Other Christian denominations join in celebrations
By Kiply Lukan Yaworski
On the eve of the Mass of Blessing, some 400 gathered for an ecumenical prayer service May 12 at the new Cathedral of the Holy Family. Participants included, from the left, Rev. Amanda Currie of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Bishop Donald Bolen of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, Pastor Harry Strauss of Forest Grove Community Church and Rev. Claire Ewert Fisher of the Mennonite Central Committee of Saskatchewan. Kiply Lukan Yaworski / CCN.
A Gala Opening Week of events May 6 to 13 was held in the days leading up to the official Mass of Blessing to dedicate the new Cathedral of the Holy Family in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon.
The week of celebration began with an opening Mass May 6 at St. Paul Co-Cathedral, acknowledging the historic contribution of that faith community as Saskatoon's first Catholic parish and as the diocesan cathedral from the time the diocese was formed in 1933-34 until this year.
Bishop Donald Bolen presided at the celebration of the eucharist, wearing vestments donated by St. Paul Co-Cathedral to the new Cathedral of the Holy Family as a gift to mark the transition.
The celebration at St. Paul included a ceremony sending forth the Sacred Chrism that would be used for the dedication of the new cathedral building and its altar on May 13. The original plan was to walk with the sacred oil on an ark from St. Paul on Spadina Crescent to the Cathedral of the Holy Family on Nelson Road in northeast Saskatoon, but heavy rain prompted the cancellation of the procession.
Instead, a Knights of Columbus and Catholic Women's League honour guard accompanied the oil to a waiting vehicle, by which it was transported to the new cathedral. The Ark of the Sacred Chrism and a delegation from the St. Paul celebration were welcomed by cathedral rector Father David Tumback in a short ceremony.
Immediately following the Sunday eucharist May 6, a Family Carnival was held at the new cathedral, with several "bouncy castles" inflated in the church hall, a small-animal petting zoo (including a popular snake), games, activities and snacks.
Opening week activities continued May 7 with an evening of reflection and prayer to music, in a Whispers of God and Taize prayer event at the Cathedral of the Holy Family. A Cathedral on Tap event May 8 focused on the theme "Build my church" -- reminiscent of God's words to St. Francis of Assisi, which refer to building up more than a physical building.
Saskatoon "Theology on Tap" organizers -- including Michael MacLean and Madeline Oliver of the St. Thomas More Ministry Team; Laurie Friesen, youth co-ordinator for the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saskatoon; and Colm Leyne of the diocesan Youth Ministry office -- co-ordinated the event, along with Marci Deutscher of the diocesan Foundations Theology Uncorked program. The evening featured presentations and discussion questions, served up with coffee or drinks.
Speakers included GSCS teacher Leah Kouwenhoven; Rev. Andre Lalache, a Ukrainian Catholic priest who serves on the STM College ministry team; Harvey and Kathy Chatlain, the parents of Bishop Murray Chatlain; Colm Leyne, with his wife Sharon participating via a video message; and Rev. David Tumback, cathedral rector. The discussion focused on ways to become a welcoming, inclusive community, building connections with youth, with families, and those at every stage of life, including those who are aging, the marginalized and the suffering.
A Taste of the Diocese and choir festival May 9 was one of the most popular events of the week, with some 1,000 attending, to sample food from different ethnic traditions, prepared by volunteers in parishes across the diocese. Music was also part of the evening, with several choirs participating.
Award-winning glass artist Sarah Hall was at the cathedral May 10 to provide an afternoon tour and presentation about her techniques to a group of artists and media. A documentary about her solar art glass designs was also shown during the event.
Father David and Friends May 10 was an evening of song by several local musicians, that featured special guest Bob Hurd, a liturgical composer, who wrote and dedicated a song entitled A Listening Heart for the dedication of the new cathedral.
The annual Bishop's Dinner was held as part of the Gala Opening Week May 11.
Catholic Christian Outreach held its monthly Summit evening at the new cathedral May 11, as part of opening week. The Summit featured eucharistic adoration, praise and worship music, Scripture and a reflection by Rev. Marc Mireau. Priests were also available to celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation.
Finally, on the eve of the Mass of Blessing, some 400 gathered for an ecumenical prayer service May 12 at the cathedral.
Clothed with Christ: An Ecumenical Celebration of Christian Discipleship was led by Bishop Donald Bolen of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, Rev. Amanda Currie of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Rev. Claire Ewert Fisher of the Mennonite Central Committee of Saskatchewan and Pastor Harry Strauss of Forest Grove Community Church.
Scripture was proclaimed by Bishop Cynthia Halmarson of Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, Saskatchewan Synod; and by Rev. Ron McConnell of the United Church of Canada, Riverbend Presbytery.
Music ministry was provided by the Worship Team from Forest Grove Community Church, led by Pastor Jay Dyrland and Pastor Dale Dirksen, and by the 6:30 p.m. Cathedral of the Holy Family choir led by Jackie Ackerman, Ken Neitz and Curtis Korchinski.
Rev. Amanda Currie preached the reflection for the evening, noting the importance of gathering with fellow Christians "because we can" and reflecting on the profound meaning of covenant, in which God's faithful love is poured out regardless of our response. "Love that heals, love that serves, love that forgives, love that never gives up" is the characteristic of covenant, she said, recalling key moments in her own life when she experienced this reality.
The celebration continued with prayers of commitment based on a Methodist Covenant service, and a ritual action in remembrance of baptism, where those assembled came forward and touched water from the baptismal font, held in basins by the four presiders from different Christian traditions.
Two books were produced in conjunction with the opening: A Beacon of Welcome, written by Ned Powers and designed by Shawna Kunz to highlight the building; and Transfiguring Prairie Skies, written by Bolen and Sarah Hall, featuring theological reflections and background information about the stained glass art work at the new cathedral.