During the month of July two national gatherings will take place. The first is the 73rd annual Tekakwitha Conference to take place in Albany from July 18 through July 22. The theme is “Walking in the Footsteps of Kateri at her Birth Place.” The other is the National Black Catholic Congress XI which will also take place from July 18 through July 21. The theme for the congress is “Faith Engaged: Empower. Equip. Evangelize.”
On June 9 we had the honor of having Sister Kateri Mitchell, executive director of the Tekakwitha Conference speak at the Blessed Kateri pilgrimage held at Our Lady of Fatima Shrine in Lewiston. There was also a monologue of Blessed Kateri’s life done by Terri Steele. Deacon Ron Boyer, vice postulator of the Cause of Canonization of Blessed Kateri, delivered the homily. The Akwesasne Singers from the Akwesasne Mohawk Reservation provided music at the Mass.
Sister Kateri Mitchell took the opportunity to invite all those present to the conference and said how by God’s mercy and love, this year’s conference, the year of the canonization of Blessed Kateri, just so happened to be in the homeland of the “Lily of the Mohawks,” Kateri Country. As part of this year’s conference the participants will go on a pilgrimage to Fonda, home of the National Kateri Shrine where she was baptized, followed by a five-mile bus ride to Auriesville, Shrine of the North American Martyrs. Syracuse bishop, the Most Rev. Robert J. Cunningham will celebrate liturgy. Members from Holy Family Church on the Tuscarora Reservation, some from the conference planning committee, will attend.
Blessed Kateri’s canonization will take place in Rome Oct. 21. There will be an official pilgrimage with the Black and Indian Mission and the Tekakwitha Conference to Rome. For information visit their website (www.tekconf.org/canonization.php).
The first National Black Catholic Congress took place on Jan. 1, 1889, in Washington, D.C. The congress, founded by Daniel Rudd, offered opportunities for black Catholics to speak for themselves on the issues of evangelization, spirituality, education and the plight of black Americans. Since 1987, the National Black Catholic Congress has been taking place every five years. The last congress was held here in the Diocese of Buffalo in 2007.
Thanks to a grant from the Foundation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, 39 people from around our diocese will be traveling to Indianapolis for the congress. There is much excitement as we prepare for the pilgrimage. Edward Dean, from St. Anthony Church in Lackawanna, will be awarded with the Outstanding African-American Award from the National Black Catholic Congress for his outstanding leadership in the church and in the community. We congratulate him and are very proud of him.
Please pray for all those who will be attending these events.
Peace pole service brings time to reflect on God's creation
Making a Difference: Congress is turning its back on the poor