College president named to shepherd northern diocese

Bishop-elect Mark Hagemoen

Bishop-elect Mark Hagemoen

October 21, 2013

The president of two Vancouver colleges has been named bishop of the northern Diocese of Mackenzie-Fort Smith.

Msgr. Mark Hagemoen, 52, who is president of St. Mark's and Corpus Christi colleges in Vancouver, will become bishop of the largest diocese in the world, following in the footsteps of Archbishop Murray Chatlain who became archbishop of Keewatin-Le Pas in December 2012.

Born and raised in Vancouver, Bishop-elect Hagemoen's appointment by Pope Francis was announced Oct. 15 in Rome.

He first learned about his appointment while visiting high schools in the Diocese of Colombo in Sri Lanka in late September. The papal nuncio had to send him an email to tell him of the pope's decision.

Although he will miss the colleges he is leading, Hagemoen said he is "very excited" to be going to Mackenzie-Fort Smith.

"I'm a little overwhelmed at having been appointed to this mighty diocese, though," he said from Vancouver Oct. 15. "(But) we pledge obedience when we are ordained priests and that certainly continues throughout our ministry and so that's ultimately the basis for my assent to the Holy Father."


Hagemoen has had a bit of time to think about his new responsibilities but said he hasn't developed any plans for the Diocese of Mackenzie-Fort Smith yet.

"I thought about it a bit and I looked at the diocesan website and I think the very, very first task will be to meet and listen to people and to do a lot of meeting and listening to people and with people to get a sense of the needs of the diocese and where people's thoughts and concerns and hopes are."


Hagemoen said he has a sense that a number of excellent pastoral initiatives are already in place. "I definitely want to become more aware of these; so I guess the first thing would be to listen and support what's there and then discern how we can continue to move forward and develop the mission of the Church there."

Hagemoen received his seminary education and formation at St. Peter's Seminary in London, Ont., and was ordained a priest for the Vancouver Archdiocese in May 1990.


After ordination, he earned a national certificate in youth ministry, a diploma for advanced studies in ministry and, finally, a doctor of ministry from Trinity Western University.

Prior to his appointment to St. Mark's and Corpus Christi colleges, Hagemoen was vicar of pastoral services and moderator of the curia for the Vancouver Archdiocese. He has also been a parish pastor in the archdiocese.

The Mackenzie-Fort Smith Diocese has 27,050 Catholics in a total population of 49,150. There are eight priests, one permanent deacon and 11 members of religious orders.