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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St. Albert, Alberta - Your kind prayers are requested for the repose of the soul of Deacon Harold (Hal) Graham who passed away on December 15, 2020 in St Albert, Alberta at the age of 87. Deacon Hal was born on March 16, 1933 in Regina, Saskatchewan. Hal and his wife Eveline were married in 1955 and raised a family of six children. After a career with the Royal Canadian Air Force, Hal entered the Permanent Diaconate Program and was ordained a deacon by Cardinal George Flahiff on July 3, 1976. Click here for the memo from Archbishop Gagnon.
Archdiocese of Winnipeg - “A Synod is God’s work,” Archbishop Richard Gagnon said in his address to the 116 parish leaders in virtual attendance at the December 12th Synod Implementation Gathering. Themed, Lead Kindly Light, the day-long event brought Clergy and Synod delegates together from throughout the Archdiocese of Winnipeg, sharing their joys and struggles in implementing the Archdiocesan Synod’s (2016-2018) 42 recommendations.
There were presentations from Archbishop Gagnon, Linda Chiupka, the Archdiocese of Winnipeg’s Synod Implementation Coordinator, as well as a number of Archdiocesan Pastoral Services staff. As part of the afternoon program, the participants were placed into breakout rooms where they were able to meet people from other parishes, and then have more in-depth discussions on moving the Church’s mission forward, specifically in parishes, especially amidst present-day challenges.
“I must say, there were tears in my eyes when I saw all of you this morning,” said Archbishop Gagnon. Due to province-wide restrictions, the Synod Gathering was held through the Zoom videoconferencing platform.
After the Archbishop’s remarks, Linda Chiupka gave an update about implementation efforts throughout the local church. She highlighted a recent Listening Session held at St. Viator’s Church in Dauphin, working through then-Orange restrictions to spiritually discern the pastoral priorities of the parish community in the coming years. Chiupka said, “being in red, orange or yellow [COVID-19 restrictions] should not deter us from continuing to move forward along our Synod path. Rather, it should only lead us to consider what communication methods or physical precautions may be necessary, at each level, to ensure we do move forward safely and effectively.”
Brother Thomas Novak, O.M.I., whose ministry with the Archdiocese focuses on dialogue between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, said that, “Dialogue, like the Synod, is an adventure. There should be some joy and laughter, and maybe some tears.”
In the new year, Novak hopes to contact Pastors “about possibilities for dialogue in their parishes and, in Indigenous parishes, possibilities for sessions to help train lay leaders.”
Judith Vasquez, who serves as Director of Catechetics and Faith Development, said that the Synod Gathering “was an affirmation of God’s promise of unconditional love. God prepared us even before the pandemic by allowing us to discover the unique gifts that we can offer to the faithful and those in the peripheries.” Vasquez also recognized the challenges that COVID-19 continues to present, but encouraged those who serve in catechetics to “continue to be present to one another as lay leaders of the Church.”
John Acosta, the Archdiocese's Director of Pastoral Services, spoke about the Archdiocesan pastoral response to the 42 Synod recommendations. Patti Fitzmaurice of the Office of Social Justice shared about areas of society in dire need of advocacy and help. On opportunities for adult faith formation, Helena Fitzgerald presented on the Nathanael experience, while Reverend Eric Giddins spoke about the Summons program.
What’s next for the implementation of the Synod recommendations in the Archdiocese? Chiupka says, “[m]y most pressing next step is to become proficient at navigating the Zoom platform, so that I am ready to run a 99 Masterclass in the new year and assist parishes that request help to host a virtual Listening Session or run an online Alpha.” Chiupka says she has already received several notes of interest in participating in the Masterclass.
When asked about how she felt after the successful gathering, Chiupka said, “Grateful! Grateful for the team that worked behind the scenes planning and supporting the event on the actual day and to the presenters that put together such great content. Grateful for the number of people who registered but also who seemed to actively engage with the content through their attention and participation; and grateful to those who sent messages during and after the event to express their appreciation and affirm our efforts.”
Archbishop Gagnon asked the participants, “What will be the long-term result of this prolonged period of spiritual, psychological and physical suffering? Will people simply lose their faith and drift away? How will our communities ever rebuild and re-establish themselves?” The participants listened intently, pondering the real strain that the pandemic has caused through the better part of 2020.
“But there is much more to this situation than meets the eye,” the Archbishop continued. “There is a reality of faith that we often overlook, and this is something that I have observed in my contacts with pastors and lay leaders around the Archdiocese.”
“For some time now, I have observed a certain Gospel joy and determination among our people that is impressive. Our Local Church is inhabited by what I would call, the ‘hidden Christians’. Even though we do not see them physically at worship, they are living their faith at home, participating in live-streamed Masses, being present to one another digitally as we are today, supporting their parishes and all the time longing to return to community and the Sacraments. Just look at the numbers of people who decided to participate in this video conference today!
"This has been one of the real joys and even surprises during these past many months. When we walk by faith, when we actively rely on our faith, when we do faith, we receive faith!”
The Synod Gathering’s closing song was a compilation of people from 50 countries singing Amazing Grace in their own language. As it played, Chiupka said, “I scrolled through the gallery to see the participants’ reactions, and the joy that radiated from some of the faces – particularly those who saw their home country reflected – was palpable. It was an incredibly moving experience and one I won't soon forget.”
For matters pertaining to Synod Implementation, contact Linda Chiupka at email@example.com. The Archdiocese of Winnipeg’s Pastoral Services staff may also be contacted directly at: https://www.archwinnipeg.ca/contact.html.
This article was written by Christian Martinez, the Archdiocese of Winnipeg's Director of Communication Services.
Archdiocese of Winnipeg - Through this week's edition of the Friday Report, Archbishop Gagnon updates us on his participation in the Canadian Council for Churches' virtual retreat as well as positive remarks from members of our Archdiocese. He then answers questions about Pope Francis’ recent document, Spiritus Domini and the effect that it’ll have on our churches (8:44). Then, he touches on questions about the easing of restrictions (13:12), as well as how we as the church can “keep close” to those on the peripheries during this time (16:22).
The Apostolic Letter, Spiritus Domini, here.
Read the latest COVID-19 Updates, here.
Ask the Archbishop a Question:
If you would like to ask Archbishop Gagnon a question, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Ottawa - "Today (December 18), following the adoption of Bill C-7, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying) at Third Reading in the House of Commons and the announcement by the Superior Court of Québec to grant a two-month extension to the federal government on its deadline to legislate, the Executive Committee of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) issued a response calling on legislators to '… conscientiously rethink this current legislation and the amendments being considered in advance of the formal parliamentary review. This would demonstrate accountability and transparency, ensuring the trust that Canadians should have in their members of Parliament. It is not too late to reconsider Canada’s approach to euthanasia and assisted suicide, in order to ensure an ethical response, one that promotes the inherent dignity of each human person when faced with the profound questions surrounding what it means to be human, the quality of life, human suffering, death and dying'." Read more.
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 (email@example.com) or Deacon Michael Cordova (firstname.lastname@example.org). Read Volume 1, Issue 6, here.
St. Charles Church, Winnipeg - Christmas was coming! At St. Charles Parish this usually would mean adults getting together for parties and potlucks and children celebrating a Birthday Party for Jesus with games, crafts and birthday cake. A few days before Christmas, parishioners of all ages would have been invited to spend a few hours together decorating the church and sharing pizza.
In 2020 with COVID-19 and the necessary restrictions, everything was different. A group of friends from St. Charles wanted to find a way to reach out to parishioners over the Christmas season. There were limited options so they pooled their talents and produced a half-hour musical video which they posted on the St. Charles YouTube Channel.
It happened relatively quickly. In early December members of the Music Ministry were invited to take part and the church was booked (in adherence with restricted numbers). Over a two week period, the participants were recorded separately. The individual videos were merged and edited into a 29 minute presentation and posted on our YouTube Channel - St. Charles Catholic Parish Winnipeg. During the Christmas season we had over 322 views.
Our motive for making this music video was to reach out to our St. Charles parishioners. We endeavoured to entertain and comfort them. Although we couldn’t celebrate Christmas as a community in person we could share the joy of the season in spirit.
“Having faith does not mean having no difficulties, but having the strength to face them, knowing we are not alone”. Pope Francis
This article was written by Eva Arsenault. Thank you, Eva, for helping us share the Stories of Faith in our community!
Parishes in the Archdiocese - In the unique situation of this Christmas season, Blessed Sacrament Parish and St. Eustache Parish came together to unite their voices in a Christmas virtual choir.