Catholics in our area are looking forward to seeing Kateri Tekakwitha become a saint. Thousands are expected to attend the shrine created in her honor in Auriesville this weekend. Erin Connolly has more.
AURIESVILLE, N.Y. -- It has been more than 300 years in the making and Sunday, Catholics will finally celebrate the canonization of Kateri Tekakwitha.
Beth Lynch, the Saints of Auriesville Museum manager, said, "People have been praying for the canonization of Kateri since she died in 1680. So prayers have been going on for this for centuries.”
The Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs in Auriesville, the actual area where Kateri was born, is expecting a few thousand people Sunday to celebrate her rise to sainthood. A mass will take place at 2 p.m.
Lynch said, "It's a validation that so many have known all along. This is a holy sanctified woman and everything happens in God's time.”
The grounds will be open during the day, including the Saints of Auriesville Museum, which will feature several Kateri exhibits. Last minute preparations are in full effect from mowing the grass to buying flowers. The gift shop is also expecting an influx of people. In fact, they ordered 6,000 Saint Kateri prayer cards and will have an additional 15 volunteers on Sunday.
Joanne Wiesner, the gift shop manager, said, "Trying to keep up with the orders because just in the last month and a half, everything Kateri has been going out the door.”
It has been a long road to the canonization of Kateri Tekakwitha, but this weekend, she will become the first Native American ever admitted to sainthood.
Lynch said, "It's a very joyful time and we're eager to share that with people.”
And also on Sunday, another small celebration will take place at the Kateri Shrine in Fonda. The opening prayer starts at 10 a.m. with the mass at 10:30 a.m. Due to the size of the facility and the parking lot, a maximum of 400 people can attend.