Archbishop Gomez recognizes ‘first peoples’ in Archdiocese of Los Angeles

Archbishop of Los Angeles signs new protocols acknowledging Native Americans as deserving special recognition and pastoral concern

Archbishop Gomez with representatives of the the Chumash, the Tataviam, the Tongva, and the Acjachemen tribes at the Museum and Cultural Center at Kuruvungna Springs in Los Angeles. (Victor Alemán/Angelus News)

Archbishop José H. Gomez signed new protocols acknowledging that Native Americans of California, as the First People of the Land, deserve special recognition and pastoral concern.

“These protocols that we are signing today are not a treaty or a legal document. They are a promise. A promise that we will work together so that our future will be more hopeful than our past,” said Archbishop Gomez. “I am proud to stand with my brothers and sisters from the four Nations whose sacred homelands lie within the boundaries of what is today the Archdiocese of Los Angeles — the Chumash, the Tataviam, the Tongva, and the Acjachemen,” said the Archbishop.

The 17 new protocols include:

  • Liturgies, celebrations, ceremonies or events that involve the formal public participation of Native Americans may include a traditional blessing with sacred herb (sage, tobacco) by a member or members of the Native American tribe or band.
  • Liturgies celebrated with Native American communities or involving the inclusion of Native American traditions, may use as chalices and ciboria non-porous ceramic vessels specifically and solely reserved for liturgical use.
  • Historically identified and authenticated Native American Indian burial sites are to be respected and are not to be utilized as construction sites by the Archdiocese, its parishes, and all other Catholic communities, organizations, and entities associated with the Archdiocese.
  • Whenever ground is broken for a new construction site by the Archdiocese or by one of its parishes, schools or other entities, the ground breaking ceremony may include a traditional blessing of the site by a member of the local Native American tribe or band within whose traditional lands the new site is located.
  • Consultation to take place with local tribal or band leaders in order to assure accuracy in the presentation of cultural and historical displays relating to Native Americans at the missions, parishes and schools within the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
  • Native American Catholics who are directly descended from the Native American tribes or bands may request the celebration of Catholic sacraments and services, notably baptism, confirmation, marriage and Christian burial, in the mission churches with which they are historically associated without having current membership in the local mission parish.

Full story at Angelus.


  1. http://Anonymous says

    Why does he waste his time with this stuff but not do anything about the heresy and irreverence at the Religious Education Congress?

  2. http://Kristin says

    So each little group will get it’s own set of “protocols” and there will be yet another avenue by which the Mass becomes a Paganistic New Age service. Well done Archbishop – pandering to a bunch of folks who don’t like the notion of ONE Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

    • http://Anne%20TE says

      Kristin, I think it all depends. If the sage is blessed by the Catholic priest in the picture and is used as incense, I see no problem. The tobacco is another story. Smoking tobacco can lead to lung and throat cancer.

      On the other hand, when I first got another type of cancer. I came home from radiation treatment and played a tape by Fr. Eddy Ensley, a Native American catholic priest. They were beautiful, orthodox, healing prayers to our Lord and Lady from the Middle Ages from Chartres Cathedral. I fell asleep to them.

      • http://Anne%20T.%20E. says

        I am not sure if the tapes were by a Fr. Eddy Ensley, or the Deacon Eddie Ensley who has CD’s and tapes now. It was over twenty-five years ago, so it might have been another man than the one now, but the prayers were very orthodox, asking the Lord to heal one and asking the intercession of Our Lady for healing.

  3. http://CoCo says

    What is a “sacred herb”? No such thing = superstition.

  4. http://Anonymous says

    What is the blessing?

  5. http://Faithful%20and%20True says

    This is good.

  6. Archbishop Gomez,
    With all due respect, Please clean up the Annual R E Congress first before doing anything else. These other actions like making special rules for the Native American Peoples only serves as a distraction to take our minds off the R E Congress. This Congress is a disgrace and gives many people the notion that these heterodox teachings must be okay since they were presented here.

  7. http://William%20Roberts says

    Think of the Archbishop’s action as a kind of Summorum Pontificum for first peoples. Perhaps that will lessen much of the negativity.

  8. http://Anonymous says

    It appears that the Mahonyites continue to run the archdiocese, and Archbishop Gomez is a willing instrument in whatever they direct him to do.

  9. http://Anonymous says

    I don’t think Saint Junipero Serra would approve. He didn’t devote his life to evangelizing California by founding his Missions to have Catholicism adulterated with special herbs and spices from indigenous peoples.

  10. http://mike%20m says

    Even for me, I think this may be ‘a bit too far’. Does the First People blessing invoke a different god? Specifics would help. Certainly we need to respect burial sites of all when construction happens,

    • http://Anne%20TE says

      Yes, specifics would be helpful. I do know the St. Kateri Tekakwitha chaplet uses the same prayers all Catholics use.

      I have no objection to Native tribes being buried at the missions if they are Catholic since their ancestors helped build them. The Last time I was at Santa Clara Mission all the angels around the altar had black hair since the Natives tribes did the art work. I do not know if it is the same now.

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