SASKATOON — Bishop Bryan Bayda, CSsR, of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saskatoon delivered a thought-provoking homily about Our Lady of Guadalupe during the Divine Liturgy Dec. 11 at St. George’s Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in Saskatoon. He also spoke of Dec. 12 as the National Day of Prayer in Solidarity with indigenous people, inviting the congregation to work together with all in a spirit of co-operation and solidarity.
Since 2002, the Canadian Catholic Conference of Bishops (CCCB) and the Canadian Catholic Aboriginal Council have promoted the annual National Day of Prayer celebrated on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
In 1946, Pope Pius XII proclaimed Our Lady of Guadalupe the Patroness of the Americas. In 1531, Our Lady appeared to an indigenous peasant, St. Juan Diego, at what is now Mexico City. With her appearance as an Aztec princess and through the symbols on her dress, the Aztecs understood her message. Human sacrifices were no longer required. This was enculturated evangelization, with nine million conversions to Catholicism in the next few years.
Recently, St. George’s Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral and Our Lady of Guadalupe Roman Catholic Parish have begun exploring a relationship together. Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish serves First Nations, Métis, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal parishioners in the heart of Saskatoon, based at Guadalupe House and celebrating mass at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church.
The Guadalupe parish community gathered Dec. 11 to celebrate the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Dec. 12) at St. Mary’s, beginning with smudging by community elders. Rev. Kevin McGee, diocesan administrator, presided at mass, which was concelebrated by Bayda and Rev. Graham Hill, CSsR, assisted by Deacon Paul Labelle.
After mass elders, clergy, parishioners and visitors shared a traditional feast.