Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Yesterday we had the honor of attending daily Mass at a Church founded locally on Native land in 1860. The Church (structure) was built in 1885, and was relocated to its current site in about 1923.

Though the Church building is very small, the faith of its people, and their cultural traditions interwoven into the liturgy make it seem much larger. Native drums and chanting led the procession and the recession (start and end of Mass), and were also used in place of bells at the consecration.

The Mass was celebrated by our Archbishop, and concelebrated by 7 other priests, including our pastor. The people presented a beautiful blanket to the Archbishop, and proceeded to pin "love offerings" (cash!) onto the blanket. The Archbishop wore a miter given to him by Native people from his old post in Montana. It was so intricately beaded! The beads were so small you had to be looking right up close to see them.

The Mass was followed by a feast of smoked salmon, fresh crab, and all kinds of other salads and desserts. We were treated like honored guests, the welcome we received was so touching.

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