Trivia question for the week before Christmas: What’s the oldest Canadian Christmas carol?
If you’re thinking it must be French, you’re on the right track. According to Wikipedia, it was Huron Carol, written by St. Jean de Brebeuf (St. John Brebeuf if you live in Abbotsford). St. Jean de Brebeuf of course was the Jesuit missionary and martyr known as the Apostle of the Hurons.
Although the Canadian Martyrs are probably Canada’s best known missionaries to Canada’s First Nations people, the first Indian of North America to publicly embrace Christianity was Grand Chief Henri Membertou of the Mi'kmaq tribe in what is today Nova Scotia. That was in 1610, 15 years before Brebeuf arrived in Canada from France, ministering to the Huron in the Great Lakes and southern Quebec.
The 400th anniversary of Chief Membertou's baptism will be commemorated by the Catholic Church, the CCAC, and the Mi'kmaq native communities in 2010.