Updates from the Canadian Catholic Bishops: LINK

* Catholic Bishops’ Apology to Indigenous Peoples of this Land (LINK)

* Pledge for $30-million in support of healing and reconciliation (LINK)

* Establishment of Indigenous Healing Fund (LINK)

* Catholic bishops to welcome Pope Francis to Canada (LINK)


Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle

Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle is a Catholic coalition of Indigenous people, bishops, clergy, lay movements and institutes of consecrated life, engaged in renewing and fostering relationships between the Catholic Church and Indigenous people in Canada.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle has a fourfold purpose:

1. To provide a forum for its members to dialogue and encourage deeper understanding of the relationships between the Church and Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous spiritualities in Canada.

2. To serve as a united Catholic public voice on relations and dialogue between the Church and Indigenous Peoples, and Indigenous spiritualities in Canada.

3. To assist Catholics in engagement with the Truth and Reconciliation process and its Calls to Action.

4. To carry out agreed upon initiatives and concrete actions.

“Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle is motivated by the love of Christ, filled with great hope for the future and attentive to the Holy Spirit’s action in our world, to the glory of our compassionate Creator and Father.”

Find more information at: Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle website

Canadian Catholic Indigenous Council

The Canadian Catholic Indigenous Council, established in 1998 by the Bishops of Canada, encourages Aboriginal leadership in the Christian community, supports healing and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous, and advises the Bishops on Indigenous questions.  Find more information at: Canadian Catholic Indigenous Council

Association of Western Canadian Bishops Committee for Aboriginal Ministry

The mandate of the Ad Hoc Committee for Aboriginal Ministry is to represent the AWCB (Assembly of Western Catholic Bishops) regarding regional Catholic education and formation opportunities for ministry with Indigenous Peoples who are in the dioceses of Western and Northern Canada. Education and formation considerations may include:

  • Clergy formation: initial and ongoing;
  • Seminarian candidates;
  • Aboriginal lay leaders;
  • Programs addressing Elders, Family, Youth

The committee will connect (where appropriate) with:

  1. Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle ;
  2. Canadian Catholic Aboriginal Council;
  3. Current aboriginal ministry opportunities, including: “Building Bridges/ Directions for Aboriginal Ministry”; “Catholic Indigenous Elders Dialogue”; Formation programs offered by Catholic Universities and/or Colleges.
  4. To make recommendations regarding responses to:
    the Truth & Reconciliation Commission “Calls to Action” b. The United Nations Documents on Rights of Indigenous.
  5. To make recommendations regarding addressing aboriginal spirituality and inculturation, in the Liturgy and Sacraments, with reference to Veritatis Legitimae and other related magisterial guidelines.

Calls to Action

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada documented what happened by relying on records held by those who operated and funded the schools, testimony from officials of the institutions that operated the schools, and experiences reported by survivors, their families, communities and anyone personally affected by the residential school experience and its subsequent impacts.

The Commission hoped to guide and inspire First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples and Canadians in a process of truth and healing leading toward reconciliation and renewed relationships based on mutual understanding and respect. As part of that mandate, the Truth and Reconciliation released 94 Calls To Action to address the damage caused by Residential Schools, by colonialism and by racism: Calls to Action – PDF

Reconciliation is an ongoing individual and collective process that will require participation from all those affected by the residential school experience. This includes First Nations, Inuit, and Métis former students, their families, communities, religious groups, former Indian Residential School employees, government, and all the people of Canada.

In response to TRC Call to Action 48, and in response to questions raised on the legal concepts known as “Doctrine of Discovery” and “terra nullius,” four Canadian Catholic organizations representing Bishops, institutes of consecrated life, societies of apostolic life, Indigenous People, and laity issued two documents March 19, 2016. You can find both documents and resource material on the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) website at: Canadian Catholic Church leaders respond to Calls to Action.

As a member of the CCCB justice and peace commission then-Saskatoon Bishop Donald Bolen wrote a reflection on the Catholic response to these particular Calls to Action:  ENGLISH/ FRENCH – and he was also interviewed about the documents that were signed by Catholic leaders: Bolen interview March 2016.

Call to Action #58 – Apology from Pope Francis on Canadian soil: In March 2018 the president of the CCCB announced that at this time, Pope Francis would not be coming to Canada to apologize for the Church’s involvement in residential schools. Saskatoon’s new bishop, Bishop Mark Hagemoen, addressed the announcement in a pastoral letter: Bishop calls for ongoing reconciliation efforts.