Denver Newsroom, Jun 18, 2021 / 13:10 pm
Native American ministry was an action item for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Thursday, as the relevant subcommittee sought approval for a new statement and a “comprehensive vision” for indigenous Catholics and those who serve them.
“There is at present no guide for the Catholic Church in the U.S. in approaching, understanding and promoting Catholic Native ministry,” said Bishop James Wall of Gallup, head of the Subcommittee on Native American Affairs under the U.S. bishops’ Standing Committee for Cultural Diversity.
In his June 17 remarks to the bishops’ spring assembly and in an interview with CNA, Wall outlined a plan for better enculturation of the Catholic faith, recognition of Native American ministry and spirituality, and the needs of Native American communities. He especially noted the need to address lingering issues of justice and reconciliation regarding historical matters like Catholic boarding schools that were part of the effort to assimilate and Americanize Native American children, often through coercion.
Native American Catholics have not had a new statement from the U.S. bishops in over four decades.