On Sacraments and sacred signs

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By Bishop Gary Gordon

Rennie and Emma Nahannee of Squamish Nation lead the song in God’s Cathedral. Rennie is director of Native ministry in the Archdiocese of Vancouver. Photos courtesy of Bishop Gary Gordon

On July 9-11, the Directions in Aboriginal Ministry conference was held at Rosemary Retreat Centre in the Archdiocese of Vancouver, British Columbia.

The Assembly of Western Catholic Bishops Standing Committee on Aboriginal Ministry, with the assistance and leadership of Sister Eva Solomon, C.S.J., and in cooperation with Newman Theological College, hosted this workshop, now in its seventh year.

The focus of this year’s gathering was on “The Sacraments, Sacred Signs, and Ceremonies.”

The Aboriginal people of Canada have a rich history of ceremony and prayer, a rich tapestry of grace and blessing that enriches and informs the sacramental ministry of the Church.

The four days were an experience of Christ in Word and Sacrament, deepening our respective cultural identities and who each person is as a child of God, called by name in Baptism and called by name in a family and a culture.

The gathering represented distinct regions and cultures of Aboriginal peoples from Ontario to Vancouver Island, and the far North of Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

The distinct culture of the Coast Salish Nations was predominant at the conference, with its indigenous and beautiful traditions enhancing and deepening our understanding of Baptism and the Covenant of God’s abiding love.

Thank you, Catholic Missions In Canada. Your support makes such work possible.

Bishop Gary Gordon, past Bishop of the Diocese of Whitehorse, has just been appointed Bishop-elect of the Diocese of Victoria, British Columbia, by the Holy Father, Pope Francis.

Reprinted from Catholic Missions In Canada magazine, Fall 2014.