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.