The Bishops of Canada, as a tangible expression of their commitment to walk with the Indigenous Peoples of this land along the pathway of hope, are making a nation-wide collective financial commitment to support healing and reconciliation initiatives for residential school survivors, their families, and their communities.
With a target of $30 million over up to five years, this will include initiatives in every region of the country. The commitment will be achieved at the local level, with parishes across Canada being encouraged to participate and amplify the effort.
Bishop Raymond Poisson, President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), expressed hope that these efforts will support meaningful projects across Canada and make a significant difference in addressing the historical and ongoing trauma caused by the residential school system.
“When the Bishops of Canada came together in Plenary last week, there was universal consensus that Catholic entities needed to do more in a tangible way to address the suffering experienced in Canada’s residential schools. Comprised of local diocesan initiatives, this effort will help support programs and initiatives dedicated to improving the lives of residential school survivors and their communities, ensuring resources needed to assist in the path of healing.”
Funding for projects will be determined locally, in consultation with First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples in each region. The Bishops of Canada have committed and tasked themselves to develop national principles and strategy, timelines, and the public communication of these collective initiatives this November.
Bishop William McGrattan, Vice President of the CCCB, articulated the importance of working together with Indigenous Peoples on local goals, timing, and distribution of funds. “The Bishops of Canada have been guided by the principle that we should not speak about Indigenous People without speaking with them. To that end, the ongoing conversations with local leadership will be instrumental in discerning the programs that are most deserving of support. There is no single step that can eliminate the pain felt by residential school survivors, but by listening, seeking relationships, and working collaboratively where we are able, we hope to learn how to walk together in a new path of hope.”
Today’s news follows a national apology that was issued by the Canadian Bishops on Friday, 24 September. In the weeks and months ahead, the CCCB will continue to provide updates on this work, as part of a long path towards healing and reconciliation.