Statement from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops following the recent discovery at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School on the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation
On behalf of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), I express our deepest sorrow for the heartrending loss of the children at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School on the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation.
The news of the recent discovery is shocking. It rekindles trauma in numerous communities across this land. Honouring the dignity of the lost little ones demands that the truth be brought to light.
This tragedy profoundly impacts Indigenous communities, with whom many people across this land and throughout the world now stand in solidarity.
As we see ever more clearly the pain and suffering of the past, the Bishops of Canada pledge to continue walking side by side with Indigenous Peoples in the present, seeking greater healing and reconciliation for the future.
We lift up prayers to the Lord for the children who have lost their lives and pledge our close accompaniment of Indigenous families and communities.
May our Creator God bless all of us with consolation and hope.
+ Richard Gagnon
Archbishop of Winnipeg and
President of the Canadian Conference
of Catholic Bishops
31 May 2021
Catholic Diocese of Victoria - Office of the Bishop
1-4044 Nelthorpe Street, Victoria, BC V8X 2Al Tel: 250-479-1331 - Fax: 250-479-5423 - Web: rcdvictoria.org
May 31, 2021
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Statement regarding Residential School in Kamloops
The news of the discovery of 215 graves found at the site of the former residential school in Kamloops saddens me and is shocking. With heartfelt prayers, I want to remember the souls and memory of these little ones. I pray grace and peace for the families, and others, who suffer this loss of loved ones, and for all those who experience the trauma of the residential schools.
The deep wound that has been opened, as painful as it may be, is a path forward for healing. This is an essential path for me to travel on, and I pray that it will be an essential path for others of good will who desire Truth and Reconciliation.
The shock of this discovery may subside, but we cannot abandon the memory and experience of loss for so many families impacted by the residential schools. With resolve, it is an opportunity to let justice and healing flow like a mighty river, lest we forget.
In the peace of the Creator,
Most Reverend Gary Gordon
Bishop of Victoria
Catholic Diocese of Victoria Office of the Bishop 1-4044 Nelthorpe Street, Victoria, BC V8X 2A1 Tel: 250-479-1331 - Fax: 250-479-5423 Web: rcdvictoria.org
June 3, 2021
Apology and Commitment
The discovery of the remains of 215 children found at the former Kamloops Residential School shines a light on a painful tragedy for which words seem inadequate to express my profound sorrow. As we move through these long days of June, more light exposes the dark places of the residential schools era. The penetrating light of our Creator continues to search the hearts of all for the truth, and challenges us to a renewed commitment to listen and act.
On behalf of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Victoria, I apologize for the harm caused due to our complicity involved in the operations of the residential schools. I am committed to the process of healing, reconciliation, and education regarding this tragic history.
The archival records related to the two Residential Schools (Christie and Kuper Island) that were managed by the Diocese of Victoria were forwarded to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2008-2015) and our commitment to transparency remains firm.
We are committed to assist First Nations communities in the work of searching for loved ones who went missing at the residential schools in our Diocese.
We are committed to help facilitate mental health and counselling support for individuals and communities in our Diocese to help find the peace that comes from truth and justice.
We remember with profound sorrow the children who died and the members of their families who continue to grieve and all those who live with the trauma of Residential Schools. We continue to seek pathways of healing for all those on the journey of truth and reconciliation.
We are all interconnected and we have a responsibility to accompany one another in the circle of life. We humbly acknowledge the pain of the past and we accept responsibility for the role we have played in the history of Residential Schools. With the help of the Creator, the path forward is hopeful as we move forward in the light of a new tomorrow. Sincerely, Most Reverend Gary Gordon - Bishop of Victoria