Thursday, March 18, 2010

Assembly of Western Bishops Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs Meeting March 2, 2010

Members of the Committee from L to R: Harry Lafond of Muskeg Lake (Member at Large), Myra Charlie from Victoria; Bishop Richard Gagnon of Victoria; Sr. Eva Solomon; Carl Sydney, Whitehorse; Rosa Mantla, McKenzie-Fort Smith; Archbishop Sylvain Lavoie OMI of Keewatin-The Pas (chair); Doris Reid of The Pas; Archbishop Daniel Bohan of Regina and President of the Western/Northern Bishops; Bishop Murray Chatlain of McKenzie-Fort Smith and Bishop Garry Gordon of Whitehorse.

In 2007, the Assembly of Western Bishops formed an ad hoc committee on aboriginal affairs made up of four bishops. They engaged Sr. Eva Solomon csj to provide workshops on First Nations spirituality and ministry throughout the dioceses of northern and western Canada. After a very successful Basic Directions on Aboriginal Ministry held at Newman Theological College in July 2007, the committee became a standing committee of five bishops who decided to include First Nations representatives from their respective dioceses on the committee.

The first meeting of the full committee took place on March 2, 2010 at St. Michael’s Retreat Centre in Lumsden prior to the annual assembly of the Western Bishops. Sr. Eva facilitated a workshop on authority, responsibility and power. The participants then discussed an agenda that included their structure, organization and mandate. They reviewed the First Nations Elders’ Dialogue that had taken place the previous December and looked ahead to this summer’s Basic Directions, a possible Cultural Awareness Experience and the upcoming Basic Directions session. They suggested a focus on youth, catechesis and orientation for First Nations ministry as a priority for the group this first year.

St. Michael's Retreat Centre just outside of Lumsden, Saskatchewan. Home of a Franciscan community and run with the help of a lay staff, it is guided by an ecumenical board.

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