Social Justice

The following are the primary ways in which the Social Justice Department attempts to respond to the call to be prophetic and witness to transformative action in a highly disillusioned culture, according to the demands of the Social Teachings of the Church as presented in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:

  • Offers various presentations and workshops.
  • Works creatively in ecumenical groups and committees, including Kairos and Restorative Justice circles.
  • Provides the leadership required to shape ‘A Deanery’s Spotlight on Social Justice’, an approach designed to assist the Implementation of the Vision of the Archdiocese of Regina. A ‘Deanery’s Spotlight on Social Justice’ replaces the ‘Social Justice in Motion’ conferences.
  • Joins various advocacy and action groups that it might be informed by and give support to secular groups and coalitions who work out of concern for the environment and on behalf of persons who are in need of better support.
  • Participates in the Annual Western Social Justice Conference, a weekend gathering of many representatives from the 18 dioceses in Western Canada, enabling it to work in wider regional social justice forums.
  • Hosts and chairs the three or four commission meetings that take place each year. The Archdiocesan Social Justice Commission is a body made up of two representatives from each deanery. The work of the commission is to pray, offer support and challenge to the Coordinator, provide a two-way line of communication, discuss any current justice issues of regional concern, and assist the department in developing and promoting an annual Archdiocesan or deanery wide Social Justice event.

The Social Justice Department of the Archdiocese of Regina is staffed by the Social Justice Coordinator, Bert Pitzel, and part time secretary Jo-Ann Selinger.

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The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) was represented at a recent meeting organized by the Holy See on mining activities. The two CCCB representatives were Dr. Ernest Martin Kroeker from the Diocese of Kamloops, on behalf of the Stswecem'c Xgat'tem First Nation community near Williams Lake, B.C., and Mr. Kyle Ferguson, CCCB advisor for ecclesial and interfaith relations who also assists the Canadian Catholic Aboriginal Council. The meeting, held this past July 17-19 in Rome, concerned communities from across the globe which are affected by mining activities. It was organized by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Titled "In Union with God We Hear a Plea," the meeting brought together representatives from Latin America, Africa, India, the Philippines, North America as well as Non-Governmental Organizations and Episcopal Conferences.

In preparation for the meeting, Pope Francis wrote to the gathering, "You come from difficult situations and in various...

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Iranian Refugees Arrive in Regina

Last updated on August 10, 2015

It was a long journey but an Iranian family of four, father, mother 13-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter were happy to be in Canada after living two years in a Turkey refugee camp. The family did not want their photo or names used, “they have ways of finding you,” they said. They arrived in Regina July 29 and were met by members of the St. Cecilia Parish Social Justice Committee and Pastor Reverend John Weckend. The Parish will be responsible for them for a year. Looking tired after their long journey, the two-year-old daughter hanging tightly to her mother, the family looked relieved and a little confused. With the help of committee members, luggage was retrieved and the family taken to their apartment.

The four left their home in southern Iran fearful for their safety after the father took part in a demonstration in support of an individual who had been persecuted because of his religion. The family belongs to a faith community known as Alxaque. Through interpreter...

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Consultation on Euthenasia

Last updated on August 8, 2015

On July 17, 2015, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Peter MacKay, and Minister of Health, Rona Ambrose, announced the establishment of an External Panel of experts who will consult with stakeholders and with all Canadians on options for dealing with the Supreme Court of Canada's lifting of the prohibition against physician-assisted suicide.

The External Panel has created a website, in English and in French, by which it plans to coordinate its consultation efforts with Canadians. The website explains that two levels of consultation will occur: (1) Bilateral or multilateral discussions with interveners in the Carter v. Canada case and relevant medical authorities; (2) Online consultations open to all Canadians and other stakeholders. The online consultation will have an interactive questionnaire to be launched in the coming weeks.

The Most Reverend Paul-André Durocher, Archbishop of Gatineau and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic...

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Join The Archdiocesan Encyclical Walk

Last updated on August 5, 2015

What is happening to our common home? Join the Archdiocesan Encyclical Walk on August 29, 2015 from 12:30 - 3:00 pm!

Trevor Herriott, Bert Pitzel, Michael Murphy, Marian Grady, Stephanie Molloy, Katherine Arbuthnott , and Joshua Campbell, your encyclical and ecological guides will meet with Father Glenn Zimmer, at the Qu’Appelle House of Prayer  to begin the pilgrimage walk. 

We will be reflecting on the state of the earth... our common home, as we walk through the Qu’Appelle valley. 

The pilgrimage will last for two hours and have seven stops each with a short reflection on different themes of Pope Francis’ Letter on the Environment. Topics will also be suggested for those who wish to further the discusson along the way. An excellent preparation for this pilgrimage-walk will be to read Pope Francis’ Encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si (just google Holy See—official website to find it). You can also read the overview created by Bert Pitzel. See Blog http...

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Pope Francis’ Encyclical on the Environment

Last updated on August 5, 2015

My overview of Pope Francis’ Encyclical, Laudato S:

The earth, our common home, now “cries out because of the harm we have inflicted on her”.  These startling words are taken from Pope Francis’ Encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si; they tell us why the Pontiff felt compelled to call humankind to new levels of discussion and dialogue concerning the welfare of our earthly home.    

Unfortunately, according to the Pope, the ecological crisis we now face is generally met with “obstructionist attitudes of denial, indifference, nonchalant resignation and blind confidence in technical solutions.”

This evasiveness is not surprising, given the state of the mindset at work; “we see ourselves as the earth’s Lord and Master, entitled to plunder her at will.”

Perhaps such irrational behavior can make sense if we consider that “we have forgotten that our bodies are made up of her elements, that we breathe her air and receive life and refreshment from...

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Religious terror is not new and it’s intrinsic to religious practice and belief and you have to listen beyond the violent actions to understand what is going on. That is one of the themes in a presentation to the  North American Interfaith Network (NAIN) held here July 19-22 at Luther College a Federated College of the University of Regina. “You have to listen to the other,” said Dr. Volker Greifenhagen professor of Religious, Studies Luther College, “instead of only to your anger. Dive deep for root causes.” Professor David Goa, Augustana Campus University of Alberta, Camrose said something similar in his presentation; “You need to try and hear what is going on in the human heart underneath all of that.” 

Their presentation was titled Listening in the Face of Religious Terror. It was one of several workshops available to about 150 people who attended the four-day NAIN gathering. (See other NAIN stories) 

Greifenhagen gave a history lesson on violence in religion...

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North American Interfaith Network in Regina

Last updated on July 31, 2015

There were 150 of them, they represented most of the world’s major faiths and they were in Regina for the first time.  

The North American Interfaith Network (NAIN) call their gathering Connect, an apt name, as many new connections were made and old connections renewed.  

Nain was established in 1988 to be a bridge builder said its current chair Rob Hankinson of Edmonton; “To bring interfaith organizations in Canada, the United States and Mexico together on an annual basis to share best practices, common concerns and networking and fellowship.” That’s something other organizations claim as well, but Hankinson said in 1988 there was nothing. “We were one of a kind. There was nothing like it. We predate the parliament of the world’s religions by five years,” he said in an interview with the PM. 

Hankinson said NAIN has 17 identifiable groups member organizations. “This year for the very first time there are people here who would probably say ‘I don’t...

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Catholic Family Services Annual Meeting

Last updated on June 29, 2015

Catholic Family Services Society (CFSS) is considering a change in a bylaw which would accommodate non-Catholics on the Board of Directors. Executive Director David Sax, in an interview with the PM said the majority of people who contact the service are not Catholic. “You’re trying to be responsive to the community; you’re trying to be relevant to the community.”

Sax said it’s just at the stage of exploring the issue and he noted that Saskatoon Catholic Family Services bylaw states 51% of the board have to come from the Catholic community. The issue was discussed at the June 11 CFSS Annual General Meeting but left for further study. The Board also reviewed and passed an updated job description for the Executive Director anticipating an executive search following Sax’s announced retirement date in early 2017. 

The meeting elected a new slate of officers with Adrian Fuchs taking over as President from Wayne Ingljaldson who remains on the board as Past-President. Terrie ...

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Last updated on June 15, 2015

The words offered by Justice Murray Sinclair, chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, are purposefully hard hitting. What follows is a taste of what he wrote. Sit with his words for a while and you will feel their impact. 

 “In the period from Confederation until the decision to close residential schools was taken in this country in 1969, Canada clearly participated in a period of cultural genocide.”

“They (those attending residential schools) were stripped of their self-respect and they were stripped of their identity. Their stories — more than 6,750 of them in number — will now become part of a permanent historical archive never to be forgotten or ignored.”

 “The promise of reconciliation, which seemed so imminent back in 2008 when the prime minister, on behalf of all Canadians, apologized to survivors, has faded,” it says. “Without truth, justice and healing, there can be no genuine reconciliation.”

“to the commission, reconciliation is...

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 June 6 —Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ

May we care for the earth which provides everyone with food.  We pray to the Lord. 2.    Help us remember that most of what we eat has given its life for our nourishment. We pray to the Lord.


June 14 — 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

1.   As we raise food crops to sustain our bodies, may the wonders of the earth nourish our spirits.  We pray to the Lord.

2.   For the safety of farmers and all who work to provide food for others.  We pray to the Lord.


June 21 — 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

1.   Help those who work for the development of the world’s resources, that the human family may live in justice and security. We pray to the Lord.

2.   May Farmland Legacies be supported in its efforts to feed the hungry in our society.  We pray to the Lord.


June 28 — 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time...

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