Mission Priest, Fr. Esprit FMI
Mission of Saint Francis-Xavier / Sanctuary of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha
The Mass of a silent nature : a journey
The Mission of Saint Francis Xavier / Sanctuary of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha welcomes everyone to experience the Sunday Mass in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility. This is the meeting point of the spirituality and culture of the Mohawk people and that of Christianity. Everyone is invited to make this pilgrimage to the Mission at least once per year to experience this beauty and internal peace that are present in this Sanctuary – which is the only Sanctuary in North America where an indigenous Saint is buried. Additionally, it is the only Sanctuary in the world where a Mohawk woman Saint is buried. Thanks to the Jesuit Fathers and to the past Parish Priest who followed the Jesuits in serving the Mohawk people, and to the faith of the Mohawk people themselves, this sanctuary has been able to preserve an authentic, profound, simple and life-giving celebration of the Sunday Mass, as it embraces cultural and spiritual elements of the Mohawk First Nations in Kahnawake. Three cultural and spiritual elements of the Mohawk people variably identify the Sunday Mass at Kahnawake – Silence, the Mohawk language, the native crowns on head of the Blessed Virgin and Saint Kateri Tekakwitha and indigenous rite of purification approved by Pope John Paul II. This is an account of my experience of the Sunday Eucharistic celebration with the Mohawk people at the Sanctuary of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha in Kahnawake.