Saturday, March 7, 2009

Aboriginal Ministry Committee

Before the annual meeting of the Assembly of Western Catholic Bishops met in February, its Standing Committee for Aboriginal Ministry met during the previous day. This committee was formed in 2006 by the AWCB in recognition that ministry to no longer was the sole responsibilty of the Oblate Community. The native people are part of the Roman Catholic Church in all of Canada. The Committee was set up to investigate what could be done to train people who minister to the native people of our region in matters of native spirituality and to bring together in some way the native groups recognizing the major difference that exists between the different tribes. The Committee then would deal with other related fields.

In 2007 it was transformed into a Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs. The Committee is chaired by Archibishop Sylvain Lavoie, OMI, the Archbishop of Kewatin-Le Pas, a diocese which stretches over northern Manitoba and covering a portion of northen Saskatchewan as well.
There are five members of the Committe. Going from left to right: Bishop Richard Gagnon of Victoria, Archbishop Sylvain Lavoie, Bishop Murray Chatlain of Mackenzie-Fort Smith, Bishop Gary Gordon of Whitehorse and myself. Everyone is looking quite happy despite the huge challenges of carrying out effective ministry to our indigenous peoples.
The Committee had seen to providing a summer school session at Newman Theological college in the summers of 2007 and 2008 for those involved in ministry to native people and for native people themselves to come and be part of the sessions. It has also looked to the development and presentation of Orientation sessions for Native Ministry. To this end, Sister Eva Solomon was hired as coordinator of this project.

In 2007 Sr. Eva was hired to co-ordinate a thirteen month pilot project "Interculturation of Faith" in the dioceses of Western Canada. Here is Sr. Eva with a pretty happy group at Telegraph Creek.

And Sr. Eva speaking with a group at Fort McMurray.
Her pilot project has been extended into the "Building Bridges Project" which includes Orientation and Information Sessions held throughout the dioceses of northern and western Canada, Directions for First Nations Ministry sessions held at Newman Theological College during the summer and in the planning is a Dialogue withFirst Nations Elders.

1 comment:

Neil Bridgewater said...

Dear Archbishope, well done on your work with indiginious reconciliation, your country is leaps and bounds ahead of our convict colonialism in overcomeing indiginious disadvantage. I am designing the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry Website in Darwins Northern Territory. Please send me info, or better still lend us your best minister. Gods love be with you. Neil Bridgewater