Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish makes trip to sacred shrine as prayers continue for children lost at residential schools

Parishioners of the Indigenous parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Saskatoon place candles at the outdoor grotto of the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes pilgrimage site at St. Laurent. Representing the lives of children lost at residential schools, the candles were those that were among those placed during a recent four-day memorial wake organized by the parish. (Photos by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)

By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News

Saskatoon’s Indigenous Catholic parish has turned to prayer in dealing with the pain and grief of recent announcements about unmarked graves found near former residential schools in B.C. and Saskatchewan.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish has been listening to survivors, their family members and members of the wider community as they grapple with the hurt, anger, and trauma that has been awakened in recent weeks — and the parish Elders, Pastor, Parish Life Director and leadership team have naturally turned to prayer.

“It is very painful, there’s a lot of anger out there. We need to help each other,” says Parish Life Director Debbie Ledoux.

A four-day memorial wake held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Saskatoon in June included the lighting of candles to represent the young lives lost at residential schools, and the placement of those candles around the altar at a closing Mass June 6. In a recent follow-up prayer pilgrimage, a number of the spent candles were taken to the sacred shrine site at St. Laurent, where parishioners celebrated Mass together before placing the candles at the oudoor grotto dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes.

Photos of the St. Laurent prayer pilgrimage by Our Lady of Guadalupe parish: