Canadian Bishops' Web Site Dedicates Section to Indigenous

Considers History, Current Pastoral Work

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OTTAWA, Ontario, JAN. 13, 2012 ( Canada’s bishops announced today a new section of the episcopal conference Web site, dedicated to the Church and the indigenous peoples of Canada.

The Web site section was opened on the occasion of the feast of Canada’s first woman saint, St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, who was dedicated to the education and care of the indigenous in the first French colonies in the country. Her feast day was Thursday.

The page aims to «serve as a reference tool to recall the common history and enduring traditions shared by the Church and Indigenous Peoples, and to highlight what is currently being done on a pastoral level among Indigenous Peoples in each of the four major pastoral regions of Canada,» the bishops announced at their Web site.

The site includes various sections that detail the history of the Church and Canada’s indigenous peoples, «including the more difficult episodes as well as moments of reconciliation and projects of hope,» the announcement continued.

Some of the main sections include: Texts of the Holy See; meetings with the Holy Father; «Let Justice Flow Like a Mighty River»; Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha; Indian residential schools; «Returning to Spirit»; and CCCB art collection.

Common ground

«Since the earliest days of the Church in the Western hemisphere, there has been special concern and attention for the Indigenous peoples, many of whom have become part of the Church and given much to it,» the Web page states. «As Pope John Paul II has noted, the evangelizing process over the years was uneven and limited.» At the same time, despite these struggles, the Web page continues, «the Church has walked with Aboriginal Peoples, shared their joys, their sufferings, and their aspirations, and supported their struggles for recognition of their rights for personal and collective growth. Then and now, the Churches provide a place where Native and non-Native Peoples may find common ground. Non-Native Church members have accompanied Native Peoples on their journey — sometimes leading, sometimes following, sometimes side-by-side.»

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