1-November-2012 -- EWTNews Feature |

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Canadians celebrating Saint Kateri's canonization with national Mass

This Sunday, some 2,500 people will gather at St. Joseph's Oratory in Montreal to celebrate the canonization of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha with a Mass of thanksgiving.

"This event will be a great honour to all of North America, but also in a particular way to its Aboriginal Peoples, of whom Kateri will be the first to receive this dignity," Archbishop Richard W. Smith of Edmonton said, anticipating Saint Kateri's canonization.

The Mass is a Canadian national celebration of the first indigenous North American woman to be recognized as a saint.

The main celebrant of the Mass will be Bishop Lionel Gendron of the Saint Jean-Longueuil diocese. It is to be held Nov. 4 at 2:30 p.m. in Saint Joseph's Oratory.

Several other Canadian bishops are to concelebrate. Among them are Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher of Gatineau; Archbishop Christian Lepine of Montreal; Bishop Jacques Berthelet, emeritus of Saint Jean-Longueuil; and Bishop Louis Dicaire, auxiliary of Saint Jean-Longueuil.

The Mass will also be attended by representatives from the First Nations of Canada, the Canadian Catholic Aboriginal Council, and Kahnawake - the Canadian community where St. Kateri eventually settled.

St. Kateri was canonized Oct. 21 by Pope Benedict at St. Peter's Square, along with six other people. Some 1,500 Canadian pilgrims traveled to Rome for the canonization.

Indigenous people across Canada and the United States have been holding celebrations since St. Kateri was raised to the altars.

The Shrine of Kateri Tekakwitha in Kahnawake held a vigil and Mass at the same time as the canonization on Oct. 20, followed by another liturgy on Oct. 21.

In honor of St. Kateri, the Diocese of Gallup will open an Office of Native American Ministry on Nov. 1.

St. Kateri was born in upstate New York in 1656.

Her father was a Mohawk chief, and her mother was an Algonquin who was raised Catholic.

She was orphaned at age four by a smallpox epidemic that left her with poor eyesight and a badly scarred face.

After encountering and discussing the faith with several Jesuit priests, St. Kateri was baptized, despite objections from her family.

Her conversion caused her tribe to disown her, so St. Kateri fled to Canada, where she devoted herself to prayer and the Blessed Sacrament.

Read more: http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/Americas.php?id=6448#ixzz2AzLI3eF4

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