Although the issue of residential schools and the harm that was inflicted on so many young Indigenous people has been well documented for many years, it was the discovery of unmarked graves at the school in Kamloops this past summer that brought the information into the mainstream.
As Catholics, we are members of the church that, along with other Christian churches and the Federal government, were involved in teaching in or administering these schools. For many, this has lead to questions and concerns about our faith and our church. At the very least, it has left many searching for information and clarification on these issues. On this page, we hope to bring some enlightenment to the conversation, through articles, documents and videos that will hopefully provide us some guidance on the way forward that is in keeping with our faith as Christians.
From Father Andrew:
All of us at St Augustine’s are deeply grieved by the news of the tragic deaths of hundreds of young Indigenous children at the Kamloops Residential School while under the care and protection of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. My deepest condolences go out to all who have been directly or indirectly affected by this unprecedented tragedy of Canadian history. Myself and my confreres owe it to each and every one of you to ensure that these children have not died in vain.
As we struggle to move forward in a concrete and meaningful way, let the long-silenced voices of these innocents be heard. Let their spirits guide us through the love they left behind and to the justice they deserve. There is no sorrow without joy; no darkness without light. May the departed souls of these innocent children reach out to comfort and sustain all those who walk in their stead as we move forward to true and abiding reconciliation.
God Bless you all,
Creator God of love and justice, comforter of those who mourn, we turn to you acknowledging the actions of our Church and our nation. We have asked forgiveness and committed to work for healing and reconciliation. But we are painfully aware that for some, that change came too late.
We offer you our sorrow for the wrongs committed against the people of this land, our First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children in Canada’s Indian Residential Schools.
We offer you our contrition for what was allowed to happen, and for what will never be.
We offer you our repentance for the injustices borne of arrogance and the harm done through indifference.
We pray for comfort for the families and communities whose children, siblings, family, and friends were taken from home but did not return.
We pray for consolation of hearts wounded through separation and trauma.
We pray for healing of bodies, minds, and spirits wounded through abuse and oppression.
We ask for clear eyes, that we may face the story of our nation and our Church with honesty.
We ask for open hearts, that we may hear the stories of Indigenous Peo-ples with humility.
We ask for courage, that we may once again ask our brothers and sisters for forgiveness.
We declare our desire to be a people who pursue peace.
We declare our resolve to be a people who remember.
We declare our commitment to be a people of truth and reconciliation.
Holy One, Creator of all that is, seen and unseen, of story and of song, of heartbeat and of tears, of bodies, souls, voices and all relations: you are the God of all truth and the way of all reconciliation. Come upon us, O Divine Healer, and open our eyes to the injustices brought against the Indigenous peoples of this land, their languages and cultures. May you be known for healing and wholeness, rather than being blamed for abuses that were brought about by human weakness and hostility. Make us people of integrity and bearers of hope, that we may commit to restoring relation-ships and to journeying together, as Non-Indigenous and Indigenous broth-ers and sisters, to a place of peace in you, where every tear will be wiped away, and every sorrow turned to joy. Give us one heart and one mind to walk together in the love and strength of your Spirit, in truth, reconciliation, and peace.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, your Son, our brother, our Lord, and our hope.
Amen. St. Paul, pray for us.