Archive for November, 2014

Sr. Norma Samar offers a ministry of presence

Friday, November 28th, 2014

by Linda Mikolayenko

After being without a pastor for over a year, the northern Saskatchewan parishes of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Southend and St. John Vianney in La Ronge are pleased to welcome Sr. Norma Samar, OLM, as Pastoral Minister. 

“Our many prayers for our parish have been answered, and her name is Sister Norma,” said Denise Elliot, a parish council member at St. John Vianney, as she announced Sr. Norma’s formal installation which took place on the weekend of October 25 & 26, 2014 – Saturday evening in Southend, and on Sunday in La Ronge.

Until last fall, Fr. Mark Blom, OMI, had served the two parishes which are located 215 kilometres apart.  For six years, before he left to take on new duties as Vocation Director for the Oblate Lacombe Province, he typically spent three weeks a month in Southend, and one week in La Ronge.  Sr. Norma plans to divide her time equally between the two parishes.

In his letter of appointment, Most Reverend Murray Chatlain, Archbishop of Keewatin-Le Pas, noted that she will work with Pastoral Councils and Lay Leaders, but is not to take over what others are already doing. 

“We trust that Sr. Norma will use her knowledge, experience, faith and relational skills to draw out the best of the good people she will be serving,” he said.

“I really love to be with the people,” says Sr. Norma, a member of Our Lady’s Missionaries. 

Originally from The Philippines, she has served in her home country and in Brazil, as well as the Central House in Toronto.  She came from Toronto to the Archdiocese of Keewatin-Le Pas last fall to take on the role of Religious Education Coordinator.  While based in the chancery office in The Pas, Manitoba, she also ministered in nearby Cormorant and travelled to other mission parishes.

“I learned to drive in the snow and the gravel roads,” she says, acknowledging there were times she needed help after getting stuck in a snow bank.  Still, she prefers to be out among the people in the communities, rather than in an office.

She arrived in Southend in mid-September.  Charmaine Morin, a parish council member at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, says, “When I told the people we would have a Sister to stay with us, they were really happy.”  Morin is looking forward to Sr. Norma interacting with the youth, and helping with the teaching of programs like baptismal preparation.

In La Ronge, Elliot says that she has already contributed to the marriage preparation course and has been warmly received by leaders of the other local churches.

Though the needs of the two parishes are different, Sr. Norma has only one expectation for herself.  “I need to just be who I am — from there, go with the people,” she says.  “I will not be a priest, but I will be a presence.  The ministry of presence is important.”


Sr. Norma Samar olm








Sr. Norma Samar, olm

Sr. Norma Samar, OLM

All Souls Day

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

Each year during the month of November, the time of All Saints and All Souls, OLM’s celebrate a liturgy in remembrance of any family, relatives and friends that have died during the year.  During 2014 the ones remembered are many.  They include…  


Father Ron MacDonell’s homily, the liturgy and the participation was a tribute to the many treasured memories and love left to each of us by our loved ones.  

Many stories of friendship and faithfulness of their human journey continued over lunch.

Sister Myra Trainor, olm