carefully, consider how to cast their vote." Click here for the full article by John Longhurst, published by the Winnipeg Free Press.
All Saints' Anglican Church - On September 27, people of all faiths gathered at All Saints' Anglican Church for communal prayer, preceding their participation in the Winnipeg Climate Strike. It was a poignant experience for Gramma Shingoose, an Indigenous Elder, who said, "All I can feel is love. I especially feel love for our youth - they are rising up!"
"The young are pleading for us older ones to act boldly," said Steve Heinrichs, who emceed Prayers for the Earth and works for Mennonite Church of Canada as Director of Indigenous-Settler Relations. Heinrichs continued, "We gather to draw strength from one another, to spur us on in our work of caring for and defending Mother Earth."
Representatives from the Anglican Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada, Manitoba Islamic Association, Temple Shalom Reform Congregation, Sikh Heritage Society, Winnipeg Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), River and Bridge Dharma Group (Buddhist), First Unitarian Universalist Church, and the Roman Catholic community, gave short reflections and invited the congregation into prayer.
Patti Fitzmaurice represented the Archdiocese of Winnipeg. In her remarks, she said, "I'd like to thank our youth. I want to thank you for your leadership in this crucial issue." Fitzmaurice drew everyone's attention to the annual Season of Creation, which the Holy Father Pope Francis proclaimed to be celebrated annually throughout the world. "The Season of Creation is a celebration of our Common Home, and an opportunity for us to weep with our Common Home, and it calls all of us to concrete action." Patti Fitzmaurice serves the Archdiocese as Social Justice Coordinator. After brief remarks, she led all congregants in one of the prayers that Pope Francis included in Laudato Si', his encyclical on caring for our Common Home.
It was a moving experience of faith, appreciated by the hundreds of people who packed All Saints' Anglican Church. After the prayer service, the congregants made the short work toward the Manitoba Legislative Building to join thousands in the Climate Strike, which lasted a number of hours. Young community leaders gave rousing remarks at the steps of the legislature.
"What do we want?"
"When do we want it?"
Margot Lavoie of St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish said that, "[t]he issue of Climate Change is crucial. The world is in crisis. The young people know the disastrous situation with which they are left to contend. They need to know they are supported, and we, as Christians, as Catholics are ready to change our lifestyle and to make the sacrifices needed to slow down global warming and create 'pockets of peace and love' in the world."
St. Kateri Tekakwitha is one of the few parishes that actively participated in the Season of Creation, including a handful of members who were present at the Prayer Service and Climate Strike. While Lavoie says that she is "very proud to be a member of our Catholic Church", she laments that often we are silent on many important issues. "It is important for the world to know," she said, "that the Catholic Church, Christians, and other people of faith, are doing their best in the stewardship of creation."
Winnipeg, Manitoba - "Months after her death at age 94, the humanitarian legacy of Sister Aileen Gleason of Winnipeg will be publicly recognized in Ottawa by Gov.-Gen. Julie Payette. On Thursday, the Roman Catholic nun will be posthumously honoured with a Meritorious Service Decoration for sponsoring thousands of refugees through Hospitality House Refugee Ministry, which she co-founded in 1992." Click here to view Brenda Suderman's full article published in the Winnipeg Free Press, September 9, 2019.