It is with great sadness that Canada’s Catholic Bishops wish to recognize the one-year anniversary of the shocking reports from the site of the former Kamloops Residential School. These triggered a painful and lasting reminder of the ongoing legacy of suffering caused by Canada’s residential school system.
Over the last year, the Catholic Church’s reconciliation efforts have been galvanized by the reports from Kamloops, and elsewhere across the country. With humility, we have sought to undertake the necessary steps to meaningfully accompany Indigenous Peoples on the long journey towards healing and reconciliation.
In September of last year, Canada’s Catholic Bishops came together to apologize unequivocally for the role of Catholic entities in the residential school system, and for the grave abuses committed. In reaffirming our commitment to healing and reconciliation, we supported a delegation of Indigenous Peoples to the Holy See in March, where we welcomed an apology from the Holy Father, and have launched renewed fundraising efforts in support of reconciliation initiatives, as well as other initiatives on records disclosure and education.
This journey is far from over, and Canada’s Catholic Bishops recognize we must continue to walk in solidarity with the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples of this land.
On this somber anniversary, Canada’s Catholic Bishops wish to reiterate our deep regret and heartfelt sadness for the Catholic Church’s role in the Indian residential schools. Today, we pray for children who did not return home, and for the survivors and communities who grieve and cope with the trauma as the truth of residential schools comes to light.