First Nations faith and leadership development program:
Training and nurturing leaders for the next generations
- Ministers were first inaugurated in 1975 from the Centre, and the program has been building and expanding since that time.
- The order of Deacon or DOS (unique to the Diocese of Sault Ste-Marie) is bestowed on anyone who wishes to make a lasting commitment to serving in the church.
- First Nations Catholic communities realize it is a crucial time for safeguarding and furthering the faith and spiritual traditions, Christian and Anishinabe, for the next generations.
- The Ministries Program has a clear focus of honouring the Ministries´ participant´s own cultural indigenous traditions, while holding true to the Catholic faith.
- ASC trains lay people to act as shepherds, providing essential spiritual services and leadership in their own communities.
- Three-year program, with active involvement over the course of 10 months each of those years.
- Ministries´ participants commit to gathering once per month for active training here at the Centre, with on-going and regular ministry opportunities and study within their own communities.
- Approximately 50 people listed in the Ministries Program
- Ten parish communities currently being served by DOS or Deacons.
- Our goal is a First Nations church that is, under the Bishop of the Diocese, a self-sufficient and self-propagating local faith community. If this is to happen, younger native church leaders need to be identified, recruited, trained, and commissioned.
- Looking toward the future, we seek to develop a long-distance learning program with the aim to offer on-line courses, opening the Ministries program to those unable to participate because of geography or timing.
The Anishinabe Spiritual Centre (ASC) has been the home of the Ministries programme since 1981. The Centre was founded by the Jesuits in English Canada. The Jesuits belong to the Society of Jesus, a Roman Catholic order of priests and brothers founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola in 1540. Both priests and brothers have worked with First Nations people in this region for 169 years, starting in Wikwemikong in 1844.