New coalition to strengthen relations with Indigenous peoples

January 23, 2017

Seven catholic organizations come together to create Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle

Development and Peace—Caritas is proud to become part of a new coalition, composed of six catholic organizations, whose goal is to foster relations with Indigenous Peoples.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle brings together Indigenous peoples, Bishops, clergy, lay people, and institutes of consecrated life engaged in renewing and fostering relationships between the Catholic Church and Indigenous peoples in Canada. The coalition’s mission is fourfold:

  1. To provide a discussion forum for its members that encourages a deeper understanding of the relationships between the Church, Indigenous peoples and Indigenous spirituality in Canada;
  2. To serve as a united Catholic public voice on relations and dialogue between the Church, Indigenous people and Indigenous spirituality in Canada;
  3. To help Catholics engage with the Truth and Reconciliation process and its Calls to Action;
  4. To carry out agreed-upon initiatives and concrete actions.

“It is with humility and hope that we join this coalition, which represents another step towards improving our relationships with the Indigenous peoples of Canada,” said Josianne Gauthier, Director of In-Canada Programs, Development and Peace. “The development of a forum where participants can share their experiences with the Church and Canada’s Indigenous peoples is an essential part of creating a truly effective reconciliation process.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle

Development and Peace—Caritas is proud to become part of a new coalition, composed of six catholic organizations, whose goal is to foster relations with Indigenous Peoples.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle held its first official meeting at the offices of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) on December 5, 2016. Its institutional members are the Canadian Catholic Aboriginal Council (CCAC), CCCB, Canadian Religious Conference (CRC), Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace / Caritas Canada (CCODP), Saint Vincent de Paul Society, Knights of Columbus, and The Catholic Women’s League of Canada. Along with two CCAC representatives—Chair Deacon Rennie Nahanee and Vice-Chair Mr. Irving Papineau. The Indigenous members are Mrs. Rosella Kinoshameg, the Honourable Graydon Nicholas and Sister Priscilla Solomon, C.S.J.

Our Lady of Guadalupe was proclaimed patroness of the Americas by Pope Pius XII in 1946. The devotion dates to 1531 when the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared as a young Aztec woman to Juan Diego, a convert to Christianity whose Indigenous name was Cuauhtlatoatzin (“Eagle Who Speaks”). The site of the apparition was called the Hill of Tepeyac, which eventually became part of Villa de Guadalupe, a suburb of Mexico City. Today the site is an international Marian shrine. Each year, some 20 million pilgrims and visitors come to the shrine, uniting Indigenous and non-Indigenous Catholics from all the Americas. Authentic devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe shows how the Catholic faith is expressed in Indigenous cultures. In 2002, Juan Diego was declared a Saint by the Catholic Church.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle’s complete mission statement is available at www.cccb.ca.