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 email@example.com. God bless!
Note: Click on the small arrow beside each news heading to expand to the entire article.
Archdiocese of Winnipeg - Many will find what I am about to say harsh and frightening, but now is the time. We in the Province of Manitoba have reached the critical phase of this pandemic. It affects all of us. It is no longer just a question of how many COVID cases there will be but, more importantly, how many cases there are already. We have let ourselves become less disciplined. It was easy to say, "let’s meet up with friends", or, "just this once," run into the store without a mask. Maybe we looked the other way if there was not quite six feet between people. We became COVID fatigued.
We let ourselves be overwhelmed by what we thought we were losing, perhaps our connection with people and the conveniences in our lives. It became about me and what would make me feel better. But we know that is not the purpose of a Christian life. We are to love God and to love our neighbours. It is not about me. I see the protests against the restrictions placed on us in this time, people revolting against wearing a mask, social distancing, and staying at home. They say that it is their right to exercise the freedom to choose how to live their own lives. They suggest that those who follow the restrictions are just buying into fear propagated by the media and the government over something that is not real. Yes, we have rights but with rights comes responsibilities.
I could remind you of the Catholic Social Teachings which tell us that we live for the other. However, let's deal in facts. In the last week, there have been at least 1000 reported COVID cases. Of that we can expect 1% to 2% will be hospitalized. In the press briefing of November 15, 2020, it was reported that there are at least 3 hospitalizations per day from COVID. With recently expanded ICU beds there are 99 beds available and at least 92 are in use now. If you do the math it means that ICU beds will run out very shortly. Then what happens? Most of these acute care beds are in Winnipeg, so this affects those who get ill in other parts of the province and are usually transported to Winnipeg.
Here is what the government does not want to scare you with. When hospital beds run out, or life-saving equipment is all in use, and when there are not enough doctors, nurses and other health professionals to meet the need, people die. They die from COVID and they die from other non-COVID causes. A person has a heart attack. The ambulance comes but no hospital can accept the patient because there is no bed, no equipment, and no healthcare professional to look after them. They die. A frail elderly person becomes ill, either with COVID or some other cause, they die. Or if there is a very limited number of beds etc. to determine whether a person gets lifesaving care in a hospital the questions become how many years do they have to live, what is their quality of life, is there someone more “worthy” of the care. Who even decides who lives and dies and what criteria do they use? Have we even bothered to ask or have input into the life-saving decisions? People die who do not meet the criteria. They may not even be transported to the hospital but left at home.
We have been blessed with a health care system that has been available to all and so it is hard to contemplate that the doors could be closed to us. It is time to wake up. Even at this time, we have been given a lifeboat. Stay home. Only have your immediate family at home. If you must go out, go for essentials only. Wear a mask, wash your hands and keep your distance. This is not too much to ask and it will likely save your neighbour’s life and maybe even your own. If we can do this there is light. We will be able to meet again, attend church services, and many other things. When we look back at this time, let us do it with pride that we did what we could to allow others to live. Proud because we lived out our Catholic Social Teachings, and we acted in such a way that we protected the human dignity of all, we acted in solidarity and we acted for the common good. We acted in LOVE.
This article was written by Patti Fitzmaurice, the Archdiocese of Winnipeg's Social Justice Coordinator. You may connect with Patti through firstname.lastname@example.org.
In areas of the Archdiocese outside the Winnipeg Metropolitan Health Region, Faith Gatherings will be restricted to a maximum of 30% of occupancy limits or 250 people, whichever is lower. Indoor and outdoor public gatherings, which include the celebrations of weddings and funerals, will be limited to five (5) people and mask use will be mandatory.
Please inform parishioners of these new restrictions. According to the Provincial Government, these rules will stay in place for at least two weeks.
Click here for a summary of COVID-19 restrictions in the Archdiocese of Winnipeg.
Archdiocese of Winnipeg - "As you have, no doubt heard, the Provincial Government is seeking to ease restrictions for faith-based gatherings. The new guidelines state that site capacity will “be a maximum of 30% or 500 people, whichever is lower”. The guidelines go on to state that physical distancing of at least two metres must be maintained. The guidelines also state that physical distancing between individuals, between households or between groups travelling to the event together will continue to be required. The restrictions related to singing in choirs will continue as well.
This change does not apply to social gatherings, weddings and funerals, or other organized gatherings or events.
Note: Please look carefully at your church’s physical capacity to see if you are able to increase your numbers. These Provincial Guidelines are to come into effect on July 25, 2020."
The above is taken from a July 23, 2020 memorandum from Archbishop Gagnon.
St. Viator's Church, Dauphin - Click here to view the interview conducted with Rev. Michel Nault, Laverne Hudson, and Irene Serwa, of St. Viator's Parish in Dauphin, where they share experiences from the recently-held parish Listening Session in October.
What is the purpose of a Listening Session? Linda Chiupka, the Archdiocese of Winnipeg's Synod Implementation Coordinator, gives us an answer:
Listening sessions are one way we can be synodal as a Church. To be synodal is to 'walk together.' Ensuring our thoughts and actions are aligned makes us much more effective as the Body of Christ.
A Listening Session is a facilitated discussion that allows participants to share their thoughts, feelings, hopes, and ideas about a particular aspect of the Church, freely and openly. During a session, listening is happening on two levels - one physical and the other spiritual. First, the participants are invited to listen carefully to the question as it is presented, and then to the Holy Spirit who prompts them to consider a particular aspect that they might share with the group. Next, they listen to one another as views are shared, conscious of the fact that the Holy Spirit often speaks to us through others. This may lead a person to a new, or deeper, insight that they subsequently share. During the session, the pastor remains silent, as he listens to the people with his ears and to the Holy Spirit with his heart. In doing so, the Holy Spirit prompts him to notice what is voiced, what is communicated non-verbally, and what is left unsaid. Finally, after the session has ended, all notes and comments are reviewed by the pastor and his team. Following the same pattern, each committee member reads the comments, shares what they have noticed, and listens to one another and the Holy Spirit. This prayerful exercise, that begins with the Listening Session, is a tool the leadership team uses to discern God's will for the parish community.
For questions about Parish Listening Sessions, and other matters pertaining to Synod Implementation in our local church, please contact Linda Chiupka at email@example.com.
St. Anthony of Padua Church (WK), Winnipeg - Our parish has a presider's chair and altar that are free for anyone who would like to come and pick them up from the church. For more information, please contact the Parish Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Archdiocese of Winnipeg - Through this edition of the Friday Report, Archbishop Richard Gagnon gives us an update on events and conversations happening throughout the Archdiocese and answers questions about government protocols (6:38), observing the season of Advent at home (10:44) and listening sessions in parishes (12:28).
Read the latest COVID-19 Updates here: https://www.archwinnipeg.ca/main.php?p=134
Read the latest edition of On the Way here: https://online.flippingbook.com/view/176728/
Check the latest and upcoming events in the Archdiocese here: https://www.archwinnipeg.ca/calendar.php
The Archbishop - Archbishop Gagnon wrote a letter to Pastors, Parish Administrators, Development and Peace Parish Representatives, and to all Parishioners, encouraging support for Development and Peace-Caritas Canada during these trying times.
Here's an excerpt from the letter: "Pope Francis reminds us in Fratelli Tutti that we are indeed brothers and sisters as much as we are far away from each other as when we are close to one another. The Holy Father focuses on the human community as one which has been fractured and further aggravated by the pandemic, he states: No one can face life in isolation…we need a community that supports and helps us, in which we can help one another to keep looking ahead. As such, this year, Development and Peace has decided to launch a special COVID-19 campaign: Recovering Together in support of a just recovery."
Pope Francis greets Francesco filmmaker Evgeny Afineevsky in 2019.
Vatican City - "Some activists and media reports have suggested that Pope Francis has changed Catholic teaching by his remarks. Among many Catholics, the Pope’s comments have raised questions about what he really said, what it means, and what the Church teaches about civil unions and marriage. Catholic News Agency looks at those questions."
St. Alphonsus School, Winnipeg - Our school community will be celebrating our centennial in 2021; what a momentous milestone! Our Anniversary Committee is busy planning virtual events and in-school activities to mark the year. If you are an alumni of the school or know someone who is, we want to connect with you! We are looking for old pictures and memorabilia that could add to our celebration or for former students and staff to share a story of their time here by emailing email@example.com. As well, find information on our upcoming events and check out our online photo archive at www.stalphonsusschool.ca/100th-anniversary.
St. Paul's College - "Over the past week we have been working hard to produce our Opening Academic Awards and Exercises video. It is just over 30 minutes and features an invocation and blessing of the Student Council by Fr. Colin Peterson, the recognition of all the award recipients introduced by our faculty, and brief remarks by the Rector, the Dean of Studies, the Archbishop and Chancellor of St. Paul’s College, the Most Reverend Richard Gagnon, and the new University of Manitoba President, Dr. Michael Benarroch." - Dr. Christopher Adams, Rector, and Dr. Dilantha Fernando, Dean of Studies, St. Paul's College. Click here to view the video.
In the Community - On November 6, Hurricane Eta struck Honduras. Over two days, the Category 4 monster pummelled the country, leaving 2.9 million people (30% of the population) affected by flooding. About 175,000 people have been evacuated; 45,000 are in temporary shelters; 103,000 are stranded beyond contact; and 64 are confirmed dead. If that is not bad enough, a Category 5 storm, Hurricane Iota, is about to strike Honduras by November 17.
Development and Peace — Caritas Canada’s partners, who were already on the frontlines of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, are now coordinating a humanitarian coalition’s response to this latest emergency. Soon, they will be distributing rations and hygiene supplies and conducting detailed damage assessments. Development and Peace has allocated $20,000 to help get this work started.
When Hurricane Mitch devasted Honduras in 1998, Canadians responded with overwhelming generosity. It is time for us to show our solidarity once again. Please donate generously, so our partners can help Hondurans recover from Hurricane Eta.
In the Community - Times are difficult for us all. In the Global South, the pandemic has exacerbated the effects of poverty, displacement, famine and conflict, making people’s need for support ever greater. Meanwhile, here in Canada, it might now be harder for our always generous donors to give large amounts once or twice a year.
Fortunately, Development and Peace’s Share Year-Round program lets you make a big difference with even a few cents or dollars a day. Donating monthly makes giving consistent and manageable for you and reduces our administrative costs. It lets our partners provide more resources, services and support to vulnerable communities at a time of exceptional need.
How it works
FYI: Even though this year’s Share Lent collection was limited due to COVID-19, we were STILL able to raise $ 30,475.00 from SYR donors in the Archdiocese of Winnipeg, which was incredibly helpful in ensuring stable funding for our partners.
In the Community - The pandemic has changed all our lives. Everyone has suffered. But it has also shown us that those who were marginalized to begin with have suffered the most.
This virus has taught us how interconnected our human family is and that we cannot recover alone. As Pope Francis said: “An emergency like that of COVID-19 is overcome with, above all, the antibodies of solidarity.”
Due to the pandemic, it has prevented the taking of the National Share Lent collection this year. There will be a make-up collection in all parishes across the Archdiocese of Winnipeg.
Please use your Share Lent envelope to make a donation. You can also donate online at devp.org or call 1-888-234-8533 or send a cheque directly to Development and Peace, 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor Montréal, Québec, H3G 1T7
For more information, please contact Janelle Delorme, animator, firstname.lastname@example.org or 204-231-2848
In the Community - "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me" (Mt 25:40). The federal government has tabled legislation to expand access to euthanasia to people who are not about to die, including people with disabilities.
Disability Advocates Are Fearful
A 2019 government report said that people choose euthanasia because of fear of being a burden, loneliness, lack of support, or loss of dignity and meaning. People with disabilities face these issues daily. As a society, we have a responsibility to support the vulnerable, not allow them to be permanently silenced.
Write Your MP Today
Write your MP to let them know you don't want access to euthanasia expanded to include vulnerable people who are not at the end of their lives. It could be someone in your family next or it could be you. To send an email, visit www.canadiansforconscience.ca/federal_government.
This note is from the Coalition for HealthCARE and Conscience.
In the Community - An open letter to all Canadians from Religious Leaders in Canada who oppose Bill C-7, "An Act to amend the Criminal Code" (medical assistance in dying). Excerpt from the letter: "It perplexes our collective minds that we have come so far as a society yet, at the same time, have so seriously regressed in the manner that we treat the weak, the ill, and the marginalized." Click here to view We Can and Must Do Much Better.
In the Community - "We are pleased to announce that after months of work, a new ministry initiative, “We Are Neighbours”, has started taking root. The Tri-Diocesan Prison Ministry Committee was established in 2013 with representatives from the Archdioceses of Saint Boniface and Winnipeg, as well as the Ukrainian Archeparchy. Over the last few years, the mandate of this group has evolved to focus primarily on accompanying and assisting prisoners as they complete their time of incarceration and begin reintegration with their family and within society." Please click here for the rest of the joint letter from Archbishop Richard Gagnon, Archbishop Albert LeGatt, and Metropolitan Lawrence Huculak, OSBM.