Many mission parishes are unable to maintain the upkeep of their church. A majority of churches are old buildings still heated by oil or coal furnaces. For much of the year, they are beset by inclement weather and frigid temperatures; many in dire need of replacement, repair and maintenance.
In some parishes, there is no church. Catholics must celebrate Mass and other public liturgies in homes or other buildings—and find the means to travel hundreds of kilometres for weddings or funerals.
Costly utility bills, leaky basements, mould infestations, snow plowing to clear massive amounts of snow are just some examples of how your dollars are funding building and repairs through CMIC.
Read on about the needs in Standing Buffalo, Saskatchewan.
Mission Update: Fire Guts Church in Standing Buffalo
By Sister Bernadette Feist
No Masses after loss of church: Ministry to First Nations ‘still mission country’
Ursuline Sister Bernadette Feist, in an update, says there has been no celebration of the Eucharist at Lakeview Lodge, the home for many elders in Standing Buffalo, Saskatchewan, since the burning of Our Lady of Light Church in Standing Buffalo last September.
The community has been without a church where people could gather monthly for Mass, lay-presided liturgies, or faith instructions. There are no water or plumbing facilities there. In addition to driving 1-1/2 hours to get to the mission, the missionary would need to look after some basic needs.
Sask Power expenses are paid by Catholic Missions In Canada, through the Archdiocese of Regina. Collections from the First Nations communities pay for half of the hydro bill. Our Lady of Light Church in Standing Buffalo did not carry insurance. In all likelihood, says Sister Feist, the church will not be rebuilt. “We gather now at the Care Home at Lakeview Lodge, and the Valley Native Ministry Centre in Lebret-where gatherings for Sacrament preparation and Eucharist are held every month, or as arranged. ”
She continues: “In all instances of going out to the people where a celebration is being held, missionaries have to take with them what they need to answer the requests of the people or celebrate with them.
“Some First Nations are served every month, for Eucharistic gatherings; some have Eucharist available to them, twice a month; some are closer to weekly gatherings in parish churches. And some hear only this: ‘You are welcome to come to our church.’
“Priests assigned to First Nations communities are very busy with their organized parishes. It is easy to get a substitute priest in for these parishes, and easy to cancel First Nations gatherings, when the assigned priest is not available. It may not be long when we would be back to lay-presided liturgies.
“First Nations ministry in Regina archdiocese in Saskatchewan is very much mission country. “
Our Children’s Parish of Hope: Building a Church One Step at a Time
by Sister Carmen Catellier, S.N.J.M.
My Advent generally starts by writing this annual letter and addressing cards which do take a fair amount of time to get finished.
Sometimes I volunteer to sit at a table at the local North Mart to sell raffle tickets. The proceeds are going to the new church building fund for Holy Cross mission which is called “Our Children’s Parish of Hope.” This fundraising is taking more time in years than many had anticipated. Various activities and donations are needed to build up a huge pile of money to get this project up and off the ground, literally.
Many rummage sales have been held over the course of the years which garner a couple of hundred dollars each time. Last year, a small fishing derby was held. Pledging hours are held on the local TV or radio station.
All of this requires a lot of commitment, time and organization. My wish is that more people would help and have the same enthusiasm which, by the way, has not waned even after strenuous efforts and a few difficulties.
Many ask, “When are you building the church?” The answer always is: “When we have enough money!”
The need for a building is especially felt when we have to set up at the school gym all that is needed for the Christmas Mass and the Easter Triduum. Just consider setting up the sound system!
And the helping hands are getting weary of doing this year after year. Our small church gets so packed at baptisms, First Communions, weddings and funerals that some people do not even attempt to attend. Next year, I hope and pray our situation will improve.
Sister Carmen Catellier, of the Sisters of the Child Jesus and Mary, is pastoral administrator at Holy Cross mission in Cross Lake, Manitoba, in the Archdiocese of Keewatin-Le Pas.