July 26, 2011 –
MAYETTA: A Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation tribal member has been named to head the Archdiocese of Philadelphia recently by Pope Benedict XVI. He was born in Kansas and still has links to the PBPN reservation.
The Most Rev. Charles Chaput, 66, who has been the archbishop of Denver since 1997 and is the first Native American ever to hold an archbishop appointment, was selected by the Pope on July 19 and will become the 13th bishop and ninth archbishop of Philadelphia on Sept. 8. He will succeed Cardinal Justin Rigali, 76, who will resign due to age as required by church law.
Chaput was born in Concordia, Kan. to Joseph and Marian DeMarais Chaput and became a Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation member as a young boy. He attended Catholic schools in Concordia and Victoria for his elementary and secondary education and then earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from St. Fidelis College Seminary in Herman, Pa (1967), Master of Arts in Religious Education from Capuchin College in Washington, D.C. (1970), and was ordained to the priesthood in 1970. In 1971 he received a Master of Arts in Theology from the University of San Francisco and served as an instructor at St. Fidelis until 1974. The three years following he served in administrative positions at Capuchin Province of St. Augustine in Pittsburgh and then became the pastor of Holy Cross parish in Thornton, Colo. and vicar provincial for the Capuchin Province of Mid-America. In 1980 he was named secretary and treasurer for the province and three years later became its chief executive and provincial minister. In 1988 he was ordained Bishop of Rapid City, S.D. and in 1997 became the Archbishop of Denver.
In 2008 Archbishop Chaput made a visit to the reservation where he celebrated Mass on April 13 at Our Lady of the Snows Church along with Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Father Duane Reinert, Father Richard Halvorson, and Deacon Scott Aiken, who is also a PBPN member. Members of the church and Tribal Council gave a luncheon and presentation to the four men to mark the historic occasion and some photographs of the occasion are below:
Archbishop Chaput with Arlene Lingo in 2008 when he celebrated Mass at Our Lady of the Snows Church.
Rey Kitchkumme was Vice Chairman of the Tribal Council in 2008 when Archbishop Chaput visited the reservation. Kitchkumme is now a PBPN Gaming Commissioner.
Left to right: Delores Ortiz, Archbishop Chaput, and Steve Ortiz who represented the Tribal Council as chairman in 2008.
A present view of the interior of Our Lady of the Snows Church.
A close up of one of the stained glass windows in the church.
Our Lady of the Snows church has been in existence since 1915 and Mass is held weekly as well as other social functions.