By Warren Brady
Diocese of Great Falls-Billings.
In the Diocese of Great Falls/Billings representing St. Labre Indian School in Ashland, MT, Father Michael Schneider led our pilgrimage group to Vatican City for the 2012 St. Kateri Tekakwitha Canonization Mass. On our first evening in Rome, we gathered with the entire Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions’ pilgrimage group where the United States Embassy to the Holy See held a reception in honor of the New American Saints on the grounds of Vatican City.
On October 21, 2012 thousands pilgrims gathered in prayerful anticipation. Flags representing many nations of the earth stood throughout St. Peter’s Square. Following a triumphant procession, Pope Benedict XVI led the Mass of Canonization. Being in attendance at this Mass in recognition of Sainthood for Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha and the six other holy men and women declared Blessed by the Church brought immeasurable joy. Songs and words of praise filled St. Peter’s Square when all seven of the Blesseds were recognized as Saints. Nearly 70 years from Venerable Kateri’s cause for sainthood opened by Pope Pius XII and over thirty from Blessed Kateri’s Beatification in 1980, we stood together as she was declared St. Kateri Tekakwitha.
On October 22, 2012 in St. Peter’s Basilica we had a Mass of Thanksgiving. In Kiowa, Comanche, and English song and word we celebrated the Liturgy of the Word and Liturgy of the Eucharist under the Chair of St. Peter. In the documentary Saint Kateri Tekakwitha: A Pilgimage into Her Heart. The Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Philadelphia says: “It was like bringing the gift of the Native Cultures into the heart of the Church.”
In addition to many family and friends, I’ve been able to share experiences from our St. Kateri Canonization pilgrimage through pictures and slides at the St. Joseph Catholic Parish in Hysham, MT and the Big Sky Cum Christo Group in Miles City, MT. This fall I had the privilege of meeting with the Angela’s Piazza St. Kateri Circle in Billings, MT. One goal of the Billings St. Kateri Circle is to begin again their hospital prayer ministry. I had the privilege of offering St. Kateri rosaries I brought to the Canonization Mass to assist in this goal. In the spirit of St. Kateri, I’m raising awareness for clean water related issues. For water well repair/development in Bishop Emeritus Macram Gassis’ Diocese of El Obeid, Sudan in the Nuba Mountains of central Sudan (www.combonimissionaries.org). Also for the St. Bonaventure Indian Mission and School (www.stbonaventuremission.org) and DIGDEEP Water (www.digdeepwater.org/Navajo) in the their collective effort to develop a centralized water well and home-based elevated water storage systems at Smith Lake, New Mexico on the Eastern Navajo Reservation.