SASKATOON — Renske Averyt is the newest member of the Lay Formation team in Saskatoon, taking on the part-time role of co-ordinator for the Aboriginal Catholic Lay Formation program.
The program is held at Queen’s House in Saskatoon, with the Aboriginal stream operating as a joint program of the dioceses of Saskatoon, Prince Albert and Keewatin Le-Pas, and offered alongside both a diocesan Latin-rite and a Ukrainian Catholic eparchial Byzantine-rite Lay Formation program.
There are 24 new participants beginning in the Lay Formation program this year, 12 of whom are journeying through the Aboriginal stream. Participants of the Aboriginal stream come from various communities in and around Saskatoon and many travel from northern Saskatchewan within the Keewatin Le-Pas diocese.
Averyt says she is excited to walk with participants as they journey through this two-year faith enrichment experience.
As Averyt explains, the chance to journey with the Aboriginal stream was an unexpected one. “I was reluctant at first. I kept coming up with excuse after excuse for why I shouldn’t say yes to this call.”
Nevertheless, Averyt took time to discern the invitation to serve within the Lay Formation program. “I prayed a lot and I spoke to my husband about it quite a bit until it struck me, ‘Who am I fighting?’ ‘What is God trying to tell me?’ ”
Affirmed through her prayer and encouraged by those around her, Averyt accepted the new opportunity to be of service. “All of the sudden I knew I had to say, ‘Yes, I will do this!’ I tried to put up different roadblocks, but God had different plans for me, and they’re exciting plans. That’s usually how it works!”
Averyt brings with her a rich and unique background. A graduate of the Lay Formation program herself (along with her husband), Averyt is well acquainted with the impact the Lay Formation process can have on individuals and families.
She is married to Rev. Michael Averyt, a former Anglican priest now serving as a Catholic priest with the Diocese of Prince Albert. In conjunction with her husband’s ministry, Averyt has had opportunities to work with and share in liturgical celebrations with various Aboriginal communities throughout Saskatchewan.
“I have always felt very comfortable working with Aboriginal people,” explains Averyt. Sensitive to the fact that she is not Aboriginal herself — and noting it as a concern in her discernment process in the acceptance of this new role — Averyt says, “I know that it will perhaps take some time for us to gel as a community, but I feel it happening already. I can already see how people are growing and changing. The trust between us is starting to build. They are an amazing group of individuals.”
Finally, as an associate with the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary in Prince Albert, Averyt is dedicated to her personal ongoing formation as a disciple of Christ and brings that commitment and passion to her new role with the Lay Formation program.
“I feel very blessed to be walking with the participants of the Aboriginal stream,” she notes. “They are a wonderful group of people. I am honoured that I will be able to journey with them over the next two years.”