The Rev. Msgr. David H. Benz, pastor of the St. Therese of the Child Jesus Church, delivered the sermon at the 17th Annual Blessed Kateria Tekakwitha Mass at the church located at Upsal and Ardleigh streets on Sunday.
On hand for the annual celebration were a dozen members of the Cherokee Confederacy and a Native American drumming circle.
Chief Buffy “Red Feather” Brown, a member of the St. Therese parish, gave remarks to the full house. The church’s choir performed “Walking in the Steps of Kateri” and several selections with Native American rhythms and modes.
“Exercising our rights as citizens doesn’t mean that we have to be at odds with our faith,” Benz said. “We are to participate in the affairs of the world in a responsible and intelligent manner. We should always (vote) for things that reflect the wisdom and justice of God.
“You and I are asked to be patriotic with our vote, making sure that we participate,” he said. “We should never vote for anything that we deem morally wrong. God gives us life, so we would not want to vote for anything that is immoral. As Christians we have to use a moral litmus test so we are not just voting on one issue and becoming like the people of Germany in the middle of the last century who closed their eyes to what the Nazis were doing.”
Benz became straightforward in singling out forces that are bent on preventing President Barack Obama from passing any measures that would help those who are suffering.
“Some have said their only goal was to not let President Obama succeed,” he said.
In her remarks Brown said that Kateri was humble. She was willing to leave her family for her faith. She received the name Tekakwitha after leaving her village she contracted smallpox. “She became known as the Lily of the Mohawks,” Brown said.
Brown also noted the St. Therese chapter of the Cherokee nation is one of 160 across the nation.