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Welcoming a new bishop

On the ministry of Bishop Mark Hagemoen

By Gerri Fletcher
Religious Education Co-ordinator, Diocese of Mackenzie-Fort Smith

11/22/2017

Bishop Mark Hagemoen is the eldest son of Eric and the late Myra Hagemoen. Bishop Mark spent his youth and school years as well as the majority of his years of ministry in the urban environment of Vancouver. He has worked in youth ministry, in the chancery office and prior to coming to the Diocese of Mackenzie, served as principal at St. Mark/Corpus Christi College.

One can only imagine his thoughts and feelings when called to minister in the Diocese of Mackenzie-Fort Smith. This diocese is vast, sparsely populated and a far cry from any urban setting. The weather can be harsh and the landscape is stark, but the territory and the people who live here have a beauty all their own. But, as Bishop Mark is wont to do, he rolled up his sleeves and dove into the work, culture and way of being that is the North.

Bishop Mark's “can do” attitude, and his willingness to be involved in everything - from painting buildings, snow shovelling or preaching - as well as his eye for detail in building plans and projects, has made his time here a time of rapid change, multiple construction projects, and the solidification of diocesan processes. There is no task too small or project too big that he is not willing to become a part of, as he continues to build the kingdom of God here on earth.

From left, Gizelle Gaudron, Liz Baile, Bishop Mark and Gerri Fletcher formed the Advancement Committee.

Over time, staff members who work closely with him have seen this “city guy” become aware and sensitive to the needs of the Aboriginal people in the rural and remote communities he was called to serve. He has modified his language and presentations and learned a great deal about healing the wounds of colonization and residential schools.

Bishop Mark will say that a significant learning from his time here is that all of life is a healing journey and that it's not just the participation in one program or event that means we are healed. The healing journey takes a lifetime and we journey together in our desire to be whole. During his visits to our 32 missions, and as a pastor, he made himself available to hear confessions, visit the sick, listen to the people and celebrate the liturgy. On the side, he really enjoyed the caribou and moose meat. Bishop Mark's welcoming smile and his ability to “be” with the people has become his hallmark.

Bishop Mark's energy has at times left us all amazed. After 10 hours in the office and numerous calls before and after hours, he can be seen running on the highway or snowshoeing across the lake at his residence at Trappers Lake.

He says that when he runs, he prays for the church, the diocese and for men and women to come to serve in the diocese. He prays that those who come to serve will love God, the church and the people they will serve. We guarantee he has said lots of prayers while he was here.

Long after his departure, we will remember and be thankful for Bishop Mark's enthusiasm for building the church spiritually and physically, his love of God and his desire to “shake and bake” as he often said. As staff in the diocesan office and as members of the Diocese of Mackenzie-Fort Smith, we pray for him in his new ministry in Saskatoon and we assure him of our continued prayerful support.

We ask the Lord to continue to guide and strengthen Bishop Mark in his walk on the healing path of life. We wish you well, Bishop Mark, and we will do our best to follow your example and truly serve the People of God.

Welcoming a new bishop