TORONTO, DEC. 11, 2005 (Zenit.org).- This Monday, feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Catholic Church in Canada will observe a day of prayer for the country’s native peoples.
The initiative seeks to promote in particular solidarity with the first peoples who inhabited this enormous country and who suffer relatively high levels of poverty.
This is explained in a letter written for the occasion by the Council for Reconciliation, Solidarity and Communion, made up of bishops, priests, a woman religious and lay people.
The letter presents Juan Diego, the 16th-century Mexican Indian who witnessed the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe, as an example of fulfillment of the “will of God exactly as it was communicated” by Mary.
Juan Diego is also “an example of the fidelity with which we are called to respond to the love of God today,” the letter said.
The message states that some social indicators, such as “success in school, adequate housing, public health or drug addiction underline the need for a systematic change that will at last enable native populations of our country to play the part that corresponds to them.”
After acknowledging that in the past the Church’s intervention in native communities has not always been positive, the letter adds “we rejoice over the presence [today] of strong and dynamic communities in which the people’s faith becomes a motive of inspiration.”
A council made up of native Catholics and representatives of the bishops’ conference and religious congregations assesses the financing of projects presented by Catholic native organizations to promote social solidarity.