Summer 2015 has featured familiar and new spiritual gatherings and events. This summer’s pilgrimages included:
PINE CHANNEL, Athabasca Region from July 5 to 12;
RUSSEL LAKE, Tlicho Region from June 31 to July 4;
LAC SAINT ANNE PILGRIMAGE, Lac St. Anne, Alberta from July 18 to 23
DELINE SPIRITUAL GATHERING, Sahtu Region from August 15-18
The spiritual gatherings feature prayer, celebration of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist, and community events as the Dene peoples come together for retreat and the seeking of the Creator’s blessings.
However, this summer also featured some unique events. In Late July Deline First Nations hosted a ‘water conference’. People from across the Territories came together to discuss the need to be good stewards of the God-given gift of water, which is so essential for life of people and all of creation, and which is threatened today by the global mismanagement and abuse of creation. Encouraged by Pope Francis’s recent encyclical Laudato Si. The Great Bear Lake is sacred to the Sahtu Dene people, and has been important feature of the teaching of the Deline prophets, and especially Ehtsa Ehya.
While the summer has been hot with many forest fires in the south of the Diocese, in our Arctic North East, summer has been long in coming. Sea ice is still visible on the area near Cambridge Bay – which is very unusual for early August.
Before andAfter – Work completed to restore the Old Stone Church: the original Our Lady of the Arctic Catholic Church, built by OMI priests Fathers Lemer, Steinman, and Menez. Materials included whatever was on hand – seal oil, clay, and frost-shattered rocks. The church was originally opened on September 12, 1954.
The visit to Cambridge Bay also featured the blessing of a new “Retreat & Healing Center” located about 20 minutes outside the community. The center will be provide an opportunity for members of the community to come away for retreat as they seek healing, God’s blessings, and growth.
Summer Workers, New Priests & Lay Ministers
This summer featured very helpful assistance from several visitors to the Diocese. They provided assistance at Trapper’s Lake Retreat Center, where important maintenance must be done during the short and important summer season in order to maintain the facility through the rigourous long winter period. They also assisted with some ministry support tasks, such as updating Sacramental preparation resources, and working in our Archives and Finance offices.
The Midnight Moon over Trapper’s Lake, mid-summer
We continue to be blessed in the Diocese of Mackenzie-Fort Smith.
Mahsi-cho. In Our Lord,
Bishop Mark A. Hagemoen
Diocese of Mackenzie-Fort Smith