Local lay ministers visit Rome for St. Kateri canonization

posted on November 30, 2012

by Shannon Grooms

The canonization of the first Native North American Saint in the history of the Catholic Church was a truly momentous occasion for all Native Americans, but the day of the canonization on October 21, 2012 was especially momentous for George Looks Twice and John Apple. George, a lay minister at Our Lady of the Sioux Church in Oglala, SD and John, a lay minister at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Kyle, SD made the long pilgrimage to St. Peter’s Square in Rome, Italy.

While witnessing the canonization of seven new saints in the Church, they particularly made the trip to honor the Mohawk and Algonquin woman, Saint Kateri Tekakwitha. Along with other Native people from South Dakota and the Diocese of Rapid City on the trip, these two Lakota men represented the people of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

“When I heard that Pope Benedict was going to canonize Kateri, it caught me by surprise. I really didn’t expect it, but I just knew that I had to go,” said Apple.


“It was great to go with the group from the diocese and to be able to celebrate this event in Rome. I saw so many of the faces I’ve been seeing for years at the annual Tekakwitha Conferences in the U.S. Something like 700 Native people showed up in Rome that week!”

Apple went on to report, “The ceremony that Sunday was such a spectacle. People from around the entire world were pushing to get into the Square and to witness this historic event. Looking back now, it was all a blur for me – the whole week of events and all the places to see around Rome. I’m glad that I shot a lot of video and took pictures, so I can go back later to relive the whole week.”

For many years there has been an active Kateri Circle on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, dedicated to deepening their faith as Lakota families and praying for this canonization.

If you are interested in learning more about the Kateri Circle on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, contact Angie Stover at 605-867-5551.