International Mission 2016 Report
Mission Council chose 7 projects to help people in need in five different countries
- Darjeeling Jesuit Province for direct involvement in evangelization
- Save Trust for mining children in Magara, Guntur
- Vellore Diocese - for carpentry tools for the vocational training of young boys
- Multipurpose Social Service Society of the Cuddapah Diocese - for vocational skill training in tailoring and embroidery
- Eritrea: To finish off the Church in Hamedey
- Democratic Republic of Congo: For furniture in the chapel of Notre-Dame University of Kayasi
- Sri Lanka: Happy Life for drug prevention and awareness program, and practical leadership skills in Mirigama
- Nepal: Aid to rescue young women from prostitution through Servants Anonymous in Calgary
ROAMING THE PRAIRES, Fr. Lacombe loved the simplicity of life, the beauty of the wilderness and the exhilaration of the Buffalo hunt. In his journal he notes: “Hey, I am in my element. My cart, my 3 horses, my good Alexis (handyman and hunter), and our Blackfoot cook (Suzanne), with whom I am studying the Blackfoot language, my tent, my chapel-case, my catechisms and objects of piety – behold: my church and my rectory!”
Fr. Lacombe was a dedicated teacher of the Faith. He became proficient in both Cree and Blackfoot and contributed to the creation, development and eventual publication of a Cree dictionary and a Blackfoot glossary. His greatest teaching innovation, though, is the “Catholic Ladder.”
In his book, Proclaiming the Gospel to the Indians and Métis, author Raymond Huel, Professor of History at the University of Lethbridge, states:
“The (Oblate) missionaries also demonstrated great ingenuity and flexibility in the development of instructional aids. Albert Lacombe transformed the Catholic Ladder into ‘a small masterpiece of pedagogy.’ While preaching to the Blackfoot in 1865, Lacombe supplemented his instruction with drawings made in the sand. Noticing that the visual presentation appealed to his audience, he later suspended a buffalo robe between two poles and used it to draw figures and symbols to present Biblical history. Upon returning to St. Albert, Lacombe used ink and paper to prepare more elaborate versions.”
Later, on his way to Europe to raise funds, recruit clergy and invite immigrants for Oblate Bishop Vital Grandin’s new St. Albert Diocese, he met with the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame in Montreal, and they published a definitive colored edition. Fr. Lacombe shared his illustrated Catholic Ladder with his fellow missionaries and eventually it was approved by the Pope and used all over the world.
In 1870, a smallpox epidemic devastated Métis, Cree and Blackfoot communities, and Fr. Lacombe responded by visiting village after village, comforting the sick and burying the dead. He wrote to Bishop Taché, “Day and night I am constantly occupied, scarcely having time to say Mass!” Then an influx of illegal American whiskey traders in southern Alberta exploited the Blackfoot with their brand of firewater, prompting Fr. Lacombe to communicate with Ottawa. In 1871 he wrote: “While we await … an impressive (police) force to compel the fulfillment of law, we suffer unceasingly!” By 1872, Lacombe was planning a permanent mission, for himself, in Blackfoot Territory somewhere in the Bow Valley region.
It was not to be, though, as Lacombe was called away to the East on assignments for the Oblates that would keep him from southern Alberta for 10 years!
In that same year, 1872, Alexis Cardinal, Lacombe’s Métis handyman, built a small chapel-cabin for him by the Elbow River in the Springbank region, in anticipation of the Blackfoot mission.
In Lacombe’s absence, Bishop Grandin sent brother Oblates, Fr. Constantine Scollen, and later, Fr. Leon Doucet, who established Notre Dame de la Paix [Our Lady of Peace] at the site of Cardinal’s chapel-cabin in 1873. The mission was re-located to the meeting of the Bow and Elbow Rivers, where the North West Mounted Police built Fort Calgary, in 1875.
Fr. Lacombe was expected to return as an interpreter and advocate for the Blackfoot when they signed Treaty #7 at Blackfoot Crossing, in 1877, but he fell ill while travelling and couldn’t make it. Fr. Scollen replaced him.
When the Buffalo all but disappeared from the Canadian plains in 1879, First Nations bands moved onto their Reserves and the West was opened up for a trans-continental railway and the arrival of settlers to populate the prairies.
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The Christian spirit has always been animated by a passion to lead all humanity to Christ in the Church. The outreach to others expands the network of friendship with Christ which connects heaven and earth, different continents and ages. It is entrance into the gift of communion with Christ, which is new life enlivened by charity and the commitment to justice.
This outreach requires taking into account the hopes, sufferings and concrete situations in an experience of sharing, a characteristic of true friendship, and is a valuable occasion for witnessing and for Christian proclamation.
It is my fond hope that Mission Council will continue to be a bearer of the presence of God and an instrument of true humanization in our broken world.
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
F. B. Henry
Bishop of Calgary.
A Gift of Prayer
Mission Prayer by permission from "The Society of Propagation of the Faith"
Lord, our God, help us to walk with you on the pathway of the beatitudes and to live out your mission in today's world.Bind us to all men and women of our time so that together we may bring the Good News to the ends of the earth.Open our hearts and our Christian communities to the needy, the afflicted, the oppressed.May we radiate the Living Christ and transform our lives in hope of the Resurrection.This prayer we make to you who are living God now and forever.
A Gift of Volunteer Time
Be attentive: To the Spirit of love, healing and service, for a true missionary begins the journey with one's own self then moves on to their family, parish, community and diocese. Only when also called by God do they then proceed to share the gifts of the Holy Spirit to those in need throughout the world.
Our Patron Saint of the Universal Missions, St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus was a "cloistered" Carmelite nun who became a Doctor of the Church.
Ways to serve Diocesan Mission Council
For more information contact Sr. Cecily Graves, Executive Director
- Consider becoming a Board Member
- Organize a Parish Mission Committee (discuss idea with your Parish Priest and Parish Council)
- Collect stamps and donate them to Diocesan Mission Council
- Donate used greeting cards to be recycled
- Volunteer your time with the many Outreach programs, organizations and projects in your Parish, throughout the Diocese or in your community
- For more information see Canadian Outreach Opportunities
A Gift of a Monetary Donation
During the meeting of the Mission Board on March 1st, 1972 two major actions were taken. The late Bishop Paul O'Byrne appointed Fr. Joseph Toole as Director and the proposed constitution was presented and studied by the Board. The following month April 12th, an "historical decision" was made that changed how the people of the Diocese of Calgary gave to the Missions, the less fortunate and needy of our Diocese and the world. Previously, the parishioners gave to the Missions via the Mission Sunday Collection which was then given to Propagation of the Faith, one of the Pontifical Societies. Fr. Toole moved; "that persons should be able to donate to the Peru Mission (for the work of Father Malo), through their parish or through the Diocese, and that they receive receipts for such donations." It was seconded by Mrs. Bea Davis and the Motion was carried.
Forty years later the Diocese of Calgary activity in the Mission of the Church has changed extensively to include a number of organizations, to which you could give a monetary donation.
We encourage you to review the different possibilities by reading more information in our section Canadian Outreach Opportunities or, if you prefer, send your designated mission donations directly to Mission Council or Together in Action (formerly ABA) c/o the Diocesan Pastoral Centre.
Let the promptings of the Holy Spirit that dwells in your heart help you to discern where your donations are needed. May God our Father continue to bless you with joy and peace as you help the less fortunate of our Parishes, Communities, throughout the Diocese and the world.
With gratitude we Thank You.
Discover relevant reflection, constructive suggestions, and sound orientations for effective, life-giving evangelizing and catechetical ministry with adults in the newly published resource by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops entitled: "On Good Soil"!
For more information about "On Good Soil", click on the link below:
To find out what thoughts the Canadian Catholic Schools Trustees' Association provide on this new resource, click on this link: