Diocesan Home Mission's History
Following the example of previous Bishops, Bishop Paul O'Byrne reached out to the Native People of the Diocese of Calgary who, to show appreciation, made Bishop Paul an honorary Blackfoot Chief.
"In the past, responsibility for the Native Communities had rested primarily with Oblate missionaries, the Grey Nuns and the Sisters of Providence".
"As the Sisters aged and their number decreased it became more difficult for the Grey Nuns and the Sisters of Providence to sustain their educational, medical and catechetical work among the Native peoples of the Diocese. -- By the mid seventies the Mission Council began to re-evaluate past practice in light of the Church's new theology of mission. Rather than send non Native priests and missionaries to minister on reserves the Mission Council advocated the training of Native Christian leaders. To achieve this, the Church needed to listen to the Native People and to help them restore confidence in themselves and their cultural identity. -- In the wake of the controversy surrounding residential schools, healing and reconciliation within Native communities and between Natives and the Church became a priority for the Diocesan Mission Council. The Mission Council supported the development of a Native Leadership Program and the work of the Father Latour Native Pastoral Centre among urban Natives."
(Information obtained from "Winds of Change pg. 50,51)
Although there are five Native Reserves in the Diocese of Calgary only four Churches serve Catholic parishioners and two of these remain ministered to by Oblate Priests.
The Kateri Council was formed to provide the four Native Churches the opportunity to have a voice, share ideas and concerns with one another. These discussions take place today and any pertinent information is then passed on to Bishop Henry.
Whom We Serve
For more information about each Native Church, see below: