Friday, August 03, 2007

"Our Journey to Native Lands" - Immersion Experience to Fort Apache

By Deacon Steve Herrera

Note: Steve Herrera is the Director of the Immersion Program for the Diocese of San Jose. See the website for pictures, you will be inspired!

During the summer of 2007, six Catholics from the Diocese of San Jose and two Buddhists from the Shinnyo-en sect of Buddhism, travelled to Arizona and New Mexico to encounter Native American culture and experience Native American Spirituality.

We started our journey by going to the Heard Museum in Phoenix. The Heard provided us with an overview of the history of Native American peoples in the Southwest and exposed us to numerous artifacts of various tribes.

Our journey then took us to Canyon de Chelly, where we toured and viewed ancient cliff dwellings in Navajo country. Subsequent to that visit we ventured to Chaco Canyon in New Mexico and toured ancient ruins of the Anasazi people. We also had the privilege to go to Mass and get a tour of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, in Chinle on the Navajo reservation.

Our final stop led us to the Hopi reservation where we toured Walpi Mesa, the oldest continuously occupied dwellings in North America.

We returned to Fort Apache, in Whiteriver, Arizona, located on the White Mountain Apache Reservation. We had the privilege of participating in the Sweat Lodge ceremony and various phases of the Sunrise Ceremony, which is the coming of age ceremony for young Apache women.

For more information regarding this unique experience please contact Deacon Steve Herrera at this trip is open to any adult Catholics in the Diocese of San Jose, ages 21 and up.


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