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:
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PRESS RELEASE - The Sisters of the Order of St. Benedict came from Duluth, Minnesota to Manitoba in the early 1900’s and were founded in 1912 for the purpose of “education and Christian charity”. For these 109 years they have endeavoured to offer education in cities and towns across the Prairies and to build, administer and serve in hospitals in rural Manitoba. In 1970 they expanded their ministry to spirituality programs and retreats through their Retreat & Conference Centre located at 225 Masters Avenue in West Saint Paul.
As a community of only 13 remaining members, they have made the difficult decision to pass on the charism of education, community wellness and spirituality. The Sisters are pleased to announce that SERDC, the South East Resource Development Council which serves 8 of the First Nations communities in Manitoba will become the new owners and will continue providing quality healthcare out of their new Wellness Centre. They have rented the Retreat Centre for 5 months now and they are very excited about their project as a work of reconciliation.
The entire Monastery, Retreat Centre and Seniors’ Residence as well as land will be sold and the Sisters will continue to live in one wing until a new site and monastic home more consistent with its community’s size can be developed.
The Sisters would like to thank everyone that has been involved in supporting its charism over the years from our valued employees, residents, and advisors who in many cases have become like family. You certainly will be missed, and we wish you continued health and prosperity in the future. We also wish our new friends at SERDC much success in their future endeavours.
Through St. Benedict’s Foundation Inc., the Sisters will continue their legacy of care in the Province of Manitoba.
Sister Dorothy Levandosky, OSB
By: Patti Fitzmaurice
Archdiocese of Winnipeg - On Sunday I was praying with Archbishop Gagnon during the live-streamed Sunday Mass from Our Lady of Victory Church in Winnipeg. When the Archbishop delivered his homily, the camera captured, over his right shoulder, a statue of Mary holding Jesus and I was mesmerized by the image. I was reminded of all Mary and St. Joseph had undertaken to raise Jesus and protect him while he was most vulnerable. I immediately thought of the recent news stories of mass graves of over 200 children found near a residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia.
What do we do with this news? How do we deal with our shock, incomprehension, guilt and grief? Mary Oliver, an American Poet, wrote a poem called Lead. It starts “Here is a story to break your heart. Are you willing?” She then goes on to describe one loon on the shore “which cried out in the long, sweet savouring of its life which if you had heard it, you know is a sacred thing.” The next morning the loon is found dead on the shore, and she ends her poem by saying
I tell you this
To break your heart,
by which I mean only
that it break open and never close again
to the rest of the world.
She calls us to open up and expose ourselves to the suffering of others. Pope Francis in Fratelli Tutti states “… we should feel indignant, challenged to emerge from our comfortable isolation and to be changed by our contact with human suffering.”
So first we must grieve with our Indigenous brothers and sisters this tragic loss. Hearts broken open, we will realize we are all community and stand in solidarity with one another. We will grow closer together in shared suffering.
Going forward we can look to the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Even with the recommendations, it is hard to determine exactly what we should do. We fear initiating action because we may appear to be too colonial and we cannot expect our Indigenous brothers and sisters to tell us what to do.
I attended a conference a couple of weeks ago from which I drew many insights, but I will just share a few with you. The presenters advised that to heal damage, such as the damage inflicted by residential schools, harmony must be restored to the community. They suggested you start by looking at yourself and get to know your own creation story. Look at your ancestors and discover what their relationship with Canada (Turtle Island) was, how they lived in relationship with the land and others. Then how do you live in relationship? By getting to know yourself and then others, the resulting intimacy and solidarity will grow a more just society. Other suggestions focussed on bringing us closer to achieving a right relationship, the relationship being key. In order to build a basis for relationship it was suggested we educate ourselves, in essence, do a deep dive on indigenous history, treaties, spirituality and culture. But we need to read and listen not only with our minds but also with our hearts.
We should not demand that Indigenous elders share their stories and knowledge with us. If an elder chooses to share their story, we should listen patiently, always aware of the gift we are being presented with. Do the work, read and learn all we can and then be open and present for whatever may come. It may be a rally, a vigil or it may be the sharing of food and time. Perhaps pressing our Senators in Parliament to pass Bill C-15 regarding the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Peoples. Reconciliation takes time but as we seek to form a relationship, form community
Together we will plant the seeds that nourish
the future. The love we share
will nourish us both,
liberating colonized and colonizer
from the chains of fear and hatred.
Lifting Hearts off the Ground
Declaring Indigenous Rights in Poetry
Lyla June Johnston and Joy De Vito
Archdiocese of Winnipeg - "One of the last major tasks of our formal Synod is the publication of the Acts of the Synod. The Acts of the Synod is an official and canonical document containing the major documents of the Synod, including the 42 recommended Proposals for pastoral implementation, along with the decrees, pastoral letters, lists of delegates and other important documents which were issued during the formal synod process. As such the Acts of the Synod is an important historical account of our first Synod and an essential document as we move forward in implementing the Synod Proposals on the archdiocesan and parish levels." Click here for the May 21 memo from Archbishop Gagnon. Click here to view the Acts of the Synod.
Archdiocese of Winnipeg - On behalf of the Archdiocese of Winnipeg, I would like to express our deepest sorrow over the discovery of the unmarked graves of over 200 children at the Kamloops Residential School in British Columbia. This is a truly shocking event that touches the hearts of all of us but in a particular way, the people of the Kamloops Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation and indeed First Nations People everywhere.
The trauma, sadness and on-going suffering experienced by many people, makes it very important that the truth about the Residential Schools be brought to the fore. Throughout the country, this recent discovery of the graves has ignited even more suffering and has reopened the wounds of many people.
The Catholic community of the Archdiocese of Winnipeg pledge their prayers and support for First Nations People throughout Canada, and we pray particularly for the children who have died at the Kamloops Residential Schools, other Residential Schools, and for their families who have long sought answers about what has happened to their children. We pledge to continue to walk the path of reconciliation and establish relationships built on Peace, Justice and Love.
Archdiocese of Winnipeg - Through this week’s edition of the Friday Report, Archbishop Gagnon speaks about the newest COVID-19 restrictions (19:06) and answers questions about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (1:27), and the specific ways the Archdiocese is walking with our Indigenous brothers and sisters during this time (12:08), as well as sharing St. Patrick’s Prayer Garden, which was made ins support of them (16:15).
Learn more about the reality of residential schools in Canada, here.
In the Community - Since 2019, the Archdiocese of Winnipeg has been part of a project to increase local religion coverage by the Winnipeg Free Press. We supported it because we believed it was important to balance the paper’s coverage of faith, to see more positive stories about religion published, to promote interfaith understanding, and to help reduce hate by putting a human face on people from various religions in Winnipeg.
Since that time over 475 faith articles have been published—about 18 a month—right across the faith spectrum and throughout the newspaper. (In every section and every day of the week.)
Today the project is supported by 19 faith groups. Now we want to broaden the support base by inviting individuals to become supporters as well. We are doing this through a Crowdfunder, and we would like to invite you to consider making a contribution of any amount.
As for the project itself, it is the only one of its kind in North America, and the Free Press is a leader in Canada in reporting about faith. At the Archdiocese we are glad to be part of this ground-breaking effort to show the positive impact of faith in our community. This includes many stories about the Catholic faith.
Will you become a contributor? To make a contribution, go to:
In the Community - We invite you to read the most recent edition of the Newsletter for the community of permanent deacons in Manitoba. For more information, please contact Deacon Jim Frater (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Deacon Michael Cordova (email@example.com). Click here to view the newsletter.
In the Community - Elders across nine nations are asking the country to come together in prayer on Sunday to honour those who were both lost to and survived residential schools in Canada.
Find more information, here.
Kamloops, B.C. - "Hamilton said the 'mass grave' description “misses the point with the Residential-School story,” a story that unfolded over more than a century and in which appalling conditions led to high death rates due to disease, the most devastating of which was tuberculosis." Click here for the full article published by the B.C. Catholic.
Ottawa - "In conversation with Indigenous people and communities, both at the local and national levels, and bilaterally with the First Nations, Métis and Inuit national organizations, the Bishops, sponsors of this project, have been preparing, for over two years now, a delegation of Indigenous people to meet with the Holy Father to foster meaningful encounters of dialogue and healing. This pastoral visit will include the participation of a diverse group of Elders/Knowledge Keepers, residential school survivors and youth from across the country. The event will likewise provide Pope Francis with a unique opportunity to hear directly from Indigenous Peoples, express his heartfelt closeness, address the impact of colonization and the implication of the Church in the residential schools, so as to respond to the suffering of Indigenous Peoples and the ongoing effects of intergenerational trauma."
For media inquiries, please contact the Communication Services Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Post - "Pope Francis is hardly reluctant on this subject. He has spoken on other occasions and in other places about the mistreatment of Indigenous peoples by Catholics."
Fr. Raymond J. de Souza writes a letter on apologies made by the Catholic Church for their role in the residential school system. Read the full article, here.
Edmonton - Chief J. Wilton "Willie" Littlechild and Archbishop Richard Smith met this week in Maskwacis, and are offering this joint statement on the Kamloops Residential School discovery, and on reconciliation.
In addition, watch an interview with Chief J. Wilton "Willie" Littlechild and Archbishop Richard Smith in Maskwacis on the reconciliation with the Indigenous Peoples of Canada, and the response to the finding at the Kamloops Residential School site.
Ottawa - On Monday, May 31st, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) published a statement following the report of a recent discovery of children’s graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School on the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation.
Ottawa - Canada's Roman Catholic bishops have launched a new system for reporting alleged sexual abuse committed by — or covered up by — a bishop. The system furthers the commitment of the Catholic Church to protect minors and vulnerable persons from sexual abuse, Archbishop Richard Gagnon of the Archdiocese of Winnipeg said. "We want to show the church takes this very seriously, that even the shepherds are accountable, to their members, to the Pope, to Christ," he said. Read more of John Longhurst's Winnipeg Free Press article here.
New Canadian Reporting System for Sexual Abuse or Cover-up by a Catholic Bishop furthers the commitment of the Catholic Church in Canada to protect minors and vulnerable persons from sexual abuse
Winnipeg - Today, the Bishops of Canada launch a national, bilingual service for reporting situations of sexual abuse either committed or covered-up by a Bishop. This service furthers their commitment to responsibility, accountability and transparency in matters of clergy sexual abuse and their commitment to facilitate healing and justice for victims-survivors.
The Canadian Reporting System for Sexual Abuse or Cover-up by a Catholic Bishop is a direct response to Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter entitled Vos estis lux mundi (You are the light of the world). In this Letter, the Pope calls on dioceses and eparchies throughout the world to establish “...one or more public, stable and easily accessible systems for submission of reports…”. With Vos estis lux mundi, the Pope indicates what procedures must be followed in the universal Church when allegations are made against a Bishop. In doing so, he updates, clarifies and standardizes practices around the world. The reporting system for Bishops introduces an additional level of accountability for Church leadership in Canada, alongside the existing diocesan/eparchial protocols for reporting and responding to sexual abuse or other sexual misconduct by priests, deacons, religious, and mandated lay pastoral personnel.
“Our society must aim to create a climate of safety where the abuse of children and vulnerable people is simply not tolerated, and where their support is paramount,” began Dr. Delphine Collin-Vézina, PhD, Director of the Centre for Research on Children and Families, and Director of the Canadian Consortium on Child & Youth Trauma, as well as full Professor, School of Social Work & Associate Member, Department of Pediatrics at McGill University. “The newly established national, bilingual system for reporting sexual abuse, sexual misconduct, or cover-up by a Catholic Bishop in Canada is an important step forward in this direction. This system is rooted in a victim-first approach and aims to remove the multiple barriers that prevent disclosure. These abuses have been silenced and covered up for too long, leaving victims and survivors unheard. I applaud this initiative led by the Bishops of Canada, which will hopefully facilitate healing and recovery for those who were abused.”
ClearView Strategic Partners, a Canadian provider of an independent ethics reporting and whistleblowing platform, was engaged by the Bishops of Canada to develop the reporting system according to the instructions and procedures outlined in Vos estis lux mundi. This new reporting system is designed to receive and transmit to the proper Church authorities reports of sexual abuse, sexual misconduct (e.g., sexual harassment or possession of child pornography) or cover-up by a Catholic Bishop. ClearView’s technology benefits anyone wanting to make such a report by providing them with a secure and confidential platform, allowing them to remain anonymous if they so choose, and ensuring all communications are documented and preserved.
The Catholic Bishops of Canada condemn the sin and crime of sexual abuse in the strongest possible terms. No one should ever have to endure the pain, humiliation, and long-term suffering it causes, nor should anyone have to doubt that serious consequences await a perpetrator of sexual abuse or cover-up. With this reporting system, the Bishops make themselves accountable to live with integrity and to address reports of sexual abuse according to Church and civil law. At all times, they grieve with victims-survivors. They regret profoundly what offending Bishops, priests, deacons, religious, and laity have inflicted on victims-survivors, as well as its effects. The Bishops of Canada wish to reach out and accompany victims-survivors along the path that restores justice and promotes healing.
About Canadian Reporting System for Sexual Abuse or Cover-up by a Catholic Bishop
The Canadian Reporting System for Sexual Abuse or Cover-up by a Catholic Bishop is provided and financed by the Bishops of Canada. It operates on a confidential, secure platform, ClearView ConnectsTM, developed by ClearView Strategic Partners. Individuals can access the reporting system online (BishopReportingSystem.ca) or via a toll-free number (1-866-892-3737) from anywhere in Canada, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year in English or French.
To learn more about the Canadian Reporting System for Sexual Abuse or Cover-up by a Catholic Bishop, click here.
For questions about safeguarding and responsible ministry in the Archdiocese of Winnipeg, please contact the Catholic Centre at (204) 452-2227 or email@example.com.
For general technical questions about the Canadian Reporting System for Sexual Abuse or Cover-up by a Catholic Bishop, please contact Lisa Gall, Communications Coordinator of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or through phone at 1-613-241-9461, ext. 225.