Tuesday, June 16, 2009

St. Paul's Indian Church

St. Paul's Indian Church is the oldest surviving Catholic Church in Vancouver. It just celebrated it's 125 th anniversary. Father Vincent La Plante is the priest serving this church and community. The Oblate Fathers established the Sacred Heart Mission for the Squamish Indians on the north shore (North Vancouver) of Burrard Inlet in 1863.
Tom and I, both admittedly needing all the help we can get, and quite open to divine intervention as worldliness has a way of undermining our best intentions, decided to check out this church that was overseeing our boat work in Mosquito Creek.
That's when we found out it was the Indian Church and mass was at 11 the next day. Tom was slightly reticent about attending. I think that always being Anglican he fears that all the beheadings of women that began our church will be personally attributed to him. Given the Catholics apologising to the Jews and the Haida apologising for eating the Kwakiutl ancestors, maybe the Anglicans, if they haven't already, might apologise for all their beheading one day. If only everyone would get down to asking forgiveness of their neighbour as a kind of "spiritual first strike", life could be a lot less offensive.
Being more ecumenical I've always felt welcome in the Catholic Community as my Anglican priest contends I'm at times fairly 'anglo-catholic" compared to Tom's 'evangelical anglicanism.'
The church was wonderful. The people were warm and the choir and Indian drums a joy. We were welcomed and uplifted and touched by the good heart of the community. Later we were invited for coffee but boatwork called.
When Graham our Catholic friend joined us to share his experience of baptism as an adult, the day became a discussion of the contributions of our religious upbringings to our personal views on politics and life. At times we even forgot that working men are supposed to be telling dirty jokes and talking about women disparaging.
Instead we all seemed to be having the highest sort of philosophical and theological discussions occasioned by our attending this very inspirational church. Given that we were working on the septic tank of the boat there was certainly need for blessed distraction.

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