Our Lady of Guadalupe
Feast Day December 12
Patron of the Americas
Issue: Seeking justice and equality for aboriginal peoples.
The first missionaries who went to Mexico with the conquistadors had little success in converting the population (not surprisingly considering the total enslavement of the people).
Then in 1531 miracles began to happen. Our Lady appeared to an Aztec peasant, Juan Diego and gave signs for all to understand, roses out of season, a miraculous cure and the beautiful image of herself which appeared on the mantle of Juan Diego.
These miracles convinced the people that Christianity was for them as well as the invaders. Within a short time six million Native Americans had themselves baptized as Christians.
Mary appeared to Juan Diego not as a European Madonna but as an Aztec princess speaking to him in his own Aztec language.
When the Christian message was associated mostly with the conquistadors it was not generally accepted so Our Lady appeared to show the native peoples that the Good News was indeed for them and also to show the rest of us how the gospel is to be spread.
We must be like St. Paul “all things to all men” and spread our glad tidings within the culture and language of the people for whom it is intended (ie Guadalupe Aboriginal Faith Community - A parish in the diocese of Saskatoon).
- Aboriginal people now make up more than 15% of the provincial population.
- It is estimated by 2050, it will be close 40%
- Young people 0-19 make up about 40% of the registered Indian population with close to half in the cities living with single mothers.
- High school completion is in the range of 50% with unemployment close to 30%.
- Over 30% in Prairie federal prisons are aboriginals yet the aboriginal population is half that Aboriginal provincial prisoners make up 75% of the total incarcerated.
- Of aboriginal prisoners interviewed 75% have suffered childhood abuse. For most, abuse and violence are facts of childhood and adult life. Other features are the high incidence of instability in the home and family life, chronically transient, few skills, little formal education, chronic unemployment, low socio-economic status, substandard housing, inadequate health care, lack of recreational facilities.
- We need to bring a measure of justice to the lives of these people who have suffered from the way their ancestors have been treated, often by European Christians.
- We must do this if we want Aboriginal people to live a life of justice and peace to which we all feel entitled.
- Giving money and food continues dependency
- Support educational activities at Food Bank
- Support Our Lady of Guadalupe House in its parish role.
- Find opportunities for helping individuals or groups to improve their education or skills.
- Support (money or work) Friendship House
- Press the Government to introduce positive policies helping Aboriginal communities with health and education.