Of special note was and continues to be the Board’s support and active promotion of the National Catholic Tekakwitha Conference. The Conference was first called into session by Bishop Aloisius J. Muench of Fargo, North Dakota, who later was named a cardinal of the Church. In 1977 there were 48 conference participants at the annual meeting in Rapid City, South Dakota. In 1980 in Denver, Colorado, Cardinal John Krol and 23 members of the hierarchy joined in prayer and meetings with 640 representatives at the 41st annual conference.
Now over 2,000 delegates annually attend the Tekakwitha Conference gathering. The Conference rotates sites are one year West, the next in the East and the third year in the Midwest. Conference meetings have been held in Bozeman, Montana; Collegeville, Minnesota; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Syracuse, New York; Seattle, Washington; and Tucson, Arizona, for example.
The Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions has been a strong supporter and collaborator with the Tekakwitha Conference.
As a result of the interest there is a full-time Tekakwitha Conference Office in Great Falls, Montana. Participants, lay and religious, from all corners of the United States, are now dialoguing through the Conference on Native American liturgy, ministry, family life, catechesis, advocacy, inculturation, youth and education. Workshops provide among other things assistance with alcohol and drug prevention.
The Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions has been a strong supporter and collaborator with the Tekakwitha Conference. Catholic Native People of the Americas and those working with them, hierarchy, religious and lay, are united in the national voice to speak for the spiritual and social needs of the Indian community. The various tribes in the United States, numbering over 600, are united and give encouragement to one another through the Conference.
In many Reservations, city, urban and other jurisdictions there are groups meeting monthly known as Blessed Kateri Circles. The purpose is to assist the Native Americans to strengthen their Faith and participate more actively in the Church.
Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions Photo Archive: