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Nota Bene Nov. 29, 2018

National coalition of First Nations people, Catholics is growing

By Agnieszka Ruck

Members of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle at their biannual meeting in October. (Photo submitted)

A coalition of Catholic organizations interested in improving relations with First Nations people and promoting their dignity and rights is growing.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle was formed in 2016, after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, by four national organizations: the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Canadian Religious Conference, the Canadian Catholic Indigenous Council, and Development and Peace.

But as of the group's biannual meeting in Ottawa this October, seven national organizations are now represented. At the two-day event, Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle memberes discussed their mission statement and pledged to educate members of these national organizations on First Nations spiritual and cultural practices and to serve as catalysts for encounter and dialogue between the Catholic Church and Indigenous people.

The latest organizations to jump on board include the Catholic Women's League of Canada, the Society of St. Vincent De Paul, and the Knights of Columbus. Four religious orders are also represented in the circle: Jesuits of Canada, Sisters of Charity - Halifax, Sisters of Providence of Western Canada, and the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

"The circle is making a significant effort to ensure a balance of Indigenous and non-Indigenous voices, united by their common baptism and faith as Catholics," they said in a press release.

Their next meeting is set for March 2019.