cursing BEFORE mass

i was scheduled to preside mass at christ our hope church this past sunday. as a i was looking for a parking spot in downtown seattle, i heard the incessant beat of drums. i saw a crowd in front of the church a block away. i finally found an open spot two blocks from there. as i walked up to the church, the crowd had dispersed, it was quiet and this is what i saw on the ground in front:

ahhh, it was a protest!

perhaps the protesters were spurred by pope francis’ visit to canada last month amid the discovery of 215 indigenous children that were found from a catholic boarding school? ( )

perhaps pope francis thought that his blanket apology in 2015 in bolivia for the church’s abuse of indigenous in all the americas was widely known? ( and )

on thing is certain: protests are born out of anger and hurt. the proper response to anger and hurt is a desire and actions toward healing, penance, reconciliation, and peace. in such situations, broken spirits and hearts want to hear “i am sorry; we are responsible; please forgive us.”

can there be a new a different relationship between the catholic community of believers and indigenous peoples? yes

is there a will to make this happen? hopefully

is there further need for understanding, dialogue and healing? definitely

perhaps we can highlight where this is already happening in the communities where catholics and indigenous have been collaborating for decades. we should listen especially carefully to indigenous catholics close to us and all around north, central and south america (as well as around the whole world).

official statements are needed from leadership. popes and bishops have given them. most of us have not read them. but the church is not just the pope and bishops– the church is the community, the people. you and i have our part to play. no part is insignificant when it comes to healing and understanding. how are your and my spirits in all of this hurt?

let us act inspired and guided by the Spirit.

so let us pray the:

Prayer for Tolerance, Forgiveness, Reconciliation 

O God, Creator and Father of all, 
with humility we your children acknowledge the relationship of all living things. 
For this we thank you, we praise you and we worship you. 
We call on you, Great Mystery, the Word made Flesh 
— our teacher, prophet and brother — 
to open our hearts to all our brothers and sisters, 
and with them to grow in the wisdom, honesty, courage 
and respectfulness shown in The Sacred Teachings. 
Give us the vision and honesty to recognize 
that the we are all brothers and sisters of one human family, 
created and sustained by the One Creator. 
As we deal with many challenges, may we never give way to fear and anger, 
which can be the source of division and threat amongst peoples. 
We look to how God always gives to us, 
as a remedy for sins of prejudice and intolerance. 
We see in God the Creator of all things, 
One who always provides and is generous 
— even given the abuses we have heaped on one another and on the Earth. 

We see in the Son, Jesus Christ 
— the innocent Victim who pours His life blood out from the Cross for all peoples. 
We see how the Holy Spirit is God’s gift, 
alive in our world today — 
inspiring vision and hope that we can have 
the same mind and heart of God! 
May Your Spirit bless the souls 
who died at the Kamloops residential school 
and all souls who died at residential schools. 
May this same Spirit also bring blessing and healing 
to all families and communities affected in any way by the schools. 
O Creator, show us the way to healing, 
forgiveness and reconciliation and a renewed fellowship. 

Amen , To mark the 25th anniversary of National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada on June 2021, the Canadian Conference Catholic Bishops (CCCB)


  1. Ellen Shannon says:

    Thank you, Fr. Art for your sensitivity to these issues, and your endeavor to bring us to understand and repent. We all need to realize the great need for reconciliation and healing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. frarthurcmf says:

      amen amen ellen. i should have added that these kind of apologies need to be particularized to new situations and places. we need to hear with our own ears, not just read it in a document. be well!


  2. DC says:

    Thank you for a reflection few would walk into. I think the Pope is scheduled for a December Canada trip. Was he there last month too?


  3. frarthurcmf says:

    yes don, check out the links in the post. i think it has been my years in community organizing that makes me actually gravitate to these emotional and volatile situations. be well my friend!


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