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12 December 2012
This year the Anishinabe Spiritual Centre (ASC) would like to invite you to join in this very special day. First, it is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe; and also, it is the National Day of Prayer in Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples. Our Lady is the patroness of the Americas. With her having been named such a patron, she watches over and prays for us who are in the Americas. Her first known encounter here was with St Juan Diego, a Mayan, an indigenous campesino in Mexico. Now, we are also blessed to have St. Kateri as a new patroness of Canada.
This double recognition brings a two-fold focus: first, to ask Our Lady to pray for us and to thank her for her guardian care, as any loving mother would show to her children. And second, to come together as a nation, Native and non-Native, to pray for greater unity, healing, and life as Canadians; and to rid ourselves of those ways of thinking, of relationships and of institutional structures which subordinate the peoples of the First Nations of this country.
In the eyes of the Creator, and our Lady, we are children of God. We all belong to one human family and at the same time all are given a unique way to express that bond of kinship. It is a time to thank God for all the great achievements that have been done by the First Nations people, which have added for centuries to the common good of this nation: from the historical reception of people from other cultures (many of whom are the ancestors of those of us who are not Native) onto this land; to the ongoing desire to protect what some would call Mother Earth; and to being a deeply, spiritually rooted people, rooted in a love for the Creator.
We also bring our concern to what is happening to some of the remote communities of Native People in the far north. May their unfortunate situation be a reminder that we, leaders and members of the community alike, all have to act differently to assist those in greatest need and to bring responsible decision-making to the forefront of our deliberations. Another generation of Native children cannot be condemned to such poverty.
We have much to pray for and we seek the guidance, counsel and wisdom of the Creator God. Therefore, we invite you to join in this radical act of prayer, so as to be true to our nature as people. We also need to learn how God’s creation is a gift to us all. May we be good and just stewards, compassionate sisters and brothers, and forgiving in our daily living so as to make real the love of God. Let us imitate Mary. Mary made real the presence of God among us some 2000 years ago, giving birth to the Saviour of the World.
May the season of Christmas that is upon us bring us greater peace and reconciliation. Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us. St. Kateri, pray for us.
Fr. David Shulist, S.J.
Anishinabe Spiritual Centre