Thursday, December 16, 2010
Each summer the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs (SCAA) of the Assembly of Western Catholic bishops puts on a Directions for Aboriginal Ministry in St. Albert for both aboriginal and non-aboriginal people involved in the Church. The theme was First Nations Spirituality - Gift to the Church, and was focused on the Medicine Wheel as a catechetical and healing tool. Sr Eva Solomon csj, who heads up what is called the Building Bridges project, coordinated the session along with a team of other involved people.
This year Villagers Media of Toronto filmed the session and are producing a series of catechetical video modules centered on the Medicine Wheel complete with Study Guides, Lesson Plans and Resource materials, based on their filming.
The realization that the work of Villagers connected with the aims of the CCEPIRSS board (Corporation of Catholic Entities party to the Indian Residential School agreement) led to a meeting of Villagers, + Sylvain Lavoie OMI and Sr. Eva with Gerry Kelly, consultant to the board.
The umbrella concept for this meeting was the awareness that the Canadian public is not so much not interested in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission now traveling the country, but actually actually staying away because it is a court issued process cast in a victim/perpetrator framework the leaves no room at the table for the ordinary person who doesn't identify with either of those two criteria. There is a need for a more holistic model for healing the hurts of residential school. The work of Villagers was seen as a positive move towards realizing that goal and so a meeting was set up to explore their work and discuss possible ways of funding that work.
Picture here are Dawn Deme and Darren of Villagers, Daryold Winkler of Kateri Ministries in Ottawa, + Sylvain Lavoie OMI, chair of SCAA, Gerry Kelly, consultant to CCEPIRSS and Sr. Eva, director of Building Bridges project. They are viewing the first module of the planned series and delighted with what they are seeing.
You can check the Villagers website www.villagersmedia.com for more information on them and on this project.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
From Sunday evening, Dec. 5th, to Thursday evening, Dec. 9th, the Emmanuel Process team of Sr. Ethel Detz OP, Fr. Bill Stang OMI and Archbishop Sylvain Lavoie OMI, offered sessions to a crowd of participants that grew from a dozen the first night to around 40 the last three nights. Each session had a particular theme: Setting out into the deep; Who is Jesus for me?, Forgiveness, healing and reconciliation, The Holy Spirit and the Church, and Where do we go from here?
The sessions involved singing, visiting, a teaching on a saint, prayer, scripture, a teaching on the theme for that session, small and large group sharing, a ritual and homework. The Tuesday night session on forgiveness and reconciliation was particularly moving, with participants genuinely entering into the process, working on their issues, growing in the ability to forgive life's hurts, let go and move on. Here Fr. Bill speaks about the spiritual burden that so many carry around like a bag of garbage, urging us all to take a risk, deal with the burden, learn to forgive, apologize and be reconcilied with one another. There was healing that was happening even as he spoke. The Spirit of Jesus was truly present with us all through the sessions.
Each session begins with a procession with the Word of God, a proclamation of a scripture passage and the enthronement of the Bible. Here Sr. Ethel Detz OP proclaims the word with the help of two candle holders.
An important part of the process is the opportunity to share in small groups after each presentation. Here Fr. Susai, the pastor, shares with his group.
Each night we were blessed by the presence of several youth who participated very well and hopefully benefited from this unique experience.
Following the small group sharing, participants are invited to share their thoughts and feelings with the larger group. Here Elie Sewap shares his wisdom and experience with the others.
Each night a ritual took place to help participants integrate and celebrate what they learned and experienced during that session. The Wednesday night session focused on gifts and talents that each was given by our creator God. They then placed a slip of paper with a gift written on it on a flip chart. Here Valerie Morin places her gift on the flipchart, to be followed by all the rest.
Each night the session ended with the Our Father, a song, warm fuzzies, lunch and fellowship. Pictured here are about a third of the participants.
Monday, December 6, 2010
On December 5th, the second Sunday of Advent, Archbishop Sylvain Lavoie OMI presided over the sacraments of initation for around 80 eager candidates. Pictured here are most of the group of candidates who were confirmed, with many of them also receiving Holy Communion for the first time.
Fr. Susai Jesus OMI with his helpers has been working hard for the past two months preparing these candidates. He is implementing the new policy of restoring the order of sacraments that many dioceses in Canada are now doing. This practice puts the sacrament of confirmation after baptism, as the completion of baptism, and before First Communion, which then becomes the final and ultimate sacrament of initation. The theology behind this teaching is that confirmation is primarily a free gift of grace to help one grow in the faith, rather than a sacrament of maturity for service as was the case in the past.