Saskatoon RC Diocese

Diocesan Profile

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon is a dynamic and vibrant diocese located in Saskatchewan, the heartland of Canada's prairie provinces.

Stretching across 44,800 square kilometers from Macklin and Leader in the west, to Kelvington and Wadena in the east, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon includes some 87,000 Catholics served by 98 parishes.

From many backgrounds, speaking a variety of languages, with a range of socio-economic profiles, Catholics in the Roman Diocese of Saskatoon live in both urban and rural settings.

There are First Nations and Métis Catholics, many served by the diocese's newest parish, Our Lady of Guadalupe, in Saskatoon, and there are newcomers to Canada who connect to their ethnic community when gathering to pray and worship. The Chaldean Catholic community of Saskatoon also falls under the diocesan umbrella, serving parishioners from Sacred Heart Parish.

In the west are the many parishes of St. Joseph's Colony, established more than a century ago by German-Russian pioneers, and served for many years by Oblate priests.

Around Muenster and Humboldt are parishes established as part of St. Peter's Colony, another German settlement: this one grew up around the Benedictine Abbey established at Muenster.

There are also Francophone communities established in the area of Vonda, Prud'homme and St. Denis. The diocese also includes a wide range of other national groups: Irish, Filipino, Polish, Iraqi, Spanish, Italian, Croatian, Ukrainian, Sudanese, Vietnamese, and others.

There are seven deaneries in the diocese: Saskatoon City, Saskatoon Rural, Humboldt, Wadena, Outlook, Kerrobert and Eatonia. These regional deaneries were developed as a way to facilitate communication, consultation and cooperation across the distances of the diocese. The deanery structure is designed to keep parishes in touch with one another and with the diocese, foster collaboration, resource sharing and problem-solving among parishes in a region, and provide a forum to address regional concerns.

Representatives from each of the deaneries also serve on a Diocesan Pastoral Council, which is set up as an advisory body to help facilitate a two-way communication between the parishes and the bishop. The Diocesan Pastoral Council held its first meeting on Oct. 9, 1999.

In addition to our diocesan priests, there are a number of religious priests (Basilians, Benedictines, Dominicans, Oblates, VIncentians, and Redemptorists) serving in the diocese of Saskatoon, as well as three permanent deacons, religious brothers, and religious sisters in a variety of orders.

There are also a number of Parish Life Directors, who are lay people or sisters appointed by the bishop to serve with a Priest Moderator as a Parish Pastoral Team. This is one way in which the challenge of fewer priests/ aging priests is being addressed in the diocese. A number of priests from around the world, including Ghana, Nigeria and India, have also been invited in recent years to provide ministry in the diocese. There is also an active vocations promotion office, and there are currently a number of seminarians studying for the priesthood.

With increasing numbers of lay pastoral ministers also being hired by parishes and ministry offices in recent years, the Pastoral Association of Lay Ministers (PALM) was recently established to network and address areas of common concern.

Within the boundaries of the diocese, and connected by bonds of faith and cooperation, there are many partner organizations working with the diocese, including Catholic schools, Catholic colleges, Catholic health care facilities and a number of Catholic agencies. Many were established by the religious orders that came to the area years ago to live and serve the people.

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The climate of our Diocese is generally temperate but can turn bitterly cold in the winter, sometimes lower than 40 below Celcius. The cold is moderated somewhat by the dry air. The summer months are relatively short, with temperatures often rising to 27-33 degrees Celcius.

Saskatchewan, in the area of the Diocese of Saskatoon is a vast plain, with few trees in the South. The northern areas, however, can be heavily wooded and feature many fresh water lakes. A major industry in the diocese is agriculture, with wheat the most common crop on the prairies. Other grains which are also popular include oats, barley, flax and canola. Lumber is also an important industry in the north, and the province is also famous for its rich natural resources such as oil, potash and uranium. The potash mines are largely located within the boundaries of this diocese, and there are oil resources in the west region, near the Alberta border. The uranium deposits are all far north but the industry is served by businesses located here.

Demographically, Saskatchewan includes a diverse mix of peoples with European countries well represented in large groups of Ukrainian, German and Polish communities. Saskatchewan's Native community is comprised of both First Nations and Metis and account for somewhere between six-eight per cent of the provincial population. Increasingly, the province is welcoming newcomers from around the world, benefiting in many ways from this new diversity.

Bishop Gerald Murray, CSsR, who was born in Montreal, pronounced vows as a Redemptorist in 1907 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1910. He was ordained a bishop in 1930 and installed as bishop of Victoria. In December 1933, he was appointed as the first bishop of the newly-formed diocese of Saskatoon

On April 18, 1934, Bishop Murray arrived in Saskatoon from Victoria (in the middle of a raging dust storm) and was formally installed as bishop. He celebrated his first Pontifical High Mass the following day in the newly-elevated St. Paul's Cathedral. After serving as bishop of the Saskatoon diocese for 10 years, he was appointed Coadjutor-Archbishop of Winnipeg.

Born in St. Thomas, Ontario, Philip Pocock was appointed bishop of Saskatoon on April 7, 1944. Ordained a priest in 1930, he was serving on the staff of St. Peter's Seminary in London, Ontario when he was appointed as shepherd of the Saskatoon diocese. He served as bishop of Saskatoon for seven years until he too was appointed Coadjutor-Archbishop of Winnipeg in 1951, becoming Archbishop in 1952.

Francis Klein, the third bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon was born in Sedley, Sask. the eldest of 13 children. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1934 in the Archdiocese of Regina. He was appointed bishop of Saskatoon in February 1952, the first Saskatchewan-born priest to become a bishop. He served as bishop of Saskatoon for almost 15 years, during a time that included the Second Vatican Council, which brought many changes to the liturgy and the Church. He was appointed bishop of Calgary in February 1967 and died suddenly within a year.

James Patrick Mahoney, the fourth bishop of Saskatoon, was born in Saskatoon in 1927 and ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Klein on June 7, 1952. He served at St. Paul's Cathedral, Delisle, Colonsay and Blucher, taught at St. Paul's High School and was the first principal of Holy Cross High School in Saskatoon. He was named bishop of Saskatoon in 1967.

During his 27 years as spiritual leader of Roman Catholics in the Saskatoon diocese, Bishop Mahoney undertook and supported works within the Church and in the larger community involving Catholic education, ecumenism, health care, vocations, the spiritual formation of priests and laity, the Knights of Columbus and Catholic Women's League, the Brazil mission and social justice endeavours. Many diocesan ministries developed during Bishop Mahoney's time as shepherd, including such important developments as the launch of Lay Formation and the establishment of the Bishop's Annual Appeal.

"He was much respected in the Catholic community and beyond and was able to forge important links with people of non-Catholic churches and faiths, as well as with the civic leaders of Saskatoon, many of whom participated in the celebration of his 25th anniversary as bishop in 1992," reports diocesan archivist Margaret Sanche. Bishop Mahoney died March 2, 1995 in Saskatoon.

Born in Vibank, Saskatchewan, James Weisgerber was ordained a priest in Regina on June 1, 1963. In 1990 he was elected General Secretary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, a position he held until his ordination as the bishop of Saskatoon in March 1996.

While he was bishop, the boundaries of Saskatchewan's dioceses were redefined, with a newly-amalgamated diocese of Saskatoon coming into existence in September 1998. The diocese of Saskatoon inherited the west part of the former diocese of Gravelbourg, as well as area formerly served by St. Peter's Abbacy of Muenster, and part of the former diocese of Regina. This change of boundaries added some 20,000 Catholics to the diocese of Saskatoon.

James Weisgerber was named Archbishop of Winnipeg by Pope John Paul II in June 2000.

Born May 6, 1953 in Melfort and raised near St. Brieux, Albert LeGatt was ordained a priest in the diocese of Prince Albert in 1983, and appointed Saskatoon's sixth bishop in July 2001 by Pope John Paul II.

During his eight years as bishop of Saskatoon, Bishop LeGatt worked with the diocesan faith community on a number of initiatives, including the establishment of a diocesan Task Force on Marriage to work with a diocesan office of Marriage and Family Life to strengthen and support marriage, as well as a Diocesan Mission Office to create greater awareness, participation and understanding of mission beyond diocesan boundaries. A diocesan office of prison ministry, and of Roman Catholic hospital chaplaincy to two secular city hospitals were also established under LeGatt's leadership.

Bishop LeGatt worked with the diocesan Lay Formation team and representatives from the diocese of Keewatin-LePas and Prince Albert to establish the unique new Aboriginal Catholic Lay Formation program, offered in conjunction with the established diocesan and eparchial program.

As part of a focus on life-long faith formation, LeGatt also restored the Order of Initiation Sacraments in the diocese, with confirmation now celebrated before First Eucharist. Working with the Diocesan Ecumenical Commission, LeGatt also issued a general decree setting pastoral directives for sacramental sharing in particular circumstances between Catholics and baptized Christians of other denominations.

Bishop LeGatt's initiatives also included the recent launch of a "Rooted in Christ" Diocesan Vision that calls for a focus on six priorities over five years, and a "Uniting in Faith" campaign to build a Cathedral and Catholic Pastoral Centre. A ground-breaking for the new building took place in December 2009 and the building opened in December 2011 and was officially blessed on May 13, 2012.

On July 3, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Albert LeGatt as the Archbishop of St. Boniface, Manitoba and his installation was held Sept. 21, 2009.

Pope Benedict appointed Donald Joseph Bolen as the seventh bishop of Saskatoon Dec. 21, 2009 and his Episcopal Ordination was held on the Feast of the Annunciation, Thursday, March 25, 2010 at St. Patrick's Parish in Saskatoon.

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Diocese of Saskatoon In Video