BIG NEWS: Changes Happening Within Pure Witness Ministries

Blogpost by Carmen Marcoux
(Co-Founder of Pure Witness Ministries)


Changes Happening Within Pure Witness Ministries

Dear Friends and Family of Pure Witness Ministries,

As we near the end of the 2017-18 Pure Witness year, we are excited to announce some BIG CHANGES happening within the ministry as we move forward!

Recently we were notified that our lease for our Pure Witness missionary house and office at Blackstrap Lake was not going to be renewed in July.  This was the catalyst for the staff of PWM to discuss and discern the future plans for our ministry life and work.

The following goals guided our decisions:

  1. To continue to promote the spiritual teachings, observances and practices of the Catholic faith.
  2. To continue to provide opportunities for intentional discipleship, leadership training and transformational experiences for young Catholics, both teens and adults.
  3. To continue to provide faith enriching opportunities for youth to help strengthen them in their Christian journey as they begin to mature.
  4. To expand our local outreach with a greater family focus.
  5. To maintain our Retreat Ministry whereby we are able to proclaim the Gospel in schools and parishes across Western Canada.

Upon meeting with our Board of Directors on May 19, 2018, we are moving forward with a plan for the foreseeable future of PWM.

We will no longer be engaging a team of missionaries each year to form and train in the three-fold mission of Community Living, Faith Formation and Outreach. 

We want to acknowledge and thank every missionary who has come to serve over the past six years in Pure Witness, offering a year (or more) of their lives, set-apart in missionary service to the Church.

While a Team of Missionaries has been at the heart of our mission for the past seven years, it has become clear to us that we are being called forward to direct our energies toward younger Catholics, ages 15-20, to help them in an on-going journey of intentional discipleship and formation.

It is our plan to establish a Pure Witness Community House for a small staff of five missionaries – Rebekah Marcoux, Laura Rice, Sariana Kirk, Matthew Marcoux, and Michael Salamida – to live in as they work together to help us carry out the activities of PWM:

Laura Rice

Rebekah Marcoux

Sariana Kirk

Matthew Marcoux

Michael Salamida

Vision and Mission of Pure Witness for Fall 2018:

  1. Pure Witness Retreats:These will be put on by Matthew and Michael, who will travel across Western Canada proclaiming the Gospel in schools and parishes.
  2. YEP (Youth Evangelization Program): YEPs are a one-day retreat of faith formation, fellowship, and fun, with the availability of Mass and Confession.
  3. Family Events: We will be putting on family dances and daytime family events.
  4. Intentional Discipleship Programfor Catholic Youth: A unique and new program for youth ages 15-20 to experience a three-fold mission of Community (as they journey together in faith), Faith Formation and Outreach.  They will help with putting on a Catholic Family Camp in the summer and other family events sponsored by PWM.  Please keep watching for more information on this New Program for youth in the Saskatoon area, beginning October 2018!
  5. Catholic Family Camp 2019: It is our hope to coordinate a Catholic Family Camp in the summer of 2019, where we can facilitate a number of families to come live, eat, play and grow together in faith for one week, in order to help strengthen their identity as Catholics as they go back into the world.

We are very excited about this new direction that we are taking as a ministry!  While it is hard to let go of team ministry which is so very dear to our hearts – and for which we have all sacrificed to build for so long – we recognize the opportunity opening for us to serve the Body of Christ in a new way that will hopefully help to create transformational life experiences for young Catholics who might never be able to do a full year set-apart for ministry.

We thank you all for your support and investment in the mission of Pure Witness Ministries, and we look forward to what God has in store for us in the future as we continue to work with you, our generous supporters, to proclaim and build the Kingdom of God!

If you have any questions or feedback about these changes and this new model, we want to hear from you!  Please feel free to contact us at any time to seek further clarification of the mission and vision of Pure Witness Ministries.

James and Carmen Marcoux and Family April 28, 2018


God Bless,
James and Carmen Marcoux
Founders of Pure Witness Ministries






“May the world of our time, which seeks sometimes in anguish, sometimes in
hope, be enabled to receive the Good News not from sad and discouraged
evangelizers, impatient and anxious, but from ministers of the Gospel, whose lives
radiate fervor, who have first received in themselves the joy of Christ,
and accept to put their own lives at stake so that the Kingdom may
be preached and the Church be implanted in the heart of the world.”

Evangelii Nuntiandi
(On Evangelization in the Modern World)
By Blessed Paul VI, 1975
"The greatest pastoral document that has ever been written!" (Pope Francis)

Be still, and know that I am God

Blogpost by Carmen Marcoux
(Co-Founder of Pure Witness Ministries)

Highlights of this blog:

Be still, and know that I am God

| Psalm 46:10 |

“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.”
| St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta |

Dear Family and Friends of Pure Witness,

Another year has swiftly made its course!  Once again, we write to you with Christmas greetings and a chance to share with you what God has been doing through our mission at Pure Witness.

This first four months of ministry was not what anyone expected – especially staff.  This was a very atypical year for Pure Witness.  Not since our first year have we had so few retreats before Christmas, with fewer than normal bookings and then some retreats cancelled or postponed for various unexpected reasons.

But God allows for all things.  He is very intentional in all He does.  He had a plan for Pure Witness this term and for each member of our staff and team.  It has given us the opportunity to put into practice the counsel of St. Paul who exhorts us to “rejoice always, pray constantly and give thanks in all situations, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16)

Often, we can become so focused on outreach as the primary goal of Pure Witness, that we forget that it is God who sets the agenda. Our missionaries are called to a three-fold mission of Community Living, Faith Formation and Outreach.  God can do a great deal in all these areas, and certainly we know that as our missionaries grow in each of these areas of their life, God is preparing them for a mission in life much bigger than their year on Pure Witness.  As far as we are concerned, the first fruit of Pure Witness is, and always has been, the Team – our Missionaries.  It is into these young men and women that we pour our energy, efforts, love and resources, that they might have a year of personal transformation.

Normally outreach – putting on retreats and events – makes for a very busy pace of life, and in that busyness life can become very “noisy” and distracting.  But this year has been “quiet”, which causes us to reflect on the meaning of “silence” in our lives.  Despite the fact that our community house, Domus Galilaeae, gets very noisy at times with the youthful and joyful presence of all these dynamic young people, life in general has been quite silent.  We, both staff and team, have been invited into a particular stillness these past four months, and in that stillness we have discovered that where there is silence God is usually speaking the loudest!

I heard a speaker once say, “Silence is the reality into which all noise invades.”  Silence is the place where the soul most naturally encounters God.  It would seem that God has been “shouting” into our lives … as He stirs up all the noise that dwells within us through this unexpected time of silence.  In deed, it has been a time of fruitful personal reflection for each of us.

Cardinal Robert Sarah, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, recently co-authored a book entitled The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise (Ignatius Press).  In an interview he gave regarding this book he made the following observations:

“Modern existence is a propped-up life built on noise, artificiality and the tragic rejection of God, combined with an implacable hatred of silence…. In the negative sense, silence is the absence of noise.  It can be exterior or interior.  Exterior silence involves the silence of words and actions; in other words, the absence of noise from doors, vehicles, jackhammers, airplanes, the noisy mechanism of cameras, often accompanied by dazzling flashes, and also that horrible forest of cellphones that are brandished at arm’s length even during our Eucharistic liturgies.  As for interior silence, it can be achieved by the absence of memories, plans, interior speech, worries. Still more important, thanks to an act of the will, it (interior silence) can result from the absence of disordered affections or excessive desires….

For some years now, there has been a constant onslaught of images, lights and colors that blind man. His interior dwelling is violated by the unhealthy, provocative images of pornography and violence. The silence of the eyes consists of being able to close one’s eyes and cast out these horrific and corrupting images in order to contemplate God who is in us, in the interior depths of our personal abyss….

Silence of the heart means to keep quiet inside ourselves, mastering our various fleeting desires, memories and fantasies, to keep them under the lordship of Christ.”   (Interview with Cardinal Robert Sarah)

It seems that the Lord was graciously giving us each a far more productive time than just what we experience in busy outreach.  Time to be more still than we typically are in the hustle and bustle of this culture.  Time to hear His voice speaking into the depths of our hearts.  Time to reflect on the daily call to personal conversion.  Time to allow the Holy Spirit to bring about a work of transformation in our lives.  Time to go more deeply in our personal relationship with Christ.  Time to tune our ears and hearts more finely to His Word: that Word which was made flesh so long ago in Bethlehem, that came to the world in such beautiful silence – hidden and humble.

“While gentle silence enveloped all things, and night in its swift course was now half gone,
Your all-powerful word leaped from heaven, from the royal throne.”
| Wisdom 18:14-15 |

This is the mystery that God has invited us here at Pure Witness more deeply into these past four months.  It has been like an extended Advent in preparation for Christ’s coming in our lives.  And perhaps this is the most important work of transformation God will be doing in our lives this year, in preparation for what is to come – not just in the busyness of outreach in the many retreats booked in the New Year – but also in our lives beyond Pure Witness.  This time of silence has truly set the stage well in each of our lives for the greatest adventure of all:

To fall in love with God is the greatest romance;
to seek Him the greatest adventure;
to find Him, the greatest human achievement.
| St. Augustine of Hippo |

So now we move forward from this first term of Pure Witness with hearts ready to serve, renewed in strength and in faith, and prepared to announce the Good News of our salvation to a world that is dying to hear it.  As St. Teresa of Calcutta said: “The more we receive in silent prayer, the more we can give in active service.”

We pray that your Christmas celebrations will be filled with an abundance of God’s blessings and that in the busyness of the season you will find time for silence, that the Lord will speak loudly into your own hearts of His love, His mercy, His vision and His mission for each of your own lives.  We pray that through the generosity of so many Christian hearts responding to God’s call in their lives, God might bring about a transformation in our world for the peace that only He can give.  May the blessings of the Prince of Peace, born on Christmas so many years ago, be yours now and throughout the New Year!

Below are brief messages from each of our missionaries (both staff and team) here at Pure Witness.  As you see the faces and read the testimonies of these beautiful souls, know that your support and prayers are making a great difference in their lives and the lives of all those they will witness to both this year and over the years to come. You are helping to build the Kingdom of God, one heart-transformed at a time!

With gratitude for your prayers and support!
James and Carmen Marcoux
Co-Founders of Pure Witness Ministries

Pure Witness Team meeting Bishop Mark Hagemoen at his installation.

Missionary Updates

My journey with Pure Witness thus far has, and continues to be, an amazing journey of renewal and transformation in my life.  God has been blessing me in ways that I am incapable of expanding with words, but nonetheless, I am so grateful that he has placed me in this mission of evangelization.  That Lord is using this year set aside on Pure Witness to help form me more into the great saint He has created me to be.
~ Courtney Buhrke
God has been working in all of our lives and transforming each of our souls little by little in the time that we, as a team, have been together. This first half of this year, we have grown together in our faith in such a huge way and also grown as a team, in faith and love of Our Lord. The gratitude I have in my heart for the mission of Pure Witness as well as all of the support, love, and prayers I have received from so many wonderful people is overwhelming.  I am excited to see what the new year has in store!
~ Christa Taylor
I stand in awe and thanksgiving of how God has worked in me for the past four months of my life.  There have been joys and sufferings, blessings and burdens, crosses and resurrections.  I’ve learnt so much about myself, my faith, and the art of love in such a rapid manner that I eagerly await what is in store for me for the remainder of the year!
~ Gregory Mallett

These past four months my team has had the opportunity to put on retreats for both youth and the elderly.  We are currently in Advent, and as we prepare for Christmas break we are listening to talks and growing deeper in our prayer life.  We have learnt a lot in these first four months and I am very excited for the new year to start.
~ Michael Salamida

This year has been amazing, life-changing and so fruitful.  I am very blessed and so thankful that I listened to the desire God had placed on my heart, leading me to Pure Witness.  My time on Pure Witness so far has not been anything I had expected, with God calling and leading us to do outreach in new ways, such as Senior Home Ministry.  Being on team has been such a blessing and I am constantly in awe of my teammates’ beauty, and the impact they are making on all we minister to and on myself.
~ Katie Jodoin
This year on Pure Witness so far has been the most fruitful and transformational time in my life.  I have grown exponentially in my relationship with God and it has opened my heart to the richness that my life can hold.  I have gotten to experience the phenomenal support of this community in growing all my gifts while helping others grow in theirs, as well as finding new avenues to use these skills as a team. I can’t wait for the new year to continue growing in this ministry and giving to all those I encounter!
~ Sariana Kirk
Working for Pure Witness is such a blessing. Having the opportunity to use the gifts and talents that God has given me to share the truths of our faith fills me with purpose and meaning. Going into nursing homes and visiting the elderly this year has helped me to see the beauty in every person. It really taught me to see Christ in everyone especially the sick and the forgotten.
~ Daniel Pashula, Retreat Team & Assistant Team Coach
We have had such a blessed year marked by the richness of the fruits of his grace! I can see it so tangibly in everyone. Every year is blessed, unique, with it’s strengths and lessons. I want to share six of the many fruits I see that give insight to the beauty of the interior journey of our community: interior silence, trust, hope, forgiveness, vulnerability, and self giving.   Such beautiful fruit of the journey can only be attributed to the goodness of God as he lavishes his Spirit on those who love him and call on his name.  It’s been so necessary for him to give us the silence for him to speak. Embracing the interior silence has been a lesson that I need over and over in my life. It’s funny how we forget that this stillness with God in communion with him will always bring us the peace, strength, and answers we’re looking for.  In all this I am reminded of our logo at Pure Witness — setting Christ at the heart of our lives.
~ Rebekah Marcoux, Team Coach
I am so blessed with the opportunities God has given me over the past four and a half months. Working in the office I have discovered a new type of ministry in bookkeeping which has allowed God to open my eyes to so see more than what is right in front of me. I am so excited to see what God has in store for the remainder of the year!
~ Christine Paquin, Office Assistant
This year I have been so blessed and privileged to be working again for Pure Witness as the Music Coordinator. It is said that you become like those you associate with, so being surrounded with young Catholic adults who are striving to grow in holiness and become saints is nothing less than amazing. I thank all who have been supporting this mission with prayers or financially. It has given me and many missionaries a chance to grow, share and live out our faith in an extraordinary way.
~ Matthew Marcoux, Music Coordinator
Every year of mission work brings new changes and new adventures, and this year has not been an exception! As we go through the usual changes in the ministry that God brings us — new team, new outreach, etc. — these past four months have been filled with nothing but joy.  I have loved watching the eagerness that each person has to grow personally and to share the love of Christ with those they minister to.  I’m excited to see what God has in store for us in the new year!
~ Laura Rice, Communications Manager

Senior Home Outreach

One of the fruits of these past four months has been our opportunity to dive more deeply into serving the elderly in our Senior Home Ministry initiatives. Thank you for all who have supported this specifically. It has been a grace for us to reach out to those who are often forgotten in the busyness of our culture. At the end of November, the team had the opportunity to take a small tour in. The whole experience was a huge blessing for both the residents in the homes, and for the team.

Here is what a couple of the missionaries had to say about the experience:

Ministering to the elderly has been a beautiful gift to provide our time and retreats to these beautiful souls.  Many areoften forgotten in their old age and I have been touched by their gratitude of our investment in them.  God is still working in these people’s lives and it has been our honour to revive their hearts in the hope of the future and love of the faith.
~ Sariana ~

It is an absolute blessing to do retreats for these elderly.  They have so many stories from their past of how they have come to know their faith.  One woman said to me, “It reminded me of the conversion I had when I was in university”, as she related to the drama that we had put on for her moments before.
~ Michael ~

Because Senior Homes can not afford to bring us in we would like to provide this program to them for free.  In order to do that we need your help.  If you would like to financially support us in this specific area of outreach you can do so!  Click here and choose to designate your donation to “Senior Home Outreach”.  Your gift will allow our team to continue to provide this program to Senior Homes in the new year and in years to come!

Evermore Proclaim

Pure Witness Christmas CD

Are you still looking for a Christmas gift for someone?
Or would you just like some new Christmas music for your collection!
Order the Pure Witness Christmas CD online!

The songs on the album are a mix of genres and styles, from acapella to rock to “crooner-style”.  There are songs that will make you want to get up and dance and ones that you can pray with.  Old songs made new and songs that maybe you haven’t heard before!

  This is an album for anybody and everybody.

1 CD:  $20
2 CDs:  $30
5 CDs:  $60
+5 CDs:  $12 each

Click here to buy a Christmas CD