Please read the attached documents concerning two timely issues of special importance to Indigenous People where Catholic parishes, missions and organizations can offer practical assistance.
- Suggestions on residential school burial sites (PDF – English and French)
- Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls ( In English)
- Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls ( In French)
Please consider how your parish can help.
Migration has been a reality of our world since ancient times. It has always been a sign of the strength of the human spirit to overcome adversity and strive for a better life. Today, a great number of people move to other places, some by choice and others not. No matter the circumstances, all share the desire to live a safe, peaceful life.
The Church has been celebrating World Day of Migrants and Refugees each year since 1914. World Refugee Day has been marked by the UN on June 20 since 2000. This year, join us on June 29, the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, for a special mass to celebrate World Day of Migrants. This is an opportunity for the faith community to reflect upon the role migration has played in our history and tradition, pray for migrants and refugees around the world, and raise awareness about the causes, challenges, and opportunities involved with migration.
Recent tragedies around the world have lead to a dramatic increase in global migrants and refugees, putting a great many men, women, and children in danger. As Christians, we are called to share the burden of those suffering hardship, to open our doors and hearts to the weary and marginalized. The Church recognizes in migrants the image of Christ who said, “I was a stranger and you made me welcome” [Mt 25:35]. As Pope Francis says, “The phenomenon of migration is not unrelated to salvation history, but rather a part of that history. One of God’s commandments is connected to it: “You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” [Ex 22:21]; “Love the sojourner therefore; for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt” [Deut. 10:19]” [Pope Francis, September 8, 2016].
On World Day of Migrants, we remember Mary and Joseph, migrants of their time – the hardships they faced, the importance of their journey, and God’s greater plan for them. We can see these same elements in every migration story, and must take the opportunity to reflect on shared human experiences and how we can be a part of the solution to a global challenge. After all, “no one is a stranger in the Christian community, which embraces ‘every nation, tribe, people and tongue’ [Rev 7:9]. Each person is precious; persons are more important than things, and the worth of an institution is measured by the way it treats the life and dignity of human beings, particularly when they are vulnerable” [Pope Francis, September 8, 2016].
Join Bishop William McGrattan on June 29, 7:00 p.m. at St. Mary’s Cathedral to celebrate World Day of Migrants and live the words of Pope Benedict: “The Church is God’s family on earth” [Deus Caritas Est].
The 34th Annual Outdoor Way of the Cross took place on Good Friday, April 14, 2017.
What is the Outdoor Way of the Cross About?
We come to walk along the inner city and stop at 14 Stations to listen to scripture readings, and to reflect on the suffering, passion and death of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The Annual Outdoor Way of the Cross is a two-and-a-half hour procession through the inner City of Calgary that starts and ends at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral on 18th Avenue and 2nd Street S.W.
As Jesus shared in our human suffering, and even death itself, so many of us come to walk with Jesus in his suffering and share his pain. We also see our own life hardships reflected in the burden of carrying the cross. We contemplate the great love that Jesus showed when he gave his life for all people in the world, so that they may have life.
The Way of the Cross is more than just a personal journey, Jesus' death is redemptive and in his dying we are reconciled with God, healed and redeemed. Through our participation in the walk, we ask that Jesus forgive our sins, heal our wounds, and transform us more into the image and likeness of God.
At the heart of the Outdoor Way of the Cross practice is also the idea and practice of Solidarity. We all share the common experience of seeing a loved one or someone close to us suffer. We wish that we could take on their burden. It is this idea of loving someone so much that we would like to take away his or her suffering by sharing in this person's experience. In the case of Jesus, God loved us so much that he allowed Jesus to share in humanly life and suffering, even in death, except for sin. As we participate in the Outdoor Way of the Cross, we are also in solidarity with our suffering brothers and sisters who are thirsting for compassion and justice in the world today.
To register as a volunteer or for more information about this year's Outdoor Way of the Cross, visit www.wayofthecross.ca
Volunteers with the St. Luke’s Church Refugee Support Ministry have been assisting with the resettlement in Calgary of four refugee families that arrived earlier this year from Syria. In line with the Gospel theme of “Who is my neighbour,” the individuals have dedicated substantial time in assisting them with the many resettlement responsibilities, e.g. learning English, addressing their medical and dental needs, finding and delivering furniture and used bicycles, etc. Although the parish has been supporting refugees to resettle for about 30 years, this has been an exceptional event given the large number of family members, 19 in total. Further, this has been the first time that many of the volunteers have been involved and it has been an excellent learning experience for them.
The many experiences included understanding the traumatic experiences the four families underwent during the last five years. Most of the families lived in Damascus and suburban areas near this large capital city of Syria. They led normal, happy lives where they went to work, their children attended school, and everyone was able to live without threat of fear hanging above their heads. Some held occupations as teachers, others worked in trades, accounting, and a few of the young men were enrolled in universities and colleges and were nearing their final years of study. But on March 15, 2011 everything took a turn for the worst as this was the day the civil war officially ignited across the country, destroying the world they once knew. Military clashes between extremist groups and regime forces began affecting civilian lives on a daily basis. The sound of shrapnel colliding with houses became common, hearing the sharp crack of a machine guns was normal, as was the sudden swoosh of fighter jets soaring above their heads. And the difficulties of these families were enhanced since they were members of a Christian minority within the country, where they were denied societal rights, and subjected to prejudice and discrimination. These circumstances persuaded the families to leave everything they had ever known and cross the border into neighbouring Lebanon. This migration signified the reality that they had no safe place remaining for them to occupy in their homeland.
Choosing to move compelled them to seek a country that would accept them and allow them to start over again for the sake of their children’s futures. Fortunately, a relative in Canada was willing and able to sponsor them–very significant when considering they are four families. After residing in Lebanon for approximately one year, all applications were approved. Beginning in October 2015, the families began to arrive in Calgary–one by one–until all four had landed by February 2016. Once everyone settled into their houses, the reality of their new lives settled in and they made the list of priorities they hoped to accomplish in the upcoming year. Learning English, finding work, and being able to successfully support themselves were priorities. The families are of the Christian faith, belonging to the Melkite Greek Catholic community. Their peaceful nature and optimism make them good candidates for integrating into Canadian society. They aspire to raise their children to be active citizens.
The St. Luke’s volunteers say that their experiences with these delightful families have made several lasting impressions on them:
- how nice, friendly, and industrious they are, just the kind of people we should want as new Canadians
- the enthusiasm and commitment imparted on the volunteer team once meeting the families and learning the many facets of the support ministry
- how enthusiastic and rewarded the volunteers feel after virtually every interface that they have with the refugee families
- the wholehearted appreciation shown by the families and their sponsor, and the intense desire of the people to become independent and contribute to their own welfare
- the extent to which all have become so close with each other that they now feel part of each other’s extended families.