SASKATOON — The Catholic Health Association of Saskatchewan (CHAS) has moved to a new location on Taylor St. in Saskatoon, poised to refocus on supporting and enhancing Catholic health care in the province.
CHAS is now sharing office space with Emmanuel Care, the Catholic health organization that owns and sponsors 13 of the 15 health care facilities that are members of CHAS.
Other CHAS members include health care organizations, Knights of Columbus and Catholic Women’s League councils, parishes, professional and business groups, and individuals who support the ministry of health care.
Executive director Sandra Kary said the move to the Taylor St. location was both fiscally responsible and a boon for closer collaboration with Emmanuel Care.
“We have always had a close relationship, which will be strengthened by the even closer proximity we will now share,” said Kary. “We work together on issues that are helpful both for Catholic health care facilities, as well as for parishes and the public.”
There are greater financial challenges since provincial funding to community organizations like CHAS was cut a year ago, Kary noted. The cuts have meant some difficult decisions, including a reduction in staff; mission education co-ordinator Sandy Normand will be leaving in November. The Witness to Mission program will continue to be offered to Catholic health care facilities, though, and Kary expressed her appreciation of Normand’s work on that program.
In the midst of change and restructuring, CHAS has been refocusing on its strategic priorities, which include providing education and resources, and connecting to the community, said Kary.
“We want to continue to build even more meaningful links to our diocesan and parish partners, engaging them in health care and the healing ministry of Jesus.”
CHAS is committed to advocacy and communication, particularly when it comes to issue-based projects, such as the production of Finding the Gifts videos in response to the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia (see www.findingthegifts.ca).
“We find that we are in a place where we need to continue telling the Catholic health care story,” says Kary. “We can’t assume that people understand what that story is.”
This means getting back to the basics and simplifying some of the messaging to get to the heart of what Catholic health care is, and why it is needed.
On Nov. 20, CHAS is holding a “get to know you” event at Holy Spirit Church in Saskatoon, welcoming anyone interested to come and hear about what CHAS is doing, and find out more about Catholic health care.
“This is a chance to hear a little bit about what is going on in Catholic health care at the national and provincial level, what some of the key issues are, what resources we can offer, and how they can get involved,” Kary said.
“Every year that the sisters aren’t in the facilities is one more year in which the story of Catholic health care becomes a bit more distant. We want to build and strengthen that understanding and connection to tell the story of what Catholic health care is about, and what we bring to the table.”
For more information, see http://chassk.ca or call 306-955-2427.