Pope’s Message to Indigenous People
Dear Friends: Update #1 – Pope’s Apology
– We thank Pope Francis for his apology on behalf of the Catholic Church to our Indigenous people of Canada. We could see it was from his heart and filled with compassion and sorrow stemming from the stories he heard from the delegates.
– This apology recognizes that the Catholic Church was instrumental in the hurt and pain caused by the Canadian Government’s Residential School policy imposed on Indigenous peoples in our country.
– The Catholic Bishops of Canada have pledged, in the 30 million dollar campaign over the next five years, to work with Indigenous people in their dioceses to see what projects will b helpful to follow this apology, and to continue to build on better relationships.
– These projects must be in line with the TRC recommendations and will be approved by an independent Indigenous Board in Ottawa.
– The projects in each diocese will be inspired by residential school survivors and other Indigenous members of Elder Councils or Committees in most dioceses in Canada and the projects will be organized and monitored by them.
– All documentation that will be needed to assist in identifying any unmarked graves or containing residential school stories will be provided by dioceses if they have any records. This is happening in Thunder Bay diocese presently.
– A Committee of Elders is working with the bishop presently to discern these projects and initiatives for the Diocese of Thunder Bay.
– This process will take time, and will need to be examined and evaluated each year by the Elders Committee along with the bishop.
– I will attempt to keep everyone informed as to any developments and issues, as we work together to rebuild stronger and more respectful relationships with the Indigenous people in our area.
Bishop Fred Colli