A few months back when the Indigenous delegation from Canada went to Rome, Father Susai Jesu went along to support and accompany them. He brought with him a letter of invitation inviting the Holy Father to come to Sacred Heart Church of the First Peoples parish, which is an indigenous parish that has significance in the Canadian church as the National indigenous parish, especially in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, B.C., and the North.
Sacred Heart invited Pope Francis, hoping that their parish could serve as a highly symbolic venue for his pilgrimage of healing and reconciliation.
Elder Fernie Marty, who has served the parish Indigenous community for over twenty years, and Father Mark Blom, OMI, are excited and also aware that this visit has a profound role in reconciliation, not just locally, but for the entire province and country.
Parishioner Patricia Golosky gratefully hopes for forgiveness, healing and a new beginning.
They believe that the pope seeing the potential for healing that the example set by their parish represents can benefit all people across Canada, with the example of Jesus serving and dwelling among us.
Combining Christian faith harmoniously with elements of indigenous tradition, such as the architecture detail of a teepee at the altar, the church is being rebuilt after a tragic fire, with the aim of being ready for the Holy Father’s arrival.
To support or donate to their effort, please go to sacredpeoples.com/rebuild/.
In the meantime, Sunday Masses continue at the neighbouring school, as well as space generously provided for other days’ Masses at St. Clare parish and at Santa Maria Goretti Italian parish, both also in central-north Edmonton. For details, see the parish’s website and Facebook page.