Fort Duchesne's Kateri Tekakwitha Center marks 50 years

Friday, Oct. 05, 2007
Fort Duchesne's Kateri Tekakwitha Center marks 50 years Photo 1 of 2
Members of the Hill Creek Singers play traditional drums and chant at the beginning of Mass. Bishop Wester said the drums and chanting, ?put us in the presence of God.?

FORT DUCHESNE — The 50th anniversary of the Kateri Tekakwitha Center in Fort Duchesne was not only a time for celebration, it was a time for old friends to visit – Father David Schorr, who served the Uintah Basin area for four years, and Franciscan Sister Margaret Liam Glennane, who served with him; Sister of St. Ann Kateri Mitchell of Great Falls Mont., executive director of the National Kateri Tekakwitha Conference and all Kateri Circles. They and Bishop John C. Wester were welcomed happily by Tekakwitha Center members and parishioners of St. Helen Parish, Roosevelt and St. James Parish, Vernal.

The Mass, celebrated by Bishop Wester and concelebrated by Fr. Schorr and Father Beda Msaki, pastor of St. Roosevelt Parish, drew a larger crowd than organizers were expecting, said Pat Musich of St. Roosevelt Parish, "but we are thrilled to have all of them here."

In pre-Mass ceremonies, Frank Arrowchis welcomed visitors and friends and introduced special guests, each of whom offered rich Native American elements to the event. Maxine Natchees offered an opening prayer in the Ute language and Leo Tapoos, also a member of the Ute Tribe, offered the Blessing of the Four Directions with burning sweet sage.

"When someone asks you to pray,

said Tapoos, who felt inadequate to offer a prayer for the event, "say yes, and your spirit will jump for joy."

Members of the Hill Creek Singers chanted ancient words to the beat of skin drums.

Fr. Schorr brought with him a reliquary containing a relic of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, who lacks only one miracle to become the Catholic Church’s first African American saint.

In his homily, Bishop Wester spoke of the importance of Christians being present to each other and those around them, especially the poor. Citing the Gospel story of Lazarus and Divas, the bishop said Jesus was present to sinners, the poor, the ill, and those marginalized by society. "The Gospel calls us to be present to each other. The question we must ask is, is the Lord speaking through those people we usually ignore? Our friends? Our spouses? The poor? Others?"

Bishop Wester said our culture has made people invisible so we have ignored the rich traditions of our indigenous people and the gifts they have to offer us. The Tekakwitha Center, he said, has answered the Gospel challenges.

The Mass was followed by a luncheon at St. Helen Parish with recognition of the Center’s supporters.

For questions, comments or to report inaccuracies on the website, please CLICK HERE.
© Copyright 2020 The Diocese of Salt Lake City. All rights reserved.