Suffering and Salvation in Ciudad Juarez

Book Review: Suffering + Salvation in Ciudad Juarez by Nancy Pineda-Madrid.

This book's starting point is stark and unusual for a library like ours. For the past 20 years or so there has a campaign of terror against poor women in the city of Ciudad Juarez in Mexico, just across the border from El Paso in Texas. The number of murdered and missing women runs into the thousands, bringing untold suffering to families, friends, and the whole society. How does a community cope with such individual and social suffering? And how can the often deeply Catholic families make sense of these events? How do they, and we, understand salvation in the light of this brutality?  

This work examines local devotional practices that form part of the response on behalf of those affected and it looks at it in the light of the theology of St Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109). Anselm's work, Cor Deus Homo (Why God became Man), has been especially influential in forming the Christian view of salvation. Anselm theorized that God became a human and died to pay back what was due to the honour of God offended by sin. In reading Anselm in the light of the events in Ciudad Juarez the author argues that there is a need to reassess what salvation means; to look again at theological ideas that have long shaped our current views.

As the author states of the situation in Ciudad Juarez, 'this experience encourages us to realize that only some form of communion, or community, can possibly save us. It is a particular form of community that furthers salvation in history. And the church at its best, that is the church actively discerning the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, mediates the birth of this new community.' 

This is a challenging and thoughtful read, academic in tone, but infused with the urgency. 

To borrow the book from the CPC Library, email

Related Offices Social Justice Library
Related Themes Social Justice Christian Life Suffering

Diocesan Home Mission's History

Our History

Following the example of previous Bishops, Bishop Paul O'Byrne reached out to the Native People of the Diocese of Calgary who, to show appreciation, made Bishop Paul an honorary Blackfoot Chief.

 "In the past, responsibility for the Native Communities had rested primarily with Oblate missionaries, the Grey Nuns and the Sisters of Providence".

"As the Sisters aged and their number decreased it became more difficult for the Grey Nuns and the Sisters of Providence to sustain their educational, medical and catechetical work among the Native peoples of the Diocese. -- By the mid seventies the Mission Council began to re-evaluate past practice in light of the Church's new theology of mission. Rather than send non Native priests and missionaries to minister on reserves the Mission Council advocated the training of Native Christian leaders. To achieve this, the Church needed to listen to the Native People and to help them restore confidence in themselves and their cultural identity. -- In the wake of the controversy surrounding residential schools, healing and reconciliation within Native communities and between Natives and the Church became a priority for the Diocesan Mission Council. The Mission Council supported the development of a Native Leadership Program and the work of the Father Latour Native Pastoral Centre among urban Natives."

(Information obtained from "Winds of Change pg. 50,51)

Although there are five Native Reserves in the Diocese of Calgary only four Churches serve Catholic parishioners and two of these remain ministered to by Oblate Priests.

The Kateri Council was formed to provide the four Native Churches the opportunity to have a voice, share ideas and concerns with one another. These discussions take place today and any pertinent information is then passed on to Bishop Henry.

Whom We Serve

For more information about each Native Church, see below:

Related Offices Mission Council
Related Themes Social Justice Charities Discipleship Natives Volunteers Evangelization

Top 10 Reasons to go on Retreat with DYRT

  1. Our Goal is to provide a hands-on experience of a lived faith:
    To expose young people to the height, depth and breadth of our God in a way young people relate to.
  2. During our retreats, young people will encounter God's love through prayer, sacraments, fellowship and above all FUN.
  3. Young people desire to develop a better understanding of themselves and their relationship with God.
  4. Our retreats offer a unique opportunity to expose young people to the richness of our Catholic faith by taking "religion" out of its familiar context.
  5. DYRT retreats provide an experience for educators and students away from the regular routine of school life. This gives a unique opportunity to learn from a new perspective.
  6. Our DYRT retreat experiences give the young people the opportunity to discover and encourage goodness in one another by working effectively as a member of a team.
  7. At retreat, the students build community and trust with one another by praying and playing together, and sharing their own thoughts, beliefs, questions, and struggles.
  8. Our retreats are designed to help students continue to integrate faith and spirituality with life. Young people will experience the presence of Christ in their lives by uncovering the fingerprint of God in their daily experiences.
  9. The faith of the team members is a witness to the young people that faith in God can be a desirable, acceptable and exciting part of their daily lives.
  10. With a combination of activities, talks, games, prayer, and fellowship, the retreat will be a day that our young people will cherish and not easily forget.
  11. Every student will experience the presence of Christ in a different way when they are at our DYRT retreat.
Related Offices Youth & Young Adult Related Programs Diocesan Youth Retreat Team
Related Themes Youth and Young Adults Christian Formation Catholic Schools Youth Ministry Retreat Sacramental Preparation

The Soul Needs Space to Grow

In her book Compassion – Living in the Spirit of St. Francis the author Ilia Delio, O.S.F. (who will be speaking in Calgary April 24 – 25) writes about the need for space. She says that the "soul needs space to grow." For some, space is a very scarce commodity. How often do we hear "I am so busy, I have no space, or time, for me." For others, the problem is that they have too much space and feel lost and helpless. Sometimes people have a fear of space - whether physical or in time - so they fill the space with stuff, or with a lot of activities. People who are contemplating retirement, or have already retired, often find that too much space is one of their major concerns and ask, "what will I do with all this space and time?"

We tend to forget that we need space to grow as persons, to grow in our relationships with others and above all, space to grow in our relationship with God. So the question now is how to find this space in our overcrowded schedule.

Author Gerald May suggests that the answer to the question is "through contemplative living." Rather than running from one task to the next and from one appointment to the next, contemplation can give us time to be present during the time between commitments. This time can allow us to live more intentionally and thoughtfully. He offers three aspects of spaciousness:

Spaciousness of Form
Physical, geographical places like the open spaces of water, sky, and fields; or even an uncluttered room or closet can invite us to look at what we can let go of to create more physical space.

Spaciousness of Time
Pauses in our day when we can stop, reflect, pray and connect with God are invitations to recognize at how we fill our time with non-essential busy-ness in order to avoid using this space.

Spaciousness of Soul
This is the inner emptiness expressed in the Latin phrase "vacare Deo" which means to be "free for God." We are invited to eliminate inner expectations and voices. This emptying allows us to focus on what is present here, and now, and to hear the voice of God and be inspired with His wisdom.

During this lenten time of renewal, consider how you can de-clutter your life and regain the space you desire and need – a space for your soul to grow, a space to deepen your experience of God.

by Norline Johnson, Catechetical Consultant | Religious Education Secretariat

Related Offices Religious Education
Related Themes Prayer Life Seniors

Letter from Bishop Henry regarding 2015 Western Canadian Catholic Stewardship Conference in Calgary

My dear brothers and sisters,

The Roman Calgary Diocese of Calgary will be hosting the biennial Western Canadian Catholic Stewardship Conference from June 12-14, 2015 in Calgary, with Cardinal Thomas Collins and Bishop Robert Morneau as keynote speakers.

Stewardship has the potential to ignite the clergy and laity in our Dioceses and parishes to greater service within the parish and community by discovering the spirituality of stewardship. This spirituality causes one to grow closer to Christ, and to deepen our "attitude of gratitude". This can transform us from giving to needs to needing to give in our families, parishes and communities. This transformation has an evangelizing effect by radiating to others the joy of stewardship .

Men and women, clergy and laity, young and old, the curious Christian and the well-formed steward will find many topics and speakers of interest at the conference. I encourage all parishioners and parishes in the Diocese of Calgary to support the conference.

Download 2015 Western Canadian Catholic Stewardship Conference Brochure


Bishop F. Henry


For more information about the conference, please visit: 

Related Offices Stewardship Bishop's
Related Themes Stewardship Discipleship Courses and Workshops Christian Life
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