A grand farewell celebration took place during the Native American & First Nations Weekend at our National Shrine of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, in Fonda, NY. The weekend began on May 20th with a Vigil Mass that included the Traditional Purification Rite of the Native American and First Nations Friends, followed by a Prayer and Healing Circle. The next morning, the community gathered for Sunday Morning Mass, the last to be celebrated by Fr. Mark Steed, OFM Conv., a friar of our province who previously served as the Shrine’s Director and upon the appointment of Lay Director – Bill Jacobs and Lay Assistant Director – Rita Gullion, has been serving as the Spiritual Director of the Shrine. The community also participated in their annual Food Bank Collection during all of the weekend’s events. All of this was followed by a Farewell Reception for Friar Mark in Grassmann Hall, and a Guided Nature Walk up to, and around, the Caughnawaga village site and Kateri’s Spring.
Many members of the community joined together and sent prayers and good wishes to say goodbye, for now, to Fr. Mark Steed, OFM Conv., who has served the community over this past decade. Fr. Mark has now returned to his homeland ~ Canada. He will be dearly missed by the entire Shrine community.
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha ~ Pray for Us