“The Catholic community is blessed, enriched and profoundly challenged by the faith of Native Americans in our midst. We ask the Catholic community to join us in seeking new understanding and awareness of their situation and in committing our church to new advocacy and action with our Native American brothers and sisters on issues of social justice and pastoral life which touch their lives.”
Excerpt from the 2003 “Native American Catholics at the Millennium”
Prayer for Centering
Great Spirit Prayer
Oh, Great Spirit,
Whose voice I hear in the winds
and whose breath gives life to all the world.
Hear me! I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty, and make my eyes
ever hold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made
and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise so that I may understand
the things you have taught my people.
Let me learn the lessons you have hidden
in every leaf and rock.
Help me remain calm and strong in the
face of all that comes towards me.
Help me find compassion without
empathy overwhelming me.
I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother,
but to fight my greatest enemy: myself.
Make me always ready to come to you
with clean hands and straight eyes.
So when life fades, as the fading sunset,
my spirit may come to you without shame.
– Translated by Lakota Sioux Chief Yellow Lark in 1887
Invitation to Silence
The Coventry Litany of Reconciliation
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
The hatred which divides nation from nation, race from race, class from class,
The covetous desires of people and nations to possess what is not their own,
The greed which exploits the work of human hands and lays waste the earth,
Our envy of the welfare and happiness of others,
Our indifference to the plight of the imprisoned, the homeless, the refugee,
The lust which dishonors the bodies of men, women and children,
The pride which leads us to trust in ourselves and not in God,
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another,
as God in Christ forgave you.
Weekly Reflection Questions:
- Do I perpetuate the myth that America was “discovered” by Europeans or do I share the true story of the Indigenous men and women who originally inhabited this continent?
- Have I ever attended Milwaukee’s Native American Catholic Church-The Congregation of the Great Spirit located at Congregation of the Great Spirit at 1000 W. Lapham Blvd.?
- What can I do this Thanksgiving to both seek forgiveness and offer thanks to the Indigenous Peoples of this great country?