Oblates From Our Delegation Meet in Gjoa Haven
On the occasion of the 50th Anniversary, the Oblate Fathers working with the native people in Nunavut territory, had gathered in Gjoa Haven for their annual pastoral as well as Oblate Community meeting. Again great opportunity to celebrate together with people we serve. May was the month when Fr. Kajualuk arrived to Gjoa Haven in the year 1951. His dream was to have all the Oblates of the Inuit land to come one day to Gjoa Haven.
The Oblates had their own important issues to deal with during the day. Every evening in the church there was also a special celebration with the local community. First evening we had a few children baptized. Fr. Jusipi, who personally lived with Kajualuk and had served Gjoa Haven community for several years, led the celebration. The next day all participated in the liturgy of the confirmation, where our Bp. Reynald Roulear presided. His touching sermon on the gifts of the Holy Spirit was simply an invitation to continue the discipleship, that Kajualuk had begun 50 years ago. Fr. Robert Lechat the next day in his very moving homily touched our hearts speaking on the values of marriage and the family, and its significance in Inuit Culture. On the fifth evening we had joined service for the whole community where the main emphasis had been on light, water and Oblate Cross as a symbol of our Christian faith. That evening we started with sharing on Kajualuk, telling stories, singing hymns and praying. Second part was celebrated in atmosphere of prayer and reflection. Every participant had occasion to hold the Oblate Cross for a moment and then light an Easter Vigil candle from kutlirq ( Inuit traditional lamp ) followed by signing ourselves with the whole water to recall our baptism and its responsibilities. Our closing hymn was the Lord's Prayer. We can not speak of a celebration unless there is feast. Our last day of the main celebrations of the 50th Anniversary of the Catholic Church in Gjoa Haven we organized feast for the whole community. Two young hunters supplied fresh caribou and some gave fish, yet others cooked soup, bread, bannock and cookies. There was food for everyone, plenty of native food, rich and tasty. We could feel the appreciation and gratitude that everyone would greet Oblates with. They are very thankful for sowing the seeds to their Christian faith. Oblates as well, with respect and love, friendship and humility would greet every person as if they knew each other for years. That beautiful scene brought good memories, perhaps reconciliation to some and God's Blessing to all.
Oblates during one of the sessions in Gjoa Haven.