Canada celebrates the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation today, September 30th. Established by law on June 3 by the Canadian Parliament, this day was born as a national initiative aimed at honoring lost and surviving children, victims of abuse and violence in residential schools, and their families and communities. The pain experienced can be “an important part of the reconciliation process.” On Monday, Bishops of Canada announced a $ 30 million national funding pledge in support of healing and reconciliation programs. Bishop Raymond Poison, president of the Canadian Bishops’ Conference (CCCB), expressed hope that these financial efforts could support “significant projects across Canada” to help victims “deal with trauma.” The note reads that the Catholic Church of Canada is a “firm sign” of the commitment to “walk the path of faith with the indigenous people of this land.” At a full meeting on September 24, the bishops issued an official apology to “the indigenous peoples of this land”: “We recognize the grave abuses committed by some in our Catholic community; physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, cultural and sexual abuse. Indigenous people continue today.” We painstakingly acknowledge the historic and continuing trauma and legacy of suffering and challenges we face as Catholic Bishops of Canada and express our deepest condolences. For days, the pope will engage in conversations with survivors, the elderly, and knowledge-seekers in residential schools. There will be many prayer and dialogue initiatives encouraged by the districts. In Toronto, for example, the Archbishop called on the Catholic community to set aside time today to participate in prayer, reflection, and prayer awareness with knowledge and cover of this history. Thomas Collins from Cathedral Basilica of St. Michael. “We have a responsibility to take real and meaningful steps to work with tribal communities on the path to reconciliation. Schools established by the Canadian government at the end of the 19th century and handed over to local Christian churches, including Catholic churches.
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