June 15, 2018


A central meeting room within the parish offices of Saint Boniface Cathedral was the site of an extraordinary encounter of clergy, women religious, executives of Manitoba's Catholic healthcare facilities, parish representatives and hierarchy on the question of the Church's healing ministry in 21st Century Manitoba. It was not a long seminar/discussion, but everyone was continuously engaged in the perfect non-stop agenda of presentations, reflections, sharing and... there was even sufficient time for a bit of fellowship over refreshments.

The afternoon program was organized by the Catholic Health Association of Manitoba (CHAM). One of the primary goals was to discuss how the wonderful efforts of CHAM could more effectively engage the whole of the Church in the province - especially the members of many parishes throughout Manitoba. The first presentations offered concise yet essential information about Catholic Health as A Ministry of the Church (Archbishop Richard Gagnon); The Healing Ministry in Communities of Service (Daniel Lussier, CEO, CHCM); A Community Perspective in which a member of a community of women religious told her story 35+ years experiences in the field of Catholic health care (Sr. Jo-Ann Duggan, SGM). Then an outline of the history and work of the Catholic Health Association of Manitoba was offered by Deacon Stepan Bilynskyy.

The participants were then invited to spend time reflecting on what Catholic Health Care means to them. Then they were asked to share their observations and ideas in small groups. Their insights were recorded, a synopsis was shared with the whole group and the notes were submitted to the conference facilitators for further study and analysis. This process was repeated later in the afternoon - albeit with different small group configurations for the sake of variety. The principal discussion theme the second time was dealing with, "What are Current Challenges or Issues You are facing in Catholic Health Care?". This was to explore challenges on the parish level, within the larger community and as a service provider for those directly involved in health care.

A very moving video, produced by the Catholic Health Alliance of Canada ( was shown. It brilliantly encapsulates the goals and spirit of Catholic Health Care....

An underlying theme of the afternoon was finally expressed as the last topic for group discussions - "How could CHAM assist you in the role you or your organization play in Catholic Health Care as a Healing Ministry of the Church?". Again the comments shared were collected by the facilitators. All the information gathered at the meeting will be presented to the CHAM board which will develop an "action plan" that will be implemented over the next 18-24 months.

Aside from the Metropolitan-Archbishop Lawrence Huculak, other representatives of the clergy and the laity of the Archeparchy of Winnipeg were in attendance. The afternoon began and ended in prayer. Here is an excerpt from the closing prayer...

"Not one of us can further Your plans on our own. But together, we can complement each other's strengths and cancel out our weaknesses. As a team, a unified body inspired by the Gospel and the healing ministry of Jesus Christ, we can do great things in Your honour as we are purposed to do!"

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