Sunday, August 20, 2017
   
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International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

According to the UN, it is estimated that there are 370 million Indigenous people in the world, living across 90 countries; Canada being one of them. 

People of Indigenous origin comprise less than 5% of the world’s population but account for 15% of the poorest. They speak an overwhelming majority of the world's estimated 7,000 languages and represent 5,000 different cultures.
 
International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples has been celebrated on August 9th since 1995. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the UN’s declaration on the rights of Indigenous peoples. 
 
The concerns of Canada’s Indigenous population have been brought to the forefront of our awareness as a result of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
 
As we approach August 9, we are reminded of the similarity in Catholic and Indigenous spiritualities as both are committed to worship the one true God who loves all God’s creatures.
 
Let us pray during these times of global transition by following the Indigenous custom of praying in the four directions:
 
God of the East, the rising sun invites us to be hope-filled people. May hope abide in our hearts as we join in communion with all our brothers and sisters of the East.
 
God of the South, we praise and thank you this day for the warmth we have known through friends and loved ones. We unite with all people who dwell in southern lands that they will know compassion and care, especially in times of difficulty.
 
God of the West, the sunsets of the western sky remind us of the goodbyes that we often face in life. Take what is dying in us, or needs to die and bless it and us with a depth of understanding that birth can follow death, if we are open to God’s grace.
 
God of the North, this is the land of endurance and courage. The darkness of winter can be a time of growth. Help us to stand in solidarity with all those who face long, cold winters in their lives.
 
God who dwells with all your people, help us to appreciate that we are all your dwelling place. No matter what the seasons of our hearts, or the direction of our lives, you never leave us. Give us the faith to trust the process of growth and to surrender to the mystery of transformation that occurs in life.
 
Amen. 

Based on a traditional prayer of Indigenous Peoples.

By Sister Theresa Rodgers

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