Bishop Jon Hansen, C.Ss.R. , 7th Bishop of Mackenzie-Fort Smith
Bishop Jon Hansen was born in 1967 Edmonton and raised in Grande Prairie, AB. After high school he attended the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and completed a diploma in Building Construction Engineering. Returning for further studies he completed a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Alberta. At the same time, he joined the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, the Redemptorists, professing religious vows in 1998.
Studying in Toronto at the University of St. Michael’s college he graduated with a Masters of Divinity in 2003. After a Diaconal appointment in Sudbury, ON in 2004 he was ordained to the Priesthood in Grande Prairie by Archbishop Arthé Guimond. He served as an associate pastor in Redemptorist parishes in St. John’s, NL and in Toronto, ON. In 2007 he became the Director of Formation for Redemptorist students. In 2009 he became pastor of St. Mary’s Parish in Saskatoon and was there for 6 years during which time he did work with; refugee settlement, social justice and the diocesan commission for Truth and Reconciliation.
In 2015, he accepted an appointment from Bishop Mark Hagemoen to serve as Pastor of Our Lady of Victory parish in Inuvik as well as to care for the missions of Tsiigehtchic, Tuktoyaktuk and Paulatuk, all located in the diocese of Mackenzie-Ft. Smith.
On December 15, 2017, Pope Francis named him the seventh Bishop of the Diocese of Mackenzie -Fort Smith (Yellowknife, NT), to succeed the Most Rev. Mark Hagemoen, who had been named Bishop of Saskatoon. Bishop Hansen’s episcopal ordination took place on March 16th, 2018.
Bishop Jon Hansen’s Coat of Arms
Processional Cross The display of a cross behind the shield is used to denote a bishop. The cross of an ordinary bishop has a single horizontal bar or traverse, also known as a Latin cross.
Shield The shield is the normal device for displaying a coat of arms. In this case Bishop Hansen has chosen the profile of a Norse shield as an homage to his Scandinavian ancestry.
Tincture Tinctures constitute the palette of colours and patterns used in heraldry. On Bishop Hansen’s shield, Silver (White) indicates the vast land of the Canadian north, frozen even in the height of summer. In heraldry silver represents Peace and Sincerity. Blue calls to mind the waters of the Deh-cho (Mackenzie River) and the Arctic ocean, the furthermost extent of the Mackenzie-Ft. Smith diocese. In heraldry blue represents Truth.
Symbols The symbols on the shield point to unique identifying characteristics of its bearer such as family of origin, accomplishments and personal interests.
- Julehjerte The Danish Christmas Heart is a hand-made, paper ornament traditionally hung on the Christmas tree and filled with candies for children to find on Christmas morning. The Julehjerte represents Bishop Hansen’s Danish heritage. The red and white bands mimic both the colors of the Danish national flag as well as the Canadian flag, which is the country of Bishop Hansen’s birth. In heraldry the heart is a symbol of deep affection.
- Cross The stylized cross, flanked by the instruments of Christ’s passion, is taken from the seal of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer and represents Bishop Hansen’s life-long connection to the Redemptorists. The Redemptorists are a missionary order founded by St. Alphonsus Liguori dedicated to preaching the Gospel to the most poor and abandoned.
- Umbo The Umbo or shield boss is multivalent representing the Midnight Sun of the Arctic summer solstice. During this time the sun never sets, like the heavenly city “that has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and there will be no night there.” (Rev 21.23,25) As a symbol of light, it also ties Bishop Hansen to the papacy of Pope Francis, referencing the Holy Father’s first encyclical Lumen Fidei, which describes the Light of Faith which leads to truth. From the umbo water flows referencing the river flowing from the temple where everything, “will become fresh; and everything will live where the river goes.” (Ez 47)
Motto Bishop Hansen’s motto translates into English as “Truth and Reconciliation”. It was inspired by the Commission organized by the parties of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. The Commission was part of a holistic and comprehensive response to the abuse inflicted on Indigenous peoples through the Indian residential school system, and the harmful legacy of those institutions. The Commission was officially established on June 2, 2008, and was completed in December 2015. The motto is a reminder that, though the Commission has ended, the Calls to Action must not be forgotten and the ongoing work of reconciliation must continue in the north and across Canada. This work continues the labour of Christ who said of himself, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” (Jn 14.6) and through whom, “God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.” (Col 1.20)