• Today many are celebrating Columbus’s “discovery of America…”
    • We are conscious of
      • the welcome given by the native peoples,
      • their suffering and death from the diseases they had no protection against that raged through them as pandemics
      • their exploitation, abuse by the White Supremacists of that time, looking down on them as primitive, unscientific, uncivilized.
    • And a profound mystical truth about our place in creation which we will hear shortly from Chief Seattle went unseen, ignored, discarded.
      • Centuries of conquest, broken treaties, genocide, commodification and domination of Earth followed in the name of knowledge and progress until now Earth itself is threatened.
  • It is a time to pray for forgiveness and for deeper religious consciousness of the mystical reality of which we are a part and of the immigrants and refugees we are called to welcome and embrace as the original settlers were welcomed. And so we pray:
      • Lord, Have Mercy.
      • Christ, Have Mercy.
      • Lord, Have Mercy.
  • Conscious of our presence here on indigenous’ lands and blessed by the presence of the indigenous peoples among us
  • we continue our prayer drawing upon the Prayer of the Directions native peoples have shared with us:


Prayer of the Directions

Loving Creator God, we your people come before You.  Thank you for today’s sunrise, for the breath and life within us, and for all Your creation: hear our prayer.

Great Spirit of Light, come to us out of the East, with the power of the rising sun.  Let there be light in our words.  Let there be light on our paths that we walk.  Let us remember always that You give us the gift of a new day.  Guide our steps and give us courage to walk the circle of our lives with honesty and dignity.  And never let us be burdened with sorrow by not starting over again.

Great Spirit of Creation, send us the warm and soothing winds from the South.  Comfort and caress us when we are tired and cold.  Help us to walk our paths with joy and love, for ourselves, for others, for our four-legged companions, the winged ones,, the plants, and all creation upon Mother Earth.  As You give to all Earth Your warm, moving wind, give it to us, so that we may grow close to you in warmth.  We did not create the web of life, but we stand in it.  Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.

Great Life-giving Spirit, we face the West, the direction of sundown.  Let us remember every day that the moment will come when our sun will go down.  Bring into balance the physical, mental and spiritual, so that we are able to know our place on Earth, in life and death.  Never let us forget that we must face into You.  Give us a beautiful color, give us a great sky for setting so that when it is our time to meet you, we can come with glory.

Great Spirit of Love, come to us with the power of the North.  Make us courageous when the cold wind falls upon us.  Give us strength and endurance for everything that is harsh, everything that hurts, everything that makes us squint.  Give us wisdom so we may be able to make wise choices in all things that are put in front of us.  Let us move through life, ready to take what comes from the North.

Great Creator Spirit, we thank you for the beauty of Earth and for all You have given us in and through Earth, our home.  Remind us never to take from Earth more than we need, and remind us to always give back more than we take.

Great God of the vast heavens, lift up our spirits to You.  May our hearts worship You and come to You in glory.  Help us to remember that You are our Creator God.  Let all that is in Earth lift our minds, our hearts, and our lives to you so that we may come to You always in truth with a good mind and a clean heart.

God our Creator, We ask that we have the wisdom and patience to listen to one another and to learn the many ways You call us to live life.  Teach us the ways to live it that heal and renew it so that we may hand it on to generations to come radiant with Your goodness and glory.  Amen.


A Reading from the Letter of Chief Seattle

“The President in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land.
But how can you buy or sell the sky? the land? The idea is strange to us.
If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?

Every part of the earth is sacred to my people.
Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every meadow, every humming insect.

All are holy in the memory and experience of my people.
We know the sap which courses through the trees as we know the blood that courses through our veins.

We are part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters. The bear, the deer, the great eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the dew in the meadow, the body heat of the pony, and people all belong to the same family.

The shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water, but the blood of our ancestors.

If we sell you our land, you must remember that it is sacred. Each glossy reflection in the clear waters of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of my people. The water’s murmur is the voice of my father’s father, my mother’s mother.

The rivers are our brothers. They quench our thirst. They carry our canoes and feed our children. So you must give the rivers the kindness that you would give any brother.

If we sell you our land, remember that the air is precious to us, that the air shares its spirit with all the life that it supports. The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also received his last sigh. The wind also gives our children the spirit of life. …

Will you teach your children what we have taught our children?
That the earth is our mother? What befalls the earth befalls all the children of the earth.

This we know: Earth does not belong to us, we belong to the Earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. We did not weave the web of life.
We are merely a strand in it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.

One thing we know: our God is also your God. …
One thing we know, which white people may one day discover –
Our God is the same God.
You may think that you own God as you wish to own our land; but you cannot.

God’s compassion is equal for red people and white.

The earth is precious to God and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its creator.
Your destiny is a mystery to us. What will happen when the buffalo are all slaughtered? The wild horses tamed?
What will happen when the secret corners of the forest are heavy with the scent of many people and the view of the ripe hills is blotted with talking wires?
Where will the thicket be? Gone! Where will the eagle be? Gone! And what is it to say goodbye to the swift pony and the hunt?

The end of living and the beginning of survival.

When the last red people have vanished with this wilderness, and their memory is only the shadow of a cloud moving across the prairie, will these shores and forests still be here? Will there be any of the spirit of my people left?

We love this earth as a newborn loves its mother’s heartbeat. So, if we sell you our land, love it as we have loved it.
Care for it, as we have cared for it. Hold in your mind the memory of the land as it is when you receive it. Preserve the land for all children, and love it, as God loves us.
As we are part of the land, you too are part of the land. This earth is precious to us. It is also precious to you.

One thing we know – there is only one God.
No one, either Red or White, can be apart.
We ARE all brothers and sisters after all.”

The Word of Our God!


DN 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56

  1. (52b) Glory and praise for ever!

“Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our ancestors
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever;
And blessed is your holy and glorious name,
praiseworthy and exalted above all for all ages.”

Glory and praise for ever!

“Blessed are you in the temple of your holy glory,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.

Glory and praise for ever!

“Blessed are you on the throne of your kingdom,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.”

Glory and praise for ever!

“Blessed are you who look into the depths
from your throne upon the cherubim;
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.”

Glory and praise for ever!

“Blessed are you in the firmament of heaven,
praiseworthy and glorious forever.”

Glory and praise for ever!


Gospel:      Luke 13:34-35

Jesus lamented over Jerusalem.
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you.
How many times I yearned to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were unwilling.
Behold your house will be abandoned.
But I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

The Gospel of the Lord.


Homily notes:

  • Such powerful words from Chief Seattle – a sacred, mystical vision.
  • Jesus’s prediction to Jerusalem about how its people received him so clearly fits the way the colonial invaders treated this prophet.
  • And today with the climate crises increasing and growing more threatening by the day – endangering life as we know it – the lament fits us and calls us to healing and conversion.
    • Pope Francis urges us to fully respectful encounter and dialogue with the indigenous peoples, the protectors of Earth in our time
    • To learn their wisdom and grow in their mystical vision.
  • Let’s spend some time in quiet prayer for our salvation and that of Earth itself.


Prayers of the Faithful….

In Thanksgiving for Mother Earth, who sustains our very life, especially during this season of bountiful harvest, we pray

In Thanksgiving for Native Americans, who lived for millennia in harmony with Mother Earth, may the leaders of all countries listen to the wisdom of their native peoples and work to make the drastic changes necessary in how we live on Earth, we pray

In thanksgiving for our Native American sisters and brothers of this region, as we remember that we live on the land, that the Potawatomi peoples once called home, we pray

For Native Americans and 1st Nation Peoples, as they strive to bring back their languages and cultures and confront the problems of poverty and hunger on so many reservations and in so many cities and towns, we pray

That the church gathered last year in the Synod on the Amazon will learn from the indigenous peoples of that region and speak out, acting to protect them from the attacks upon them and upon the rain forest that is their home, we pray

That the Catholic Church may be forgiven for its colonial attitudes and destructive actions and be reconciled with indigenous peoples everywhere in respectful and mutual encounter, dialogue, and lived faith in our one God, we pray

For those indigenous around the planet that are suffering so disproportionately from the Covid-19 Pandemic, for their healing and for an end to the systemic injustices that left them so vulnerable, we pray

That our Church, responding with courage to the signs of our times, may embrace integral ecological conversion and preach it with prophetic urgency, we pray


Presider:   O God of all peoples, enlighten our minds and soften our hearts so that we will be open to healing and life-giving change.  Enable us to see each other and all the creatures of our Mother Earth with eyes like Yours.  Call us to a new awareness of the sacredness of creation and the beauty in its diversity so that we may contribute to a world where there is harmony, justice, and lasting peace.  We make our prayer in the name of Christ and in the power of Your Holy Spirit where we live and move and have our being now and forever.    Amen.


Prayer over the Gifts:          Our loving God, Your Son gave his life to gather your scattered children into one family.  We offer you these gifts of our lives, our energies, our hopes and dreams.  As we acknowledge them sacred, we consecrate them as the saving sacrament of life.  May this sacrament heal those scarred by oppression and rejection.  May it release those still unjustly deprived of liberty and give them freedom of mind and heart forever.  Amen.


Preface:  Adapted from an Iroquois Prayer
To Our Creator for all of Creation, I give thanks

Our God is with you.                        And with your spirit.
Lift up your hearts.                           We have lifted them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.               It is right and just.

We give thanks, Our loving God, to the people, our brothers and sisters, with goodness and health;
We give thanks to Earth, our Mother, who supports the people,
To the plants, our medicines, which grow on Earth;
To the waters that flow with life blood and nourish the plants and people;
To the air, especially the winds, that allow us to breathe;
To the trees that purify the air;
To the animals, our four-legged brothers and sisters, who also sustain us;
To the birds, our winged brothers and sisters, who sing to the Creator;
To the sun, our elder brother, who warms Earth and provides light;
To the moon, our grandmother, who guides the people and the cycles of life;
To the stars who provide us direction at night.
To all of creation we give thanks.

And to You, O God, Who gives them all to us, Who abides in them all, And who sustains us all through them.  May we forever remember the interconnectedness and equality of all creation And our place in the Great Cycle of Life.

With gentleness and unity in body, mind and spirit, becoming one in harmony and balance with the universe, we give You thanks as we pray…

Holy, Holy, Holy….


Prayer after Communion

Loving God,
One thing we know:  You alone are God
And You reveal the richness of your Truth, Your Beauty, Your Love
Through the many cultures and faiths and peoples of Your creation.
Keep us open to the nourishment you offer us through them all,
That we may approach them with Eucharistic gratitude, and
That we may enter more deeply into the fullness of Your Life.
We make our prayer in the name of Jesus.


James E. Hug, S.J.