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A new and invigorating ministry to Native Americans

The Diocese of Great Falls, MT includes five Native American reservations. Inclusivity was one of the essential elements of Bishop Murphy’s ministry. Putting words into action, he dedicated much time and resource to ministering to the Native American population. Many Native Americans live in abject poverty. Bishop Murphy felt a special duty to extend a helping hand to them. It was his desire to give all Native Americans a voice to help ensure that local, state and federal agencies, in addition to the church, addressed their needs.

He shared the following thought in an address delivered at the 40th Annual Tekawitha Conference on August 9, 1979, “The most fundamental notion of Christian ministry coincides with the lifestyle and thrust of the Native American tradition – service – service and care for one another through the strong bonds of family and tribal relationships. Service is at the heart of the Christian community’s sense of ministry. Service is at the heart of the Native American culture and life. It is easy to see the interrelatedness between life and ministry for the Native American today. That life and ministry is given direction and meaning when it continues the ministry of Jesus.”

Click here to read the full text of Bishop Murphy’s Tekawitha Conference address.

Click here to view a video of the Very Reverend George L. Thomas describing Archbishop Murphy’s ministry to the Native American communities in the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings and the Archdiocese of Seattle.

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