Bishop Mark Hagemoen of Mackenzie-Fort Smith was on Tuesday named as Bishop of Saskatoon, which covers a large portion of south-central Saskatchewan, one of Canada's prairie provinces.
“Of course, I respond with obedience and enthusiasm to this new appointment, and I look forward to serving the People of God of the Diocese of Saskatoon as their new bishop. They have waited a year for this appointment, and I will strive to serve them to the best of my ability, with great help from Almighty God,” Bishop Hagemoen wrote in a Sept. 12 letter to the people of the Mackenzie-Fort Smith diocese. He added that he regrets having to leave the Diocese of Mackenzie-Fort Smith, and that “the news comes at a time when we are in the midst of many developments and projects,” which will continue.
Bishop Hagemoen was born in Vancouver in 1961, and obtained a bachelor's degree from the University of British Columbia in 1983. After completing his undergraduate, he travelled for a year throughout southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, before entering seminary. He attended seminary at St. Peter's in London, Ontario, and was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Vancouver in 1990. He served for 10 years as director of youth ministry, and as a parish pastor, vicar general, episcopal vicar, and head of two Catholic schools. In 2007 he was named a monsignor. He also studied youth ministry in the US, and earned a doctorate from Trinity Western University in 2007.
In 2013 he was appointed Bishop of Mackenzie-Fort Smith, and was consecrated a bishop. The Mackenzie-Fort Smith diocese is centered in the Northwest Territories, and also includes parts of Nunavut and Saskatchewan. His ministry has focused on Canada's indigenous peoples, the new evangelization, youth ministry, and Catholic schools.
Bishop Hagemoen told the Saskatoon diocese's publication that most Catholics in the Mackenzie-Fort Smith diocese are indigenous, and that “In my whole way of approaching pastoral ministry, I have been shaped by walking with our Aboriginal people here. In terms of how I pastor, and how I approach things, that has been a real gift.” He said that “The diocese of Saskatoon seems to be a very dynamic diocese, with a rich history, a strong Catholic legacy and culture, and I am looking forward to contributing to that legacy with all my might and energy, as well as I can, with the help of almighty God.”
Bishop Hagemoen was among the six bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories who issued guidelines in September 2016 directing “authentic and effective pastoral accompaniment” of the divorced-and-remarried. A response to Pope Francis' summons in Amoris laetitia for guidelines about pastoral accompaniment, the document clarified that the belief “that there has been a change in practice by the Church, such that now the reception of Holy Communion at Mass by persons who are divorced and civilly remarried is possible if they simply have a conversation with a priest” is “erroneous”.
Saskatoon's last bishop, Donald Bolen, was transferred to the Archdiocese of Regina in July 2016.