Archbishop Smith: ‘We are called to be united as ambassadors of reconciliation’

08 February 2023

Appears in: Archdiocesan News

The Archdiocese of Edmonton continues to seek ways to walk together along the pathway of healing and peace following the historic events of last year, from the First Nations, Metis and Inuit Peoples’ delegation to the Vatican, to the extraordinary ‘Walking Together’ pilgrimage of reconciliation of Pope Francis.

The Bishops of Canada have  published pastoral letters to the First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Peoples of Canada. The letters outline a set of specific commitments, which the bishops are prepared to address and discern together with Indigenous leaders to enable continued reconciliation, especially at the local level.

“We are called to be united as ambassadors of reconciliation,” Archbishop Richard Smith, coordinator of the Papal Visit to Canada, said in a statement. “The Holy Father’s apostolic journey signaled in both gesture and word the high priority Pope Francis assigns to furthering the cause of reconciliation, one which we, too, have made our own.

Pope Francis greets First Nations leaders at Maskwacis during his 2022 visit to Canada.

“I invite you to continue along the journey with me and the Indigenous Peoples. As Pope Francis said at Sacred Heart Church of the First Peoples in Edmonton, the Church, fashioned from the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit, is ‘the living body of reconciliation.’

“Let’s work together in our parishes and Catholic institutions on ways to deepen and strengthen reconciliation, not only with the Indigenous Peoples but also among ourselves and with all people.”

Archbishop Smith will be reaching out to local First Nations and Metis leaders to discuss our common path together. The Archbishop continues to have a close relationship with the Indigenous leaders in the Archdiocese and consults with them regularly.