Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle’s website is now live!

December 12 is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patron of the Americas, and the National Day of Prayer in Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples. On this date, the Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle is delighted to announce the launch of its inaugural website;

http://ourladyofguadalupecircle.ca/

Founded in 2016, the Circle is a Catholic coalition of Indigenous people,  Bishops, other clergy, representatives of lay movements and members of institutes of consecrated life, engaged in renewing and fostering relationships between the Catholic Church and Indigenous Peoples in Canada. The website contains numerous resources, including a timeline of actions by Catholic
groups in Canada promoting reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. It also provides information on Indian residential schools, Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the 94 Calls to Action. Readers wishing to receive information on the actions for reconciliation are invited to add their email address to the Circle’s online directory.

Reflection for the Second Sunday of Advent, December 9, 2018

by Paul Robson sj

Being from Winnipeg, I’m used to flat lands and I like that type of setting. I might argue, jokingly, that the prairies are better than hills and mountains, according to the Bible. After all, today’s readings speak about a time when, according to God’s plan, “every mountain and hill shall be made low.”

Of course, plains and hills and mountains are all wonderful and beautiful parts of God’s creation. What were the biblical writers trying to say, then, when they spoke of mountains being made low?

 Some of the Old Testament prophets, including Isaiah and Baruch, can be understood as writing about the return from exile of the people of Israel, to their homeland. Imagine, if you will, two paths for the people through the desert. One has many bends in the road and is hilly, and the road is rough. The other road is straight and smooth and flat. It is the second road which makes for an easier walk. The image of that second road can signify that, if the LORD God is leading the way, then the way will be easy. Or, perhaps, the rough road will still be rough, but the journey is somehow made easier through the presence and guidance of the LORD.

The same might be said for us, on our journeys through life. There might be something in our lives that is an imposing obstacle, like a mountain. Prayer and trust in God can make that mountain low, or at least manageable.

These days we wait for Christmas, for the celebration of the coming of Jesus into the world. This birth of Jesus was a major event, part of God’s great plan for making ways smooth and paths straight. Let us wait for that special day with hope and anticipation!

Our Lady Of Guadalupe Circle – October 2019 Meeting

19-20 October, 2018

Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle held its biannual meeting in Ottawa on 19 and 20 October 2018. The meeting included a guided retreat session, whereby members discussed, reflected and prayed on the mission, identity and purpose of the Circle. The members reiterated and reconfirmed the Mission Statement and the core purposes of the Circle, agreeing to give priority to creating spaces of dialogue between Catholic and Indigenous spiritualties, educating and providing formation for its own members on Indigenous cultural and spiritual practices in Canada, and serving as a catalyst for encounter and dialogue within the Catholic Church and in Canadian society at large on Indigenous questions.

Formalized in December 2016 and initially made up of four organizations including the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Canadian Religious Conference, the Canadian Catholic Aboriginal Council, (now called the Canadian Catholic Indigenous Council) and the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle was
created to engage in renewing and fostering relationships with the Indigenous peoples in Canada.

The four founding members collectively responded to Calls to Actions #48 and #49 with respect to support of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and responding to questions around the legal concepts known as “the Doctrine of Discovery” and terra nullius. The Circle continues to give special attention to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action and the members’ own Eight Commitments made in March of
2016.

The Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle now comprises seven national Catholic organizations which, in addition to the four founding members mentioned above, include the Catholic Women’s League of Canada, the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, and the Knights of Columbus. Likewise, the Circle has representation from four Catholic religious orders: the Jesuits of Canada, Sisters of Charity of Halifax, Sisters of Providence of Western Canada, and Lacombe Province, Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Member at large positions have also been constituted specifically to provide for additional Catholic Indigenous representation. The Circle is making a significant effort to ensure a balance of Indigenous and non-Indigenous voices, united by their
common baptism and faith as Catholics.

The Circle will meet again in March 2019.


19 et 20 octobre 2018
Le Cercle Notre-Dame-de-Guadalupe a tenu sa réunion semestrielle à Ottawa les 19 et 20 octobre 2018. La rencontre comprenait une séance de retraite guidée pendant laquelle les membres ont discuté, réfléchi et prié sur la mission, l’identité et la raison d’être du Cercle. Les membres ont réitéré et confirmé encore une fois l’énoncé de mission et les objectifs essentiels du
Cercle en convenant d’accorder la priorité à la création de lieux de dialogue entre les spiritualités catholiques et autochtones, à l’éducation et à la formation de ses propres membres sur les pratiques culturelles et spirituelles des Autochtones au Canada, et au rôle de catalyseur pour les rencontres et les dialogues dans l’Église catholique et la société canadienne en général au sujet
des questions autochtones.

Fondé officiellement en décembre 2016 et composé à l’origine de quatre organismes, la Conférence des évêques catholiques du Canada, la Conférence religieuse canadienne, le Conseil autochtone catholique du Canada et l’Organisation catholique canadienne pour le développement et la paix, le Cercle Notre-Dame-de-Guadalupe a été créé pour travailler au renouvellement et à la promotion des relations avec les peuples autochtones du Canada.

Les quatre membres fondateurs ont répondu collectivement aux Appels à l’action nos 48 et 49 au sujet de l’appui à la Déclaration des Nations Unies sur les droits des peuples autochtones et de la réponse aux questions entourant les concepts juridiques appelés « doctrine de la découverte » et terra nullius. Le Cercle continue de porter une attention spéciale aux Appels à l’action de la Commission de Vérité et Réconciliation et aux huit engagements pris par les membres eux-mêmes en mars 2016.

Le Cercle Notre-Dame-de-Guadalupe comprend maintenant sept organismes catholiques nationaux qui, en plus des quatre membres fondateurs susmentionnés, incluent la Catholic Women’s League of Canada, la Société de Saint-Vincent de Paul et les Chevaliers de Colomb. Le Cercle inclut également des représentants de quatre ordres religieux catholiques : les Jésuites
du Canada, les Sœurs de la Charité de Halifax, les Sœurs de la Providence de l’Ouest canadien et les Missionnaires Oblats de Marie Immaculée, province de Lacombe. Des postes de membres à titre individuel ont également été établis dans le but exprès de permettre une représentation catholique autochtone supplémentaire. Le Cercle déploie des efforts importants pour assurer un
équilibre entre les voix autochtones et non autochtones unies par leur baptême commun et leur foi catholique.

Le Cercle se réunira de nouveau en mars 2019.

Reflection for Sunday, May 6, 2018

by Paul Robson sj

Have you ever had the experience of feeling love and concern for someone who is outside of your circle of family and friends? Or of loving a complete stranger, even? I can recall a moment in my life when I was on the bus, leaving Thunder Bay. I looked out the window and saw someone walking down the
street. I felt interest, care, concern, even love, for that individual. I would explain that moment of connection, with that person on the street as I looked down from the bus, as being a gift from God.

For God, there are no strangers. Who, then, are we to God, in relation to God? Perhaps it is appropriate to call ourselves the servants of God. Our Creator is the master, and we do our best to do God’s will, as much as we can. While there is truth in the idea that we are God’s servants, Jesus says in today’s Gospel:

“I do not call you servants any longer … but I have called you friends.” We have a friend in Jesus; and while God is greater than us, God is not distant from us.
Peter states, in today’s first reading, that “God shows no partiality.” God loves everyone, as well as all of Creation. What God asks of us, and facilitates in us, is that we love one another. In short, God asks us to be like God! And so there are moments in our lives when we experience love, where this love involves
an unselfish concern for others; and where love begins, certainly, with our near and dear ones, such as our family members. But this love can extend further than that, even to strangers, and even to our “enemies”.

Let us ask God for the gift of love in our lives: that we might be open to God’s love and to the love of others toward us; and that we might, in turn, love others as God loves us.

Canadian Canoe Pilgrimage Highlights

Highlights from the 2017 Canadian Canoe Pilgrimage. Thank you to everyone that participated, who volunteered, who donated, who met with them along the way and who prayer for their success.