April 1, 2022
Pope Francis met with the entire Indigenous Delegation in Rome this morning, including participants from Sacred Heart, and he proceeded to make an apology for the role of the Catholic Church in the residential schools. Here is an excerpt of his words:
“I have said this to you and now I say it again. I feel shame – sorrow and shame – for the role that a number of Catholics, particularly those with educational responsibilities, have had in all these things that wounded you, in the abuses you suffered and in the lack of respect shown for your identity, your culture and even your spiritual values. All these things are contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
For the deplorable conduct of those members of the Catholic Church, I ask for God’s forgiveness and I want to say to you with all my heart: I am very sorry.
And I join my brothers, the Canadian bishops, in asking your pardon.
Clearly, the content of the faith cannot be transmitted in a way contrary to the faith itself: Jesus taught us to welcome, love, serve and not judge; it is a frightening thing when, precisely in the name of the faith, counter-witness is rendered to the Gospel.”
To read the full text of Pope Francis’ address, click here.
He also mentioned his intent to visit Canada in summer (2022), around the feast of St. Anne – July 26. (This culminated in his historic visit to Sacred Heart Church of the First Peoples.)
Here is the recording from the final meeting.
Here is an interview with the Métis delegates after their meeting with Pope Francis:
Watch the interview with Chief Willie Littlechild, who attended the Indigenous Delegation to Rome as the third primary delegate from Alberta.
Here is a video from Global News covering the Delegation
As we drew near to the departure of the Indigneous Delegation to Rome for their meeting with Pope Francis, parishioners of Sacred Heart kept them in our thoughts and prayers.
Mar 15, 2022: Interview with Métis Papal Delegate Angie Crerar
Angie is a residential school survivor and elder and knowledge keeper from Grande Prairie, AB. She will be part of the Indigneous Delegation going to meet Pope Francis at the end of the month. You can read here story here.
Mar 9, 2022: VIDEO: Interview with Gary Gagnon on Indigenous Delegation
Here is the original Archdiocesan update with news about the delegation.
Feb 1, 2022
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), have decided upon a date for the Rome delegation of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit to meet with Pope Francis. This meeting, which was supposed to take place in December 2021, was postponed because of concerns over the Omicron variant. However, a new date has been agreed upon. The meeting will take place at the end of March and the beginning of April. The full statement can be read here. We are so excited that progress is being made in this important milestone.
Oct 27, 2021
Announced this morning, Pope Francis has accepted an invitation to come to Canada to further faciliatate the process of healing and reconciliation with Indigneous peoples. We are so excited about this milestone achievement in the process of dialogue and moving forward. Further information can be found here. This is in response to the request of the Bishops of Canada, the Indigenous peoples of Canada and the Truth and Reconcilation Commission’s Article 58:
“58. We call upon the Pope to issue an apology to Survivors, their families, and communities for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in the spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children in Catholic-run residential schools. We call for that apology to be similar to the 2010 apology issued to Irish victims of abuse and to occur within one year of the issuing of this Report and to be delivered by the Pope in Canada.”
Please join us in praying for the success of this landmark event.
Our Associate Pastor, Fr. Mark Blom, and our Elder, Fernie Marty, shared their reactions to this wonderful news in a radio interview. You can find the interview here.