Indian Church, Archdiocese Clash Over Mass Elements

December 13, 2010

Author: Rose French

Source: The Minneapolis Star Tribune

Buffalo hide adorns the altar. Sage is burned to help cleanse the heart, soul and mind. Ojibwe and Lakota languages are used in many of the prayers and songs. Traditional Indian elements like these have been part of the worship service for decades at the Church of Gichitwaa Kateri in Minneapolis, the only Twin Cities Catholic parish with a predominantly Indian congregation.

The future use of Indian practices, however, is being questioned by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, which temporarily suspended mass at the church last month after conflict arose over the use of specialized wine.

The unrest at Gichitwaa Kateri comes at a time when Pope Benedict has called for renewed emphasis on tradition and uniformity in the Catholic church, leaving churches like Kateri wondering how many, if any, of their traditions may be compromised. Twin Cities Archbishop John Nienstedt also has a history of strongly adhering to orthodox church doctrine.