Saskatoon RC Diocese

Office of Justice and Peace

International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking - Feb. 8, 2017, on the Feast Day of Saint Josephine Bakhita

“How many times have we permitted a human being to be seen as an object, to be put on show in order to sell a product or to satisfy an immoral desire? The human person ought never to be sold or bought as if he or she were a commodity. Whoever uses human persons in this way and exploits them, even if indirectly, becomes an accomplice of injustice. ” - Pope Francis (2014 Message to the Lenten Fraternity Campaign in Brazil)


The main objective of this day is to bring awareness of this tragic phenomenon which impacts an estimated 21 million people worldwide.  Trafficking is the third largest form of organized crime after the arms trade and illegal drugs.  Additionally we are being called to take concrete individual and collective action that will provide solutions to counter trafficking.

5 Calls to Action for Parishes and Parishioners

Through prayer and education you will become more aware of the human trafficking that is occurring in our midst.  A primary action is to stop minding your own business and bring to light situations where people may be in danger.  

1. Pray!  Pray a Novena to Saint Josephine Bakhita for an end to human trafficking. 

2. Plan an awareness event for your entire parish, or a specific group such as the CWL or K of C where you invite a presenter.  Nashi is a local organization that opposes human trafficking by raising awareness.  They can be contacted at (306) 281-9877. 

3. Attend NASHI’s annual Perogy Paradise fundraiser on March 11,2017.  Visit their webpage at  for more details.

4. Host a movie night,   

5. Educate yourself or create discussions in a small group, post online or gather in real life. Find information at:

Intercessory Prayer:

May we shed our indifference and sense of resignment towards the evil of human trafficking and work to restore dignity in one another.  Through the intercession of Saint Josephine Bakhita we pray…

Prayer to end human trafficking:

O God, when we hear of children and adults deceived and taken to unknown places for purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labour, and organ ‘harvesting’, our hearts are saddened and our spirits angry that their dignity and rights are ignored through threats, lies, and force. We cry out against the evil practice of this modern slavery, and pray with Saint Josephine Bakhita for it to end. Give us wisdom and courage to reach out and stand with those whose bodies, hearts and spirits have been so wounded, so that together we may make real your promises to fill these sisters and brothers with a love that is tender and good. Send the exploiters away empty-handed to be converted from this wickedness, and help us all to claim the freedom that is your gift to your children. Amen.

Quand nous entendons parler d’enfants, hommes et femmes trompés et emmenés en des lieux inconnus dans le but d’exploitation sexuelle, de travail forcé et de vente d’organes, nos cœurs s’indignent et notre esprit est affligé car leur dignité et leurs droits sont piétinés par les menaces, les mensonges et la violence. Dieu, aide-nous à contrecarrer par notre vie toute forme d’esclavage. Nous te prions, avec sainte Joséphine Bakhita afin que la traite des personnes cesse. Donne-nous sagesse et courage pour nous rendre proches de tous ceux et celles qui ont été blessé/ées dans le corps, le cœur et l’esprit, afin qu’ensemble nous puissions réaliser ta promesse de vie et d’amour tendre et infini pour nos frères et sœurs exploité/ées. Touche le cœur de celles et ceux qui sont responsables de ce crime horrible et soutiens notre engagement pour la liberté, ton don pour tous tes fils et filles. Amen.

Victor and Lucille Granger Refugee Sponsorship Stimulus Fund

Details: On March 6, 2016, the 3rd Annual Fundraiser for Persecuted Christians event was held.  The proceeds of the 2016 event kick-started the Victor and Lucille Granger Refugee Sponsorship Stimulus Fund.  Victor and Lucille Granger of Bruno SK sponsored this year’s meal, which removed most of the operating cost of the event, leaving more funds accessible for the chosen cause.  The 2016 organizing committee discerned a need to create a temporary sponsorship fund out of this year’s proceeds, targeted at new or recently formed parish groups looking for financial assistance to sponsor refugees.  All applications will be considered, reviewed and responded to within two weeks of reception.  For more information call or e-mail Myron at (306) 659-5841, justpeace [at] 

Click here for a link to the application form:

Catholic organizations respond to TRC Calls to Action in two documents

In response to Call to Action 48 by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and in response to questions raised on the legal concepts known as “Doctrine of Discovery” and terra nullius, four Canadian Catholic organizations representing bishops, institutes of consecrated life, societies of apostolic life, Indigenous people, and laity recently issued two documents. 

In the first of the two texts, the Catholic signatories express their support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. They affirm that “its spirit can point a way forward to reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada.” The Catholic response to Call to Action 48 includes an “appeal to all our Catholic brothers and sisters — laity, members of institutes of consecrated life and of societies of apostolic life, deacons, priests, and Bishops” — to make eight commitments in order to “continue to walk together with Indigenous peoples in building a more just society where their gifts and those of all people are nurtured and honoured.” Find this first text here:

Also available in French at

Reflecting on the “Doctrine of Discovery” and the notion of terra nullius (no-one’s land), the second of the two Catholic documents “considers and repudiates illegitimate concepts and principles used by Europeans to justify the seizure of land previously held by Indigenous Peoples and often identified by the terms ‘Doctrine of Discovery’ and terra nullius.” The signatories say “that now is an appropriate time to issue a public statement in response to the errors and falsehoods perpetuated, often by Christians, during and following the so-called Age of Discovery.” The signatories reject how these legal constructs have been used to disenfranchise Indigenous peoples, and again affirm the eight commitments made in their first document.

Both documents are dated March 19, 2016, the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is the principal patron saint of Canada. The four organizations involved in the signing are the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), the Canadian Religious Conference (CRC), the Canadian Catholic Aboriginal Council, and the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace.

Most Rev. Donald Bolen (now Archbishop of Regina) has also answered questions about this response to the TRC Calls to Action:
Papal encyclical Laudato Si' on caring for God's creation:

Link to document:

World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation - Sept. 1

Link to Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si' -

Environment series: "Cultivating and Caring For Creation"

Twelve videos and study guides in preparation for Pope Francis' coming encyclical on the environment have been prepared by the online resource Green Spirit Television at www.greenspirittv.comEntilted "Cultivating and Caring For Creation -- How Catholics are leading and participating in a new commitment to respect and protect creation" the series includes highlights from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) January 2013 Justice and Peace Commission document "Building a New Culture: Central Teaching on the Environment."

Find the videos and study guides online at:

Catholic Social Teaching:  Political, but not Partisan

We all know that factors such as the availability of health care, access to land and food, safe and affordable housing, quality education, peace and freedom from violence and oppression are among the factors that deeply influence the length and quality of people's lives. The call to social justice is to address these issues where needed, especially with a concern towards those struggling most in our midst, in order to change lives for the better. Political decisions made at local, national and global levels determine to a large extent what a society offers to its people. Thus to act for social justice is fundamentally a political act.

This political nature of social justice makes many people of faith uncomfortable, as they don't wish to link too closely the Church or the mission of social justice with the agenda of any particular party or political ideology. This is a wise caution, as party politics at times invite compromise, and faith is not about compromise; rather, faith brings to our public life a set of values and a concern with the dignity of all people, and seeks to address particular issues out of that larger vision.  

It is prudent to make a distinction between political and being partisan. This distinction is not always clear to those around us. Brazilian Archbishop Dom Helder Camara famously said "when I feed the poor they call me a saint. When I ask why they're poor the call me a communist." A call for justice is a call for political action, but not a call for support of one party or ideology. It is not ultimately important which party or parties makes good decisions, it is important that good decisions are made. The best way to test whether an action is political or partisan is to ask whether the action is about issues and outcomes or about who will get elected. Advocating, for example, for adequate available healthcare may require conversations with various political leaders. Aligning oneself with the position of one or the other does not mean identifying with that party, it simply means supporting their stance on a particular issue. 

That doesn't mean, of course, that people of faith cannot be partisan. We are each able to make our choices about which parties are more likely to make good decisions and to support and engage in that activity as best suits our conscience. For the Church, however, the separation between political and partisan is crucial.

Justice and Peace Projects:

Invite letter, (download

The time line for this project would look something like this:

SeptemberParishes receive mail out and prayer resources
The next two months would be discussions looking at the following questions:
OctoberWho are the poor in our midst?  Prayer resources to explore this question will be available to your PPC and all groups in the parish that will be participating
NovemberWhat is justice?  What is charity?
DecemberReflecting on relationship mutual support with dignity for all
JanuaryKnowing what we now know, how do we proceed? Discussion of a plan
FebruaryContinue planning.  The Diocese will begin posting parish ideas on our website, and we would ask that you pray for each other's initiatives, with descriptions including "What is the project?" And "Who is involved?"
MarchBegin!  An evaluation tool will be posted on-line
AprilHow is it going?  Reflection and on-going evaluation
MayDiocesan Celebration of Initiatives

This time line easily lends itself to our liturgical year.  There may be an Advent prayer service you'd like to have in the parish to allow all the parishioners to experience the reflection you have been doing all fall.  You may plan an event or project that kicks off on Ash Wednesday, and continues through Lent.  There is no limit to the possibilities“ be creative, and invite wide participation in your projects.  Perhaps your parish will partner with another neighbouring parish in your deanery, or an agency that is well-established in its work and outreach to the poor.

Remember, the videos that are posted on-line are a resource for you, individual parishioners, and any group that is interested in initiating discussion and action on reaching out to those in need.

Our Commission:

Back left to right.
Richard Medernach, (Development and Peace), Myron Rogal, (Office Coordinator), Carol Zubiak, (Commission Chair), Bishop Donald Bolen, Blake Sittler, (Co director of Pastoral Services), Michael McLean, (STM), Eileen Bear, (Future Generations), Sr. Ludvina Sheck, (Seniors well being), Fr. Jon Hansen CSsR, (Westside Pastors and Inner City Council of Churches), Owen Fortosky, (Welcoming newcomers, food security, housing), Sean O'Connor, (KAIROS)

Bottom left to right.
Connie Crichton, (CWL), Mary Deutscher, (Pro-Life), Michael Murphy, (S'toon Peace Coalition), Mildred Kerr, (Equal Justice For ALL), Ellen Erickson, (Office of Migration), Sr. Judy Schachtel, (environment), Fr. Andre Poilieve, (Str8Up).

Diocese of Saskatoon In Video