One Church Many Cultures The Good News of Cultural Diversity Fall/Winter 2020 Issue
CULTURAL FAMILY ARTICLE: NATIVE AMERICAN AFFAIRS
I Have Such a Strong Sense of Faith
By: Teresa Rojo Tsosie, Director of Religious Education, St. Jude Parish, Tuba City, AZ
Ya’a’teeh! Shi ei Teresa Rojo Tsosie yinishye. Naakai nishli. Dibelizhini bashischiin. Naakai dashicheii. Todichi’ii’nii dashinali. Hello! It is traditional in my culture to introduce myself with my clans. The clan system was created so we have family wherever we go. For a little over a year now I have been a part of Journeying Together process. As a young Native American, I am extremely honored to be a part of it.
I have spoken since the first meeting on how there is a lack of representation of Native Americans in our Catholic Church. As both an active Catholic and Native American, I do feel as if you shouldn’t have to “choose” to be one or the other. I have always been asked this question growing up. I have been asked this again during the planning process and I still feel confident in my answer since I was a teenager.
I have such a strong sense of faith in both my Navajo culture and my Catholic faith. Being a part of the Journeying Together process has deepened and strengthened my faith. It has reassured me in what I am meant to do and how to evangelize my faith to others. During our kickoff event in July, I received so many messages during my speech. That moved me so much!
Sometimes being from a small parish or diocese, you do forget that your voice matters as well. I have been extremely blessed and fortunate that I was asked to be a part of this process. I will never stop advocating that Native American voices need to be heard and part of the conversation in the Catholic Church. I can never say ‘Thank you’ enough to Father Michael Carson & my own Parish Priest Father Jay Jung in choosing me to be a part of this. I have made lifelong friends, who share my passion in having not only my voice but Native American voices being heard as well. Ahehee’! Thank you! Dine God nikʼeh hojidlį́į doo! God Bless!
"We all are truly blessed! We come from different cultures and speak different languages but are one big family. However, our paths and experiences may be different though, we have the same common goal to be loved, accepted. A desire always to live a strong Catholic faith." Lisa Franqui, President of St. Kateri Rosary Circle, Chicago