Posts Tagged ‘Native Ministries’

Jesuit Highlights Consequences of Budget Cuts for Native Americans

Jesuit Father George WinzenburgThe New York Times recently reported that sequestration cuts are hurting Native American communities, including the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, where the Jesuits have served since 1888. Jesuit Father George Winzenburg, president of Pine Ridge’s Red Cloud Indian School, spoke to The New York Times about the sense of resignation that has set in on the reservation.

“It’s one more reminder that our relationship with the federal government is a series of broken promises,” Fr. Winzenburg said. “It’s a series of underfunded projects and initiatives that we were told would be funded to allow us to live at the quality of life that other Americans do.”

According to reservation officials and residents, the poverty trap that has plagued the reservation for generations will likely be exacerbated by recent developments in federal policy. When budget cuts went into effect on March 1, many programs were exempted that benefit low-income Americans, but virtually none of the programs aiding American Indians were included on that list, reported The New York Times.

“Imagine how people feel who can’t help themselves,” said Robert Brave Heart Sr., executive vice president of Red Cloud Indian School. “It’s a condition that a lot of people believe is the result of the federal government putting them in that position, a lot of people are set up for failure. People have no hope and no ability whatsoever to change their fate in life. You take resources that they have, that are taken away, it just adds to the misery.”

Read the full story at The New York Times website.

Jesuit Travels to Rome for Canonization of First Native American Saint

Jesuit Father Patrick TwohyOne of the highlights of 2012 for Jesuit Father Patrick Twohy was traveling to Rome in October to watch Pope Benedict XVI canonize seven saints. “This is so right, the Church honoring those who lived the beatitudes,” Fr. Twohy recalls thinking of the experience.

After being called 40 years ago to serve Native American people, Fr. Twohy was in Rome to celebrate the canonization of Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American saint.

Fr. Twohy, who is director of the Rocky Mountain Mission for the Northwest Jesuits and chaplain to Native Americans of the Seattle Archdiocese, traveled to the Vatican with a group of about 40 Native people from several Northwest tribes.

“We were there with many tribes. They all claim her because the honor of one is the honor of all. That certainly was the case on that wonderful day,” Fr. Twohy said.

As a member of the Tekakwitha Conference — the only annual gathering of Catholic Native peoples in North America — Fr. Twohy had prayed with about 1,000 others for the canonization of Kateri each year since Pope John Paul II beatified her in 1980.

“To have her honored is to honor all Native peoples, the sanctity of their lives and the beauty of their culture. I was blessed to be standing in St. Peter’s piazza with all these grandmothers and great grandmothers whose guidance I so value,” said Fr. Twohy, one of 12 Jesuits who serve Native Americans throughout the Northwest.

The Jesuits have a 170-year history with Native Americans, according to Fr. Twohy, who moved to the Colville Reservation at Nespelem, Wash., in 1973.

“That was the beginning and it has gotten deeper and more profound with each year for me,” said Fr. Twohy. “Now I see the world with a double richness. I belong to the Catholic tradition and that worldview and to those people whose wisdom spans thousands and thousands of years. I want to journey forever with them into the next world.”

Fr. Twohy joined the Jesuits at 18. “Ever since I was young, I’ve always been drawn to the mystery, that which is hidden in all things,” he said. “When I met the Jesuits who taught me in high school, I was deeply impressed with the width of their learning, the width of their hearts and their engagement with the world.”

For more, read the article by Annie Beckmann on the Seattle University website.

South Dakota Native Ministries Featured on EWTN Live Tonight!

Jesuit Father John Hatcher and Jesuit Tom Olson will be the featured guests tonight on fellow Jesuit Father Mitch Pacwa’s EWTN Live, scheduled to broadcast at 8pm EST. They will be interviewed about their ongoing work on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

Olson, who is in his final year of regency at St. Francis Mission on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, serves as the Executive Assistant to the President for Advancement and Fr. Hatcher, is the current Superior and President of St. Francis Mission.

St. Francis Mission operates according to a new model of doing mission and ministry among Native Americans. Recovery, spiritual formation, and education are each of essential importance to this new model, which is truly holistic and seeks to address the cross-generational social, economic, and spiritual struggles that are suffered by Native Americans. In its application of this solution, the Mission operates 2 drug and alcohol recovery centers, 6 parishes, a dental clinic, 3 religious education centers, a museum, and a radio station. In addition, the Mission has plans to open a nativity-styled school next year.

These programs provide practical, short and long-term solutions to the myriad social, economic, and spiritual problems that Lakota people face. Perhaps most importantly, these programs give Lakota Catholics a real opportunity to become leaders in establishing a Church on the Rosebud Reservation that is unabashedly Catholic and vibrantly Lakota.

Please tune in to EWTN tonight at 8pm EST to learn about this growing and important ministry! When the video becomes available, we’ll be sure to post it on National Jesuit News.