The Dene peoples of this diocese have taught me much about walking with Our Lord during the sacred and holy time of Lent and now Easter.
Lenten devotions are strong among the Sahtu Dene people, as I experienced in the communities of Deline, Tulita, Ft. Good Hope, and Colville Lake. In addition to celebrating many Masses, hearing many Confessions, praying many Rosaries, and blessing many homes, we were faced with a tragic death of a young woman in Fort Good Hope. However, I am grateful for the lessons shown me regarding how we need to support one another in crisis through prayer, presence with family and community.
I am also in awe regarding the remarkable and amazing contribution of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, who established many churches and provided pastoral ministry for decades to the peoples of this region. The oblates were not only ‘priests’ to these people, but also teachers, builders, and care-givers.
Holy Week and the Easter Triduum was spent with the Athabasca Dene peoples of Fond du Lac, Black Lake, and Stony Rapids. These communities are truly filled with devout and faith-filled people!! They are also young – at least half of the people who came to Mass and many hours of Confessions were children, youth, and young-adults. These young people are also very socially adept. I wonder if this is not in some part due to the fact there is yet no cell service in the area!
God has indeed blessed the Dene people with a deep faith and spirituality, and hunger for all that is sacred and good. I am grateful for their tremendous welcome and support, and look forward to journeying together as we discern and live God’s plan for His people in this place and time.
The line-up to venerate the Cross.