At the Vatican in October, the long-awaited canonization of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha will occur, along with the canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod of the Philippines and five others.
Some from the Diocese of Tucson will be on hand in Rome to witness the sainthood of the first Native American, the martyr from the Philippines and the others on Oct. 21.
Meanwhile, before, during and after the canonizations, many more will take part in local celebrations of the occasion.
Among the events will be the 21st annual Tekakwitha Indian Festival and fundraiser on Sept. 8 and 9 in Tucson at El Senor de los Milagros Church, 3410 S. 16th Ave., behind Pueblo High School.
The festival begins at noon both days and admission is free. Entertainment will include live music and activities for children, Bingo and Native American food. Native American arts and crafts will be for sale.
A major day-long celebration will be held on Oct. 20 at San Xavier del Bac Mission south of Tucson, and the public is invited. Bring a chair and some shade if you can.
At 10 a.m., spiritual runners bearing a statue of Kateri will jog from Highway 19 to the church yard, where the statue will be enthroned and there will be a blessing by the dancers.
At 11 a.m., a Mass will be celebrated on the patio outdoors in front of the church, led by Father Tom Frost, who served in the mission for 26 years. Father Alfonso Vasquez will be the homilist, and prayers will be said in Native American languages.
A lunch will follow and the Four-Star Kwailya will kick off the entertainment, which will include the Pacqua Yaqui deer dance and pascola dance and the Tohono O’odham basket dance. A play on the biography of Kateri will be performed by the youth of Blessed Kateri Parish, and interactive Yaqui arts and crafts demonstrations will be offered.
The day will conclude at 4:30 p.m. with a rousing performance by Native American drum groups.
Coinciding with the canonizations, on Oct. 21 a large turnout is anticipated for a Mass that will be celebrated at Blessed Kateri Parish in South Tucson by Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas. The day will begin at 6 a.m. with an Alba – Yaqui morning prayers – followed by a breakfast of menudo.
Father Seraphim Molina, pastor, said he hopes to be able to stream the canonization ceremony from Rome at about 9 a.m.
At 11 a.m. Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas will preside at the liturgy following a procession around the church with the Matachini dancers.
Then, on Nov. 4, a Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral will be celebrated in honor of all the new saints. “This celebration will be an opportunity for our entire Diocese, including our Native American and Filipino people, to rejoice in these new saints of the Church,” said Bishop Kicanas.
The 5:30 p.m. intercultural Mass will also include a procession and it will be concelebrated by priests of the diocese, along with many deacons. The prayers of the faithful will be said in all of the various languages of the new saints.
The new saints include American Maria Anna Cope, Italian Giovanni Battista Piamarta, Frenchman Jacques Berthieu, German Anna Schaffer and Spaniard Maria del Carmen.