Diocesan Boundary Changes in Saskatchewan

Monday, September 14 1998

Ottawa (CCCB) — His Holiness Pope John Paul II today decreed that the Diocese of Gravelbourg and the Territorial Abbacy of St. Peter-Muenster are to be suppressed and their territories integrated in the Archdiocese of Regina and the Latin-rite Diocese of Saskatoon.

The Diocese of  Gravelbourg, established as a French-language diocese in 1930, will be included in the Archdiocese of Regina except for a small area in the northwestern section, known as Fox Valley, which will become part of the Diocese of Saskatoon. The Territorial Abbacy of St. Peter-Muenster, erected as an Abbey Nullius in 1921, will be included in the Diocese of Saskatoon, while a small section  in the northwestern region of the Archdiocese of Regina will be transferred to the Diocese of Saskatoon.

Bishop Raymond Roussin, SM, will move from Gravelbourg to become the Bishop Coadjutor of the Diocese of Victoria, British Columbia. The Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter-Muenster will retain its status as a religious monastery under the present Abbot Peter Novecosky, OSB.

The re-organization of the Saskatchewan dioceses has taken place three years after the Apostolic Nuncio, His Excellency Carlo Curis, in an address to the annual plenary meeting of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in Edmonton, Alberta, asked them to re-examine where diocesan boundaries needed adjustment. The viability of the Diocese of Gravelbourg was brought into question due to changing demographics, including a decreasing population. At the same time, Abbot Peter Novecosky, OSB, indicated the monks of St. Peter’s Abbey can no longer viably serve the parishes of the Muenster Diocese.

The territorial realignment in Saskatchewan was proposed to Rome by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops on the recommendation of the five Saskatchewan bishops, and, by a unanimous vote of the Bishops of Western Canada under the chairmanship of the Most Rev. Blaise Morand of Prince Albert. In making the request, the bishops pledged that in order to assure pastoral services to the French-language communities of all dioceses in Saskatchewan, they would collaboratively strive to supply priests for these communities. They also want to set in place a French-language pastoral committee in order to help in the ongoing process of assuring pastoral, liturgical and educational services for these communities.