Saskatoon’s new Catholic bishop takes on the issues facing his diocese – Saskatoon

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon’s new bishop says he is “changed in many ways” after serving the Northwest Territories, parts of Nunavut, and Saskatchewan’s north.

Rev. Mark Hagemoen said the way he sees and approaches pastoral ministry has changed, especially after serving the largely Indigenous population of his former diocese.

“The biggest lesson from the North is to move slowly and relationship-build and meet people, and try to enter into their lives as opposed to bringing preconceptions and judgements as to what’s needed,” he said.

In Saskatoon, he replaces Donald Bolen, who was named as Archbishop of Regina last year.

Born and raised in Vancouver, Hagemoen is new to Saskatoon and southern Saskatchewan, and is taking on a leadership role in the face of some controversy in the Catholic community. Here’s how he plans to approach the issues.

Residential schools apology

Regina Archbishop Don Bolen met with Pope Francis at the Vatican in March. (Submitted)

Hagemoen’s predecessor spoke to Pope Francis about residential schools and a possible papal visit to Saskatchewan when he met the Pope last March.

A papal visit to the province is unlikely in 2017 or 2018.

“The Holy Father Pope Francis is very sensitive to and responsive to the needs of people, especially people who have been hurt or oppressed or victimized in any way,” Hagemoen said. 

“He may have some surprises. So I look forward to that.”

Hagemoen himself learned about reconciliation and healing in his prior post.

“I come from a background where healing may imply you need to fix something, so you do the healing program and move beyond it,” he said.

He said he has learned that for many Indigenous people, healing requires a more holistic approach, and is life-long.

“It will be interesting to determine what that looks like here,” he said.

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