Articles by Alan Hustak
By Alan Hustak
June 18, 2021
Alan Hustak reports on the removal of a statue honouring the 19th-century priest who suffered a nervous breakdown battling Ottawa over its abusive residential school system.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Regina has agreed to relocate the statue of the 19th century Oblate missionary Father Joseph Hugonard following complaints from the Chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indians that it is a “distasteful” emblem of the residential school era When the Dominion government opened its own residential school in Lebret in 1884, Fr
November 16, 2020
Alan Hustak reports on the death and contrarian life of Montreal’s Father John Walsh, who began serving the Church as an altar boy while also a member of a street gang.
"People grow in holiness if the Church is there to give them a helping hand, instead of rejecting and condemning them because they aren't perfect," Father Walsh said For years, Father Walsh had a devoted audience for his radio show on English-language CJAD, and also managed to become the first Catho...
May 22, 2020
This month marks the centennial of Athol Murray College of Notre Dame in Wilcox, Saskatchewan. Alan Hustak reports on the school's legacy.
Celebrations planned this month to mark the centennial of Athol Murray College of Notre Dame at Wilcox, Saskatchewan, had to be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the campaign to raise $20 million Centre for Teaching and Learning on the prairie campus remains the focal point of the h...
February 26, 2020
Canadians are currently awash in media depictions of First Nations protests and anger. Alan Hustak reports on a counter-balancing photo exhibition in Saskatchewan that reflects forgotten realities of everyday Indigenous life.
Seesequasis was asked whether the visual vignettes he chose were designed to promote a romantic image of the “red man” as Indigenous people were still called at the time Five years ago, Paul Seesequasis started collecting photographs depicting day-to-day life in First Nations, Métis and Inuit commun...
December 27, 2019
Alan Hustak finds the new Netflix movie on the papacies of Francis and Benedict XVI tries too hard to exploit their differences via disingenuous disregard for their unity.
Smoke rising from a snuffed candle, a symbol that a religious sacrifice has been acceptable to God, foreshadows a not too subtle theme in The Two Popes, the two-hour absorbing Netflix movie that imagines the relationship between Pope Benedict XVI and Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Jesuit who replaced hi...
May 22, 2019
Derek Harrison has spent much of his life devoted to various leadership roles and at the age of 95, he’s still going strong, playing the organ for more than 60 years in his church in small town Saskatchewan.
Yet shortly after Harrison became the organist, the priest of the day, described as someone who saw himself as both England’s and God’s representative, decided to have a pipe organ installed Now, for the first time in 135 years, St John’s will be without its own parish priest His feet on the pedals,...
May 17, 2019
An Islamic school stands on the same grounds where a rich history of religious education once took place in a small town in Saskatchewan. Alan Hustak explores the origins and stories of those who have passed through the walls of the old school.
Undeterred, a headstrong Oblate priest, Joseph Redinger, who had worked unsuccessfully with the Ursulines to establish a convent in Grayson, persuaded the their German superiors to allow three nuns, Mother Clementia Graffelderm, Mother Luitgardis Kratochwill and Sister Thekla Bonus, to follow him t...
November 6, 2018
So often, lives are lost as they journey the roads across our country. Alan Hustak reflects on the shrines that sit as visible reminders of lives.
Sometimes, when someone is killed in an automobile accident, a simple white Cross is planted in the ditch by the side of the road to mark the spot where they died ...
October 30, 2018
A unique children’s playground project becomes the occasion for Ahmadiyya Muslims and Standing Buffalo Sioux to develop bonds, Alan Hustak reports from Saskatchewan.
It is unusual to hear prayers on an Indian Reserve offered in Arabic, but then the dedication of children's playground built by a Muslim community on Saskatchewan's Standing Buffalo First Nation earlier this month was an unusual occasion "One of the fundamental tenets of our faith is to develop rela...
October 23, 2018
A retired Saskatchewan RCMP officer is dedicated to creating a grotto of peace in a seminary garden long-ago left behind by missionary Oblate priests.
The retired RCMP officer has bought what used to be the formal gardens of the old Oblate Seminary on Mission Lake in Saskatchewan's Qu'Appelle Valley, and plans to restore the grounds as a non-denominational grotto of peace ...
October 23, 2018
Convivium contributor Alan Hustak catches up with an Anglican Bishop in Saskatchewan who recently completed a cross-Canada cycling pilgrimage for unity and reconciliation.
What is unusual is that Hardwick has not only pedaled to every church in his sprawling southern Saskatchewan diocese in 2016 and 2017 but this year spent four months on his specialised AWOL (Adventure WithOut Limits bicycle) riding 7200 km across Canada on a pilgrimage for church unity, reconciliati...
April 17, 2018
In the nightmare and mystery of the crash that claimed 16 lives from tiny Humboldt, Saskatchewan writer Alan Hustak confronts the paradox of an apparently indifferent god’s April cruelty, and eternal faith in spring’s renewal.
Just outside of Swift Current, on the Trans-Canada Highway, you will find a black granite memorial to four hockey players killed in a bus accident in 1986 Now, more crosses will be planted at the same intersection to mark the spot where the collision between a semi-trailer and a bus carrying the Hum...
August 15, 2017
Last week, Premier of Saskatchewan Brad Wall announced his imminent retirement from politics after 10 years. Today, Convivium contributor Alan Hustak helps readers understand what this announcement could mean for Saskatchewan and Canada.
Brad Wall spent almost 10 years as Premier of Saskatchewan by following the Johnny Cash formula for political success: he walked the line Wall was able to smooth the rough edges of the party, a coalition of right-wing conservatives and liberals that he helped to build 20 years ago ...
June 14, 2017
Convivium contributor Alan Hustak reports from Montreal on the construction plans slated for the mass grave of 6,000 Irish who died in the mid-19th century of famine.
A battle is brewing in Montreal that mixes faith, history and politics, and could pit the city Irish community against Hydro Quebec, Mayor Denis Coderre and even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Each year, on the last Sunday of May, hundreds of Montrealers place thousands of small white wooden crosses ...
May 26, 2017
Irénée Beaubien was a Jesuit who started the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism and pioneered the ecumenical movement in Canada long before the Roman Catholic Church promoted the idea of interfaith dialogue.
Irénée Beaubien was a Jesuit who started the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism and pioneered the ecumenical movement in Canada long before the Roman Catholic Church promoted the idea of interfaith dialogue In recent years, Father Beaubien lent his support to the idea of holding intimate ”communion” meal...
June 1, 2016
Alan Hustak recounts the life of a Canadian political figure whose death in a house fire 50 years ago was a sacrifice for his faith
Fifty years ago, Quebec’s Lieutenant Governor, Paul Comtois, died a martyr to the faith trying to save the Blessed Sacrament from the chapel in Bois-de-Coulonges – the century-old vice-regal residence that was destroyed in a fire in the winter of 1966 (“Sea to Sea,” February-March 2016) Comtois was ...
April 25, 2016
As Canada began coming together in a confederation 150 years ago, considerations of faith were at the forefront of the debate. Convivium contributor Alan Hustak writes that only one bishop in Quebec openly supported the original union. Even those not adamantly opposed, such as Catholic Archbishop Pierre-Flavien Turgeon, tepidly termed it a mere lesser of two evils.
January 28, 2016
Looking closely at a Montreal church reveals a beautiful fusion of art and spirit.
Thanks to LeBlond’s efforts, the Gesù has become a sanctuary for what Université de Montréal theology professor Solange Lefebvre calls a community of “fragile Catholics”—a place of worship for those who have distanced themselves from the Church in Quebec but who accept its spiritual teachings Daniel...
December 1, 2015
Franciscan priests and friars, Alan Hustak writes, became part of the Canadian landscape when their now-800-year-old order arrived here from Europe in 1615. Despite drastically reduced numbers, they bring the hope of the Gospel to their work in the world.
There are three orders of Franciscans – the Friars Minor (Franciscans), the Poor Ladies or Clares, and the Brothers and Sisters of Penance – generally referred to as the First, Second and Third Orders of Saint Francis The first of the friars to arrive in French North America 400 years ago with Champ...
August 1, 2015
Canada’s new Chaplain General helps soldiers get ready to die.
Chapdelaine recently attended the fourth European conference of military bishops in Paris, where he presented a short speech on "The Experience of a Canadian Military Chaplain in the Face of Death Reverend Chapdelaine's first priority as Chaplain General, he says, will be to recruit religious leader...
December 1, 2014
150 years of Christian faith in southern Saskatchewan-Qu'Appelle Valley
In 1886, Father Louis Lebret, a French Oblate from Britanny, came to assist Hugonnard and opened the first post office in the rectory Father Hugonnard had the first Cross erected on a hill above the thriving mission in 1871 So, when Taché celebrated Mass at the new town of Fort Qu'Appelle on August ...
October 1, 2014
Alan Hustak's biography of Frederick George Scott takes Convivium readers into the private sanctuary of John Henry Cardinal Newman for a private and personal meeting
In early April 1883, while Fred Scott, a highly self-contained 22-year-old Montrealer, was in England studying to become an Anglican priest, he called upon John Henry Cardinal Newman, the Roman Catholic convert who was far and away one of the greatest religious philosophers of the 19th century Upon ...
August 1, 2014
As the Conservative leadership race approaches its climax, we bring you Convivium contributor Alan Hustak's 2014 interview with Andrew Scheer. Examining the role of faith in public and personal life, the former Speaker of the House of Commons shares his perspective on parliament and his own robust Roman Catholic faith.
The Cross, made of olive wood from Jerusalem, was a gift to Andrew Scheer from his father when he was elected Speaker of the House of Commons "I absolutely think that each member of Parliament has a different kind of faith — a different level of faith — and it is up to each member to determine how m...
November 1, 2012
I was willing to wrestle an angel to keep my grandfather’s gift.
As a full-throated choir sang a traditional Hungarian Christmas carol, "Mennyböl az Angyal" ("Angel from Heaven"), a memorial banner hand embroidered by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in Budapest, depicting the four saints Mary, Stephen, Emery and Ladislaus, was carried down the nave My grandfathe...