Halifax, Canada, Jul 26, 2010 / 15:08 pm America/Denver (CNA).
The 400th anniversary celebration of a Nova Scotian chief's baptism will be held next week. His baptism, along with others from the Mi'kmaq people represent the first conversions to the Roman Catholic Church in the area.
The celebration commemorating 400 years since the baptism of Grand Chief Henri Membertou of the Mi'kmaq People will take place on Chapel Island, Nova Scotia this coming Aug. 1.
A letter released by the Holy See's Press Office on Saturday announced that newly appointed prefect of the Congregation for bishops, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, will be attending on the Pope's behalf.
Bishop of Antigonish, Brian Joseph Dunn, explained the significance of the occasion in a pastoral letter earlier this month. Congratulating the Mi'kmaq people on their faith since the leader converted to Christianity four centuries ago, Bishop Dunn recalled why this anniversary is "such a momentous occasion for all in this diocese."
Grand Chief Henri Membertou was baptized by French explorers, thus becoming the first indigenous leader to become Christian, being joined in baptism that day in 1610 by the rest of his family. Bishop Dunn said that he took on his responsibilities as a committed Christian, also urging Jesuit missionaries to preach in the Mi'kmaq language.