The First Annual Archdiocese of Regina Congress was held at St. Elizabeth’s Catholic School in Regina on September 22, 2018. A true gathering of the Regina Diocese, the event drew pastors and parish leaders from rural and urban centers throughout Southern Saskatchewan.
The theme of the Appeal is “Be Joyful in Hope.” The announcing of this year’s goal of $1.6 million was the first order of the day followed by keynote speaker, Leah Perrault. Break-out sessions covering a variety of areas of parish life and governance followed in the afternoon.
DCG Philanthropic Services Inc., Saskatoon represented by Don Gorsalitz, was introduced as the company that will be working with this year’s Annual Appeal group. He and his company successfully raised the capital funding to build Saskatoon’s new cathedral and pastoral centre.
“It is this appeal along with parish assessments that supports the Archdiocese Ministries to the Archdiocesan Faithful,” said Deacon Barry Wood, Archdiocesan Chief Financial Officer.
In past years the Appeal launch has primarily involved pastors and parish Appeal representatives. This year’s event coupled the launch of the appeal with presentations and workshops whose focus was on providing additional supports, inspiration and networking opportunities for a larger cross section of parish leaders.
“We hope parishes are able to go away with some solid information and tools they may be able to use in their parishes for leadership, for growth, and be able to take them into any ministries in their parishes,” said Director of Pastoral Services, Lisa Polk. Several attendees said they had definitely picked up some pointers they would take to their own parish. In that sense, the Congress was a success.
Leah Perrault’s keynote examined the Appeal’s “Joyful in Hope” theme through the lens of our Catholic Identity in a post-Christian culture, and the responsibility parishes have for the people within their geographic boundary, whether or not they attend services at that local parish. “We are responsible for the souls of everyone within that geographic boundary.”
Perrault is Director of Mission at Saskatoon’s St. Paul Hospital. She also served seven years as Director of Pastoral Services for the Saskatoon Roman Catholic Diocese. She is an accomplished motivational speaker and consultant.
She talked about her own faith in the face of personal tragedy and heartbreak. With inspiring courage she opened up about her miscarriage in 2017 followed not long after with the murder of her twin sister. “We have to remember we are all beloved,” she told her audience, even the man who killed her sister she said.
Dr. David Kopriva of Regina’s St. Anne Parish was deeply moved by Perrault’s description of counting the fingers and toes of her miscarried daughter and said, “I began tearing up listening to her talk, her faith and strength.”
After lunch, breakout sessions were offered on four subjects: Urban and rural finance with Deacon Barry Wood; Pastoral Councils and parish Governance with Lisa Polk; Evangelization was covered by Deacon Eric Gurash, Archdiocesan Director of Communications and Evangelization and Catechetics led by Laura O’Reilly, Pastoral Assistant at Christ the King Parish.
Archbishop Bolen was pleased with the turn-out and with the way the day went. “It is a great joy when people from all quarters of the diocese are able to come together. Everybody here is deeply involved in and committed to the Church,” he said, and, “It’s very life-giving and encouraging to be together.”