The Native Pastoral Committee (NPC) was established, in 2009, to help the Church in the Archdiocese of Grouard-McLennan better respond to the needs of Catholics among our First Nations and Métis peoples. The NPC has two divisions: one for the southern communities of the archdiocese (those around Lesser Slave Lake) and one for the northern communities.
The archbishop attends the meetings of the committees, twice each year in each division. He has also appointed an Episcopal Vicar for Native Peoples, Rev. Bill Bernard, C.Ss.R., to ensure on-going communication and growth for the NPC and the people it serves.
The NPC provides information, advice and expertise on issues that are of concern and interest to Native peoples and communities. Some topics that have been and/or continue to be focused on by the NPC include: Native spirituality; Native rituals during celebrations of the Mass, funerals and weddings; healing and reconciliation in the wake of Residential Schools experiences; pilgrimages; and the Elders’ Dialogue (which takes place among many Catholic Native leaders in western Canada.)
The goal is to have one representative from each First Nation and Métis Settlement in the archdiocese on the appropriate division of the NPC.