Friday, May 28, 2010
This picture was taken by Tina Schwartz. Ile-a-la-Crosse is one of the many communities that are participating in a new initiative to restore the order of sacraments to their original order of baptism, confirmation and then Eucharist. A specialness about this community is the ability of the catechists to carry on and put on the preparatory retreat without me, as I had to stay in Saskatoon for a dental emergency. Everything was set to go for the celebration when I arrived a few hours before, and for that i am grateful.
Louis and Dorothy Dubrule as always provided great hospitality and supper upon my arrival in the community. Dorothy is the contact person with the archdiocese and Louis serves on the Diocesan Pastoral Council. Here they are pictured with their daughter Charlene, husband Patrick Ratt and son Brian.
After the celebration, folks made their way to the Friendship Center for fellowship, visiting and some good food courtesy of the parents.
Catechists Rose Raymond, Dorothy Dubrule and her dauther Charlene Ratt. They certainly deserve to be congratulated and thanked for the dedicated ministry they are doing with the youth of the parish in preparing the for the sacraments of initiation.
Fr. Wendelin Rolheiser OMI, pastor of Ile-a-la-Crosse St. John the Baptist Parish, with parishioners Mikaela and her mother Erin Desjarlais.
Gerry and Jeannie Lavoie from Amyot Lake. Gerry is a former principal of Valleyview School in Beauval, a distant cousin and also an author.
Marie Favel, who was one of the catechists, with Elizabeth Bouvier who at one time was a counselor at the rehab center who taught me a lot in my early years of addictions awareness work.
Folks enjoying a moment of relaxed fellowship after the celebration.
Leon and Brenda Gardiner and family enjoy the reception after the celebration.
Three young candidates and friends pose for a picture on their big day.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Here Fr. Mark presents a teaching on sacramentals to the candidates during a preparatory retreat the day before the event. These candidates were well prepared by a team of catechists. Their letters to the bishop were very mature and showed a deep understanding of their responsibility as fully initiated members of the Catholic Christian community in La Ronge.
The group of newly confirmed posing with catechists Ivan and Linda (Bernice was not able to be present), Archbishop Sylvain and Pastor Fr. Mark Blom OMI
The celebration of initiation was followed by a reception in the adjacent parish hall. Here Vern and Iva Studor visit with their daughter Carol Orr
Iva Studor, her son Mark and her grand daughter Halle who obviously loves her grandmother.
Victoria Daignault, Justin Burnouf, Raquel Daignault and Marlena Corrigal with family members.
The Lee and Raquel Cwenda family with newly confirmed Ashuarya.
Fr. Mark Blom OMI, pastor of South End and the parish of St. John Vianney in La Ronge, with catechists Linda and Ivan.
A good crowd stayed for the reception after the ceremony, certainly a great used for the hall which had been beautifully decorated for the event by generous volunteers.
Elsie Guy and her son John, who happily joined in the festivities though not directly involved with any of the confirmands.
Corlie Custer, Fedora Halcrow, Leanna Halcrow, Brendon, and in the back, Kierra, Angie and Dana. Kierra and Brendon were newly confirmed.
Diana and Ivan Robertson with friend Claudette Anderson in the middle.
Parish Pastoral Council members Ivan Robertson, Denise ? and Keith Krachmer. The PPC is a basic building block of a viable parish life, as outlined in the Second Vatican council.
Newly confirmed Ashwarya with Georgette Chrispen.
Newly confirmed Cody with his mother Patti Letendre.
Fr. John Zunti OMI from La Loche, Fr. Paul Guzman, pastor of Meadow Lake and I attended this event which was held on the Flying Dust First Nation. This meant traveling down from Patuanak for me and from Beauval for Fr. John. The agenda was simple: prayer by and elder, a meal, entertainment by coutnry gospel award winner Yvonne St. Germaine, a grand entry with a drum group, eagle staff and flags, messages by dignitaries, some sharing by survivors, comments by non-aboriginal participants, a candle-light ceremony and presentation of a charter of forgiveness that will be taken to Ottawa for a national event in June. The event was a unique blend of traditional and Christian spirituality which in itself speaks of reconciliation and respect. This tour is traveling across the country to set the stage for the national event in Ottawa where the message that will be communicated to the Prime Minister by the First Nations peoples involved is: "We forgive you."
A large crowd of folks from Flying Dust and the surrounding area gathered for this event that began of course with a catered meal. For me it was like a homecoming as i knew people from most of the areas from which them came, such as Red Pheasant, Loon Lake, Canoe Narrows, La Loche, Waterhen and the Flying Dust community, to name some.
The elementary school grades of the local Flying Dust School sang the Oh Canada in Cree, and were invited to do so in Ottawa.
Former FSI Chief Lawrence Joseph, who was recently awarded an honorary doctor of Canon Law degree by the Emmanuel Chad College at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, spoke eloquently of his hopes for the future through the power of forgiveness. He mentioned that the residential School was a blessing for him as his family was mired in poverty. He also mentioned the impact that the visit by former National Chief Phil Fontaine to Pope Benedict in Rome had on him as he witnessed the pope praying over cultural symbols that in the past were seen as pagan. Developments such as these and this event filled him with hope for the future.
Former chef Kevin Blacksmith from Quebec was the inspiration behind the tour. He explained that the purpose for the tour was bigger than simply to respond to the apology by Prime Minister Harper in 2008, though it included that element. The deeper purpose was to promote forgiveness as the best way to heal, to move beyond victimhood, and to open the way to a brighter and better future.
Marcie Merasty was the one who took the initiative to organize this event for our area after experiencing it elsewhere.
Though the numbers preparing varied, ultimately there were seven young men who were confirmed, almost enough for a hockey team. In a sense they were joining God's team. This is probably a first in that no girls were confirmed. Always there is a hope that one of these fine young men will respond to God's call to become a priest to replace Fr. Mathieu, who is 86 years old! On the left is Fr. Gaspar Savarimuthu, a priest from India who is experiencing a time of orientation in preparation to minister in our archdiocese. He also helped out with the retreat.
The evening before the confirmation celebration itself was given over to a retreat in preparation for the event. Seven candidates, along with some of their parents and sponsors gathered in the Church for the retreat which involved singing, exercises and teachings.
Here Archbishop Sylvain leads the participants in singing and also facilitated the retreat that focused on living a Christian life more fully, learning more about Jesus, being open to the Holy Spirit and a ritual run through of the ceremony itself.
Our retreat for the nine candidates and sponsors wrapped up with a closing circle that included the pastor Fr. Bertrand Mathieu OMI.
The other half of the closing circle for the retreat in the Patuanak Church.
This picture was taken just after the celebration of the sacraments of initiation in La Loche on May 16th, as we were getting ready for a group photo. Candidates and sponsors were from both communities of La Loche and Turnor Lake. This celebration followed the invitation of the archdiocese to restore the order of sacraments in that confirmation was followed by First Holy Communion for many of the candidates. It was truly a joyful and happy event.
We arrived in La Loche after a day long journey from Pelican Narrows just in time to begin a preparatory retreat withthe candidates and their sponsors who almost filled the church in La Loche themselves. Facilitating a retreat for 100 people sitting in pews poses a special challenge but it went well, as the participants were very attentive and involved. A group of about 9 candidates and sponsors came from Turnor Lake for the retreat and the celebration itself, as i was unable to go to Turnor Lake this time around. This retreat keeps me in touch with a bit of youth ministry as the archbishop, and helps me to get to know the candidates a little before the celebration itsef.
A unique aspect of this retreat for candidates was a tree planting spree where dozens of trees were planted by the candidates and their sponsors as a sign of hope that their faith would continue to grow like these trees.
As it was a beautiful sunny spring day, our retreat with the 100 or so candidates, sponsors and parents finished up outside in a huge circle, with only a quarter of them pictured here.
A very hopeful and encouraging event happening in La Loche the same weekend as the sacraments of initiation was a meeting of Cursillista's preparing for the up-coming Cursillo retreats to be held in La Loche the end of June (men's retreat) and early July (women's retreat). The Cursillo is a four day walk with the Lord, a crash course on Christianity, which has come to Saskatchewan from Alberta where it is quite popular. Cursillo's have been held in Beauval in 1992; Pelican Narrows in 1994 and Dillon in 2009. Here the men are meeting together to plan the men's retreat.
Fr. John and Fr. Gaspar are pictured here with one of the womens' teams preparing for the upcoming Cursillo. Some of the women came from as far as Pelican Narrows and Cold Lake, Alberta for the meeting.
There were almost a hundred candidates for full initiation into the Church. Here as many as possible fit into the viewfinder of the camera for a group picture with the archbishop.
Before being sealed with the oil of chrism, the candidates stand to reject evil and profess their faith in Christ. After that a special prayer for the Holy Spirit to come upon them is prayed by the presiders and the whole congregation.
After the ceremony folks lined up in the community hall to continue the celebration with great food and fellowship.
Here the Keith and Brenda Janvier family enjoy a meal together.
These three young ladies dressed up for the occasion and enjoyed visiting with each other.
Folks from La Loche, Turnor and the surrounding area enjoyed the table fellowship after the ceremony.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
On the way to celebrate the sacraments of initiation in La Loche, I went to Sandy Bay to pick up Fr. Gaspar Savarimuthu, a priest from India who will be ministering in our archdiocese. Fr. Susai Jesu OMI, pastor of Sandy Bay and Pelican Narrows, took advantage of that occasion to organize a meeting of all the teams that he has put in place to carry out the renovations of Kateri Hall. Vaiouus teams are finding creative ways to raise funds for the project. Here the catering team provided meals for the youth conference put on by the community at the school. They are now gearing up to cater for several weddings over the summer.
Here Fr. Susai, Archbishop Sylvain, Mr and Mrs Ernie Rae and Fr. Gaspar Savarimuthu enjoy a meal at the youth conference cooked by the catering team.
Work on the kitchen part of Kateri Hall has progressed to where it is almost ready for the concrete to be poured with the rebar in place.
The newly painted hall with new trim around the pillars and baseboard is very warm and inviting.
Fr. Susai, Ernie Rae and Archbishop Sylvain look over the work that has been done on the kitchen part of Kateri Hall.
Here Fr. Susai leads the group in prayer and then provides an update and some background for everyone on the project.
Ina Rae has accepted a leadership role in the project and here is providing the gathering with an upddate.
The whole group gathers for a picture with Fr. Susai OMI. The cake has an inscription from one of the elders: Where there is a will there is a way; way to go Sandy Bay.
A group of wise elders who attended the gathering, showed great interest in the project and added their advice.