Felician Sister recognized for ministry to indigenous in Canada

This story appears in the The Field Hospital feature series. View the full series.
Felician Sr. Celeste Goulet, right, leads a couple in marriage preparation. (Michael Swan, courtesy of The Catholic Register)
Felician Sr. Celeste Goulet, right, leads a couple in marriage preparation. (Michael Swan, courtesy of The Catholic Register)

by Dan Morris-Young

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Editor's note: "The Field Hospital" blog series covers life in U.S. and Canadian Catholic parishes. The title comes from Pope Francis' words: "I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. …"

If you have a story suggestion, send it to Dan Morris-Young (dmyoung@ncronline.org) or Peter Feuerherd (pfeuerherd@ncronline.org).

Felician Sr. Celeste Goulet was awarded the Catholic Missions in Canada's 2016 St. Joseph Award at the organization's annual fund-raising gala in Vaughn, Ontario. Goulet has ministered among the North Slavey people of Tulita since 1979. Among many other achievements she has authored 15 volumes on Dene legends. She is also the recipient of the 2008 Government of Canada's Award for Excellence in Early Childhood Education and the 1999 Status of Women Council of the Northwest Territories Wise Women Award. As pastoral administrator of St. Theresa of Avila Mission, Tulita, Northwest Territories, in the Mackenzie-Fort Smith diocese, Goulet leads Sunday liturgy, offers sacramental preparation and ministers many of the sacraments.

Grass roots impact of the Walk With Francis pledge campaign in the Washington archdiocese continues, such as at Little Flower School in Great Mills, Md., where students made pledges by grade level to pray and serve others. Pre-kindergarteners, for example, committed to trying to act like Jesus to each other. Second graders pledged a daily act of kindness.

All of the coaches and the majority of the Endwell, N.Y., Little League team that recently won the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Penn., are members of Endwell's Church of the Holy Family. During a standing-room only Mass honoring the team on Sept. 11, Holy Family pastor Fr. Clarence Rumble noted that the day was also the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy. Pointing out that event occurred before the baseball players were born, the priest said, "One event was tragic and one is celebratory. Today during this Mass of thanksgiving, we rejoice in this team's accomplishments on and off the field. Be thankful for your God-given talents, which you have developed and strengthened with perseverance and hard work." After Mass, hundreds gathered in the parish hall to greet the team. On their behalf, a $2,500 gift was made to Mercy House, a home for the terminally ill.

When encountering a homeless person, ask his or her name and remember it for the next time you meet. "You'll be amazed how his or her face will light up that you remembered," advise members of Christ in the City, the Denver-based street ministry. People living on the streets "told us that once your reality becomes eating out of garbage cans and you don't hear your name spoken for months at a time, you accept this is your reality," the group's managing director, Erin McCrory, told the Denver Catholic Register. "Their spirits are broken and they are lacking in hope and faith in people." The organization has had requests to expand into five other dioceses.

The pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, close to where Charlotte, N.C. resident Keith Lamont Scott was shot and killed by police Sept. 20, has said he is confident parishioners "will embrace a path of peace, prayer and charity." About 150 gathered at the church Sept. 21 to pray. Winslow led prayers for police and for victims of injustice as well as for the neighborhood and city of Charlotte. Two days of protest and violence followed the shooting, many claiming the event to be another example of police injustice against persons of color.

Venice, Fla., Bishop Frank J. Dewane delivered a similar message during an ecumenical prayer service for peace and healing Sept. 7 at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Fort Myers, Fla. The bishop said "knowledge, respect, encounter and dialogue" are the key if substantive progress is to be made to end the cycle of violence to which many are becoming desensitized, reported the Florida Catholic newspaper. St. Francis Xavier is "located near where several acts of violence toward young people have taken place in recent months, including a shooting at a local club in late July which left two teens killed and 18 others wounded, and the murder of a high school student in late August," reported Bob Reddy.

The increasing number of homeless women in Los Angeles County -- currently estimated at 14,500 -- is startling, reports the internet news site of the Los Angeles archdiocese. The reasons women become homeless, their reactions to shelters, and outreach to them can be very different than for men.

[Dan Morris-Young is NCR's West Coast correspondent. His email is dmyoung@ncronline.org.]

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