Pastoral Message for Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples

Tuesday, May 11 1999

(CCCB — Ottawa) — On the occasion of Solemnity of the Ascension, the CCCB’s Episcopal Commission for the Evangelization of Peoples is publishing a pastoral message for Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples who are Roman Catholics.

Entitled Rediscovering, Recognising and Celebrating the Spiritual Heritage of Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples, the message flows out of a consultation with Aboriginal Catholics across the country and was developed as a contribution to the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000.

The message is a response to a need identified by pastors and pastoral workers attempting to nurture a more fully inculturated expression of the church in Native Communities. It recognises Native communities are experiencing a revitalization in social, political and cultural terms, which is also accompanied by a rediscovery of the spiritual foundations of aboriginal ways of life.

“The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in aboriginal traditions” write the four bishops who signed the pastoral message in the name of the Commission. And they encourage Aboriginal Catholics “to recognise, preserve and promote the spiritual, moral and cultural values found within your traditions and to work together in a spirit of prudent and charitable dialogue and collaboration.”

The Pastoral message will be distributed in all Aboriginal Catholic parishes across Canada on Sunday May 16, 1999, the Solemnity of the Ascension. It is available upon request from the Office for the Evangelization of Peoples, 90 Parent Avenue, Ottawa, ON, K1N 7B1. You can also contact the office by telephone: (613) 241- 9461; fax: (613) 241-8117 or electronic mail :