Stretching across 44,800 square kilometers from Macklin and Leader in the west, to Kelvington and Wadena in the east, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon includes some 87,000 Catholics served by 98 parishes.
From many backgrounds, speaking a variety of languages, with a range of socio-economic profiles, Catholics in the Roman Diocese of Saskatoon live in both urban and rural settings.
There are First Nations and Métis Catholics, many served by the diocese's newest parish, Our Lady of Guadalupe, in Saskatoon, and there are newcomers to Canada who connect to their ethnic community when gathering to pray and worship. The Chaldean Catholic community of Saskatoon also falls under the diocesan umbrella, serving parishioners from Sacred Heart Parish.
In the west are the many parishes of St. Joseph's Colony, established more than a century ago by German-Russian pioneers, and served for many years by Oblate priests.
Around Muenster and Humboldt are parishes established as part of St. Peter's Colony, another German settlement: this one grew up around the Benedictine Abbey established at Muenster.
There are also Francophone communities established in the area of Vonda, Prud'homme and St. Denis. The diocese also includes a wide range of other national groups: Irish, Filipino, Polish, Iraqi, Spanish, Italian, Croatian, Ukrainian, Sudanese, Vietnamese, and others.
There are seven deaneries in the diocese: Saskatoon City, Saskatoon Rural, Humboldt, Wadena, Outlook, Kerrobert and Eatonia. These regional deaneries were developed as a way to facilitate communication, consultation and cooperation across the distances of the diocese. The deanery structure is designed to keep parishes in touch with one another and with the diocese, foster collaboration, resource sharing and problem-solving among parishes in a region, and provide a forum to address regional concerns.
Representatives from each of the deaneries also serve on a Diocesan Pastoral Council, which is set up as an advisory body to help facilitate a two-way communication between the parishes and the bishop. The Diocesan Pastoral Council held its first meeting on Oct. 9, 1999.
In addition to our diocesan priests, there are a number of religious priests (Basilians, Benedictines, Dominicans, Oblates, Vincentians, and Redemptorists) serving in the diocese of Saskatoon, as well as three permanent deacons, religious brothers, and religious sisters in a variety of orders.
There are also a number of Parish Life Directors, who are lay people or sisters appointed by the bishop to serve with a Priest Moderator as a Parish Pastoral Team. This is one way in which the challenge of fewer priests/ aging priests is being addressed in the diocese. A number of priests from around the world, including Ghana, Nigeria and India, have also been invited in recent years to provide ministry in the diocese. There is also an active vocations promotion office, and there are currently a number of seminarians studying for the priesthood.
With increasing numbers of lay pastoral ministers also being hired by parishes and ministry offices in recent years, the Pastoral Association of Lay Ministers (PALM) was recently established to network and address areas of common concern.
Within the boundaries of the diocese, and connected by bonds of faith and cooperation, there are many partner organizations working with the diocese, including Catholic schools, Catholic colleges, Catholic health care facilities and a number of Catholic agencies. Many were established by the religious orders that came to the area years ago to live and serve the people.Gerald C. Murray, C.SS.R. (1934–1944)
Philip Francis Pocock (1944–1951)
Francis Joseph Klein (1952–1967)
James Patrick Mahoney (1967–1995)
James Weisgerber (1996–2000)
Albert LeGatt (2001–2009)
Donald Joseph Bolen (2010–2016)
Bishop Gerald C. Murray, CSsR, who was born in Montreal, pronounced vows as a Redemptorist in 1907 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1910. He was ordained a bishop in 1930 and installed as bishop of Victoria. In December 1933, he was appointed as the first bishop of the newly formed diocese of Saskatoon
On April 18, 1934, Bishop Murray arrived in Saskatoon from Victoria (in the middle of a raging dust storm) and was formally installed as bishop. He celebrated his first Pontifical High Mass the following day in the newly elevated St. Paul's Cathedral. After serving as bishop of the Saskatoon diocese for 10 years, he was appointed Coadjutor-Archbishop of Winnipeg.
Born in St. Thomas, Ontario, Ontario, Philip Francis Pocock was appointed bishop of Saskatoon on April 7, 1944. Ordained a priest in 1930, he was serving on the staff of St. Peter's Seminary in London, Ontario when he was appointed as shepherd of the Saskatoon diocese. He served as bishop of Saskatoon for seven years until he too was appointed Coadjutor-Archbishop of Winnipeg in 1951, becoming Archbishop in 1952.
Francis Klein, the third bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon was born in Sedley, Saskatchewan the eldest of 13 children. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1934 in the Archdiocese of Regina. He was appointed bishop of Saskatoon in February 1952, the first Saskatchewan-born priest to become a bishop. He served as bishop of Saskatoon for almost 15 years, during a time that included the Second Vatican Council, which brought many changes to the liturgy and the Church. He was appointed bishop of Calgary in February 1967 and died suddenly within a year.
James Patrick Mahoney, the fourth bishop of Saskatoon, was born in Saskatoon in 1927 and ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Klein on June 7, 1952. He served at St. Paul's Cathedral, Delisle, Colonsay, and Blucher, taught at St. Paul's High School and was the first principal of Holy Cross High School in Saskatoon. He was named bishop of Saskatoon in 1967.
During his 27 years as spiritual leader of Roman Catholics in the Saskatoon diocese, Bishop Mahoney undertook and supported works within the Church and in the larger community involving Catholic education, ecumenism, health care, vocations, the spiritual formation of priests and laity, the Knights of Columbus and Catholic Women's League, the Brazil mission and social justice endeavours. Many diocesan ministries developed during Bishop Mahoney's time as shepherd, including such important developments as the launch of Lay Formation and the establishment of the Bishop's Annual Appeal.
"He was much respected in the Catholic community and beyond and was able to forge important links with people of non-Catholic churches and faiths, as well as with the civic leaders of Saskatoon, many of whom participated in the celebration of his 25th anniversary as bishop in 1992," reports diocesan archivist Margaret Sanche. Bishop Mahoney died March 2, 1995 in Saskatoon.
Born in Vibank, Saskatchewan, James Weisgerber was ordained a priest in Regina on June 1, 1963. In 1990 he was elected General Secretary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, a position he held until his ordination as the bishop of Saskatoon in March 1996.
While he was bishop, the boundaries of Saskatchewan's dioceses were redefined, with a newly amalgamated diocese of Saskatoon coming into existence in September 1998. The diocese of Saskatoon inherited the west part of the former diocese of Gravelbourg, as well as the area formerly served by St. Peter's Abbacy of Muenster, and former parts of the Archdiocese of Regina. This change of boundaries added some 20,000 Catholics to the diocese of Saskatoon.
James Weisgerber was named Archbishop of Winnipeg by Pope John Paul II in June 2000.
Born May 6, 1953 in Melfort and raised near St. Brieux, Albert LeGatt was ordained a priest in the Diocese of Prince Albert in 1983, and appointed Saskatoon's sixth bishop in July 2001 by Pope John Paul II.
During his eight years as bishop of Saskatoon, Bishop LeGatt worked with the diocesan faith community on a number of initiatives, including the establishment of a diocesan Task Force on Marriage to work with a diocesan office of Marriage and Family Life to strengthen and support marriage, as well as a Diocesan Mission Office to create greater awareness, participation and understanding of mission beyond diocesan boundaries. A diocesan office of prison ministry, and of Roman Catholic hospital chaplaincy to two secular city hospitals were also established under LeGatt's leadership.
Bishop LeGatt worked with the diocesan Lay Formation team and representatives from the dioceses of Archdiocese of Keewatin-LePas and Prince Albert to establish the unique Aboriginal Catholic Lay Formation program, offered in conjunction with the established diocesan and eparchial program.
As part of a focus on lifelong faith formation, LeGatt also restored the Order of Initiation Sacraments in the diocese, with confirmation now celebrated before First Eucharist. Working with the Diocesan Commission for Ecumenism, LeGatt also issued a general decree setting pastoral directives for sacramental sharing in particular circumstances between Catholics and baptized Christians of other denominations.
Bishop LeGatt's initiatives also included the launch of a "Rooted in Christ" Diocesan Vision that calls for a focus on six priorities over five years, and a "Uniting in Faith" campaign to build a Cathedral and Catholic Pastoral Centre. A ground-breaking for the new building took place in December 2009, the building opened in December 2011 and was officially blessed on May 13, 2012.
On July 3, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Albert LeGatt as the Archbishop of St. Boniface, Manitoba and his installation was held Sept. 21, 2009.
Pope Benedict XVI appointed Donald Joseph Bolen as the seventh bishop of Saskatoon Dec. 21, 2009 and his Episcopal Ordination was held on the Feast of the Annunciation, Thursday, March 25, 2010 at St. Patrick's Parish in Saskatoon.
Bishop Donald Bolen was born and raised in Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan and was ordained a priest for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Regina in 1991. He holds a BA in English and Religious Studies from the University of Regina, and a B.Th, M.Th, and licentiate in theology from St. Paul University in Ottawa. He has served as a parish priest in Regina and rural Saskatchewan, and has taught religious studies at Campion College at the University of Regina. After three years of post-graduate work at Oxford University, he was asked to take up a teaching position at Campion College. Shortly thereafter, prior to completing his doctoral dissertation, he was called to Rome to serve in the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the Vatican's office for ecumenism. For seven years he was the Vatican's staff person for dialogue with Anglicans and Methodists, and co-chaired the international working group for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. As the incumbent of a dialogue desk working with English-speaking churches, he had a unique perspective on international and regional work for Christian unity. During this time, he was responsible for numerous special projects including work on Receptive Ecumenism and the "Harvest project". In November 2008 he was awarded the Cross of Saint Augustine by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, for his service to relations between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.
Monsignor Bolen returned to Canada in 2009, where he held the Nash Chair in Religion at Campion College. He also served as vicar general for the Archdiocese and priest for two rural parishes. He also resumed his work with the Archdiocesan Ecumenical Commission until his appointment as bishop of Saskatoon in December 2009
Bishop Bolen continues his active involvement in ecumenical relations. He is the Catholic chair of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission, a body that is charged with leading the implementation of agreements between the two communions and finding ways to engage in common witness and service. He is also the Catholic chair of the Methodist-Roman Catholic International Commission, a theological dialogue sponsored by the World Methodist Council and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and of the Canadian Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue, a theological commission serving the Anglican Church of Canada and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. Bishop Bolen also serves as a member of the Evangelical-Roman Catholic International Consultation sponsored by the World Evangelical Alliance and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
On July 11, 2016, Pope Francis appointed Bishop Bolen as the Archbishop of Regina, Saskatchewan and his installation was held Oct. 14, 2016. Soon after the diocese's College of Consulters elected Fr. Kevin McGee, the diocese Vicar General as the Diocesan Administrator.
The climate of the diocese is generally temperate but can turn bitterly cold in the winter, sometimes lower than 40 below Celsius. The cold is moderated somewhat by the dry air. The summer months are relatively short, with temperatures often rising to 27-33 degrees Celsius.
Saskatchewan, in the area of the Diocese of Saskatoon is a vast plain, with few trees in the South. The northern areas, however, can be heavily wooded and feature many fresh water lakes. A major industry in the diocese is agriculture, with wheat the most common crop on the prairies. Other grains which are also popular include oats, barley, flax and canola. Lumber is also an important industry in the north, and the province is also famous for its rich natural resources such as oil, potash and uranium. The potash mines are largely located within the boundaries of this diocese, and there are oil resources in the west region, near the Alberta border. The uranium deposits are all far north but the industry is served by businesses located here.
Demographically, Saskatchewan includes a diverse mix of peoples with European countries well represented in large groups of Ukrainian, German and Polish communities. Saskatchewan's Native community is composed of both First Nations and Métis and accounts for somewhere between six-eight per cent of the provincial population. Increasingly, the province is welcoming newcomers from around the world, benefiting in many ways from this new diversity.