Novena for the 13th of November, 2019

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Ministry of Presence and Compassion with First Nations’ People

Picture12Marie Rivier, just like Jesus Christ, had a heart full of love and compassion, and throughout her life she shared this fullness with the people of her time.

Following in Marie Rivier’s footsteps , in the North Battleford area, we have ministered with the First nations’ people for over 20 years.  Our approach has been one of building relationship.  Many hours are spent in visiting homes and hospitals, establishing friendships, listening and being with them in their joys as well as their pain. There is a great demand for ministry of compassion.  Workshops were also a very important part of our ministry such as: adult faith training, catechesis, Christopher Leadership Courses and Bible sharing. Since a priest was not available, we were Parish administrators for all the reserves and we therefore were mandated for leadership as ministers for Marriage, Baptism, and Sunday liturgies.  However it is also urgent to recognize the the good news” the First Nations’ people already possess in their rich traditions and ways of living.  We need to appreciate the manner in which the creator has made himself known to other cultures.

Experiencing their culture has also been foremost in our mind.  Trying to learn the language, participating in their cultural activities and spiritual events (sweats, sun dances, round dances, powwows, fasts and feasts) have been a priority in getting to know the people.  “To attempt to share the mysteries of Christianity, without taking into account the traditional values of First Nations’ cultures, is to perpetuate a paternalism that is demeaning for all par-ties concerned.”  (Fr. Gilbert Hemauer)

All in all, it is a ministry of building relationships, of being with the people and being enriched by their spirituality and culture and sharing the Christian culture and spirituality.  We will never think we understand it totally because we are not Cree. 

Regina:  The main goal in Urban Aboriginal ministry is to establish relationships rooted in justice, love and humility that will help build community through a cross-cultural interface.  S. ReAnne with a team connects with aboriginal people at various centers in the inner city, meets with elders, and participates in community events and cultural ceremonies.

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"Urban Aboriginal ministry for me is about being in relationship with the people and building community that nourishes growth and healing --- especially, through their culture
and spirituality."

S. ReAnne Letourneau

 

 

In spring of 2019, Sr. Raymond Arcand and Sr. Rita Bisson travelled to Toronto to attend the Taste of Heaven Gala and received the 2019 St. Joseph's Award from Catholic Missions in Canada. These Sisters have been building relationships with our indigemous brothers and sisters in the areas around North Battleford, SK for over 20 years!