WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS), is now offering scholarships for AMS ministry leaders to attend the 77th annual Tekakwitha Conference being held July 20-24, 2016, in Burlingam, Calif. Thanks to the generosity of the Black and Indian Mission Office, the AMS will provide four (4) scholarships, each in the amount of $1,500, to approved AMS ministry leaders interested in learning more aboutevangelization among Native Americans, including those who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. The scholarship money will go toward defraying the expense of the five-night hotel stay, conference fees, meals, and travel.
The Tekakwitha Conference is the Voice, Presence and Identity of Indigenous Catholics of North America under the protection and inspiration of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha. Known as “Lily of the Mohawks,” Kateri Tekakwitha (1656-1680) was an Algonquin–Mohawk born in the Native American village of Ossernenon, now known as Auriesville, in Montgomery Country, New York, about 40 miles west of Albany, near the current-day site of the National Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Shrine in Fonda, N.Y. She converted to Catholicism in her late teens and spent the remaining few years of her life as a missionary at the Jesuit mission ofKahnawake, south of Montreal in New France, now Canada. Saint Kateri Tekakwitha was declared blessed by Pope Saint John Paul II on June 22, 1980, and she was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on Oct. 21, 2012. The Tekakwitha Conference is held each year at a different location in the United States or Canada.
Dr. Mark Moitoza, AMS Vice-Chancellor for Evangelization, expressed gratitude to the Black and Indian Mission for providing the grant to fund the AMS scholarships:
“The Black and Indian Mission Office continues to support the Archdiocese with generous grants enabling opportunities for evangelization in military settings. The annual Tekakawitha Conference honors Veterans and those currently serving with the profound respect of the warrior tradition that includes chant, rhythmic drumbeats, and ceremonial dancing. The gift of Native American spirituality, shared through keynotes and workshops, encourages military-connected leaders to reflect upon evangelization in ways that are personal rather than programmatic. This deep understanding of the dignity of the human person offers rich reflections to bring back to ministry with those who serve and their families. Through these examples of storytelling and ritual the gift of evangelization is shared.”
Anyone interested in applying for the AMS scholarship may email a completed application(http://goo.gl/OS3X1e) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Approved attendees will be asked to complete a one-page reflection paper on what they learned, and how it might be applied to Catholic faith communities in military settings.