Home Community Annual Mission to St. Anne in Potlotek First Nation Community Annual Mission to St. Anne in Potlotek First Nation By Dana MacPhail-Touesnard - August 5, 2021 Share Facebook Twitter Pinterest WhatsApp A procession of the St. Anne statue and veneration of the relic followed the Sunday afternoon service on the church grounds on the sacred island Mniku. After being forced to cancel the 2020 Mission to St. Anne, thousands returned to Potlotek First Nation and the adjacent island for the five-day mission event that honours the patron saint of the Mi’Kmaq people. Photos by Dana MacPhail TouesnardAs part of the five-day St. Anne Mission, many of the community’s babies are baptized while older children (pictured) celebrate their first holy communion. Left: Rev. Wayne Kirkpatrick, the Bishop of the Diocese of Antigonish addressed the “great tragedy” of Indian Residential Schools in his remarks during the Sunday afternoon mass. He spoke of the need for a re-education for many in the church on the history and impact of residential schools. Middle: Saint Anne is the patron saint of the Mi’kmaq people and has been honoured on the island of Mniku since 1742. The island, which is a few minutes by boat from Potlotek, was named a National Historic Site in 2005. Right: Grand Chief Norman Sylliboy spoke to the challenges facing the First Nations people in recent years and encouraged everyone to “keep the faith,” on the fourth day of the five-day St. Anne Mission event, following the procession of the Saint Anne statue and before leading a meeting of the Mi’kmaq Grand Council. Deacon Thomas Sylliboy (pictured at the microphone) is one of the organizers of the annual mission. Continuing COVID-19 restrictions have resulted in smaller numbers at the 2021 St. Anne Mission but it has still brought hundreds to the area, many in trailers and camping sites on the mainland side (pictured), while others camp on the island, Mniku, which is only two kilometres long and one kilometre wide. After being forced to cancel the 2020 mission to St. Anne due to COVID-related public health restrictions, thousands returned to Potlotek First Nation and the adjacent island of Mniku (accessible only by boat) for the five-day mission event that honours the patron saint of the Mi’Kmaq people. The priests and deacons who conducted the Sunday service on the island of Mniku went into the crowd to offer communion during the outdoor service.