GALLUP, N.M., Aug. 13, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- As part of a new partnership, the Diocese of Gallup, Knights of Columbus, and Southwest Indian Foundation broke ground on a new shrine to honor St. Kateri Tekakwitha on Sunday, Aug. 11. The event featured drumming as well as the Butterfly and Eagle dances from members of the Laguna tribe and remarks from Most Rev. James S. Wall, Bishop of Gallup; Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus; and Fr. Henry Sands, Director of the National Black and Indian Foundation.
"This Rosary Walk will imitate the example of St. Kateri's life, and we will take advantage of the natural beauty that God offers to us, as the rosary will wind its way through the beautiful landscape that He has already given to us," said Bishop Wall. "We will rely on the intercession of Our Lady, under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who we know first appeared to an Indigenous person, that being St. Juan Diego. And so this shrine will be a special place for everyone, but especially to the Indigenous People of this land, the Native American peoples of this land."
"Today in the United States, as many as one in four Native Americans are Catholic. And yet, in many ways, these brothers and sisters in the faith have been forgotten," said Anderson. "It is our hope that in the years to come this St. Kateri Shrine will become a national spiritual home for Native Americans and for all Catholics."
"This shrine is particularly meaningful for Native American Catholics because it's dedicated to St. Kateri Tekakwitha. It's an acknowledgement of the role that she plays in the Catholic Church, not just as an example for Native Americans, but for all Catholics. It's also a recognition of Native people," said Fr. Sands. "To recognize a saint who is Native American and to have it located in this diocese, which has the highest percentage of Native American Catholics in the United States, is very significant."
Construction on the new shrine began on Aug. 12, 2019, with a tentative completion date of August of 2021. We anticipate the shrine will attract pilgrims and tourists from across North America and throughout the world to Gallup each year.
The shrine will include a chapel, museum, and 30 outdoor rosary stations. Each station will be marked by a niche, and each niche will be designed by a Catholic artist from a distinct Native American tribe.
St. Kateri Tekakwitha was canonized as a saint in 2012 and is the first Native American Catholic saint. She is the patron saint of Native American, Indigenous, and First Nations peoples.
About the Roman Catholic Diocese of Gallup
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Gallup is a multicultural, expansive diocese, comprising 55,000 square miles in Northeastern Arizona and Northwestern New Mexico. There are 53 parishes, 13 schools, and 5 social centers within the diocesan boundaries—all serving approximately 58,000 Catholics among a total population of 490,000. We are a Catholic community working for the salvation of souls, to ease the suffering of the human condition, to witness the truth, to help foster the overall fulfillment of life, and to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
About the Knights of Columbus
The Knights of Columbus is a fraternity of Catholic men striving to better ourselves and our world by building a bridge back to faith, assisting the sick and disabled, and protecting those who can't protect themselves—whether they are next door or around the world. In the Knights' 2018 business year, which ended June 30, the organization gave $185.7 million to charity and donated 76.7 million hours of hands-on service.
The Knights' nearly two million members come from many places, backgrounds and stages in their lives but share a commitment to investing their time, efforts and resources into activities that reflect their faith and values.
The Knights of Columbus is also a top-rated Fortune 1000 insurance company, which grew out of our founding in 1882 by Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney who sought to ensure the protection and care of members' families. For more information, visit www.kofc.org.
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SOURCE Knights of Columbus