Goto main content
A message for the National Day of Prayer in Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples
2022-11-29

A message for the National Day of Prayer in Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples

This year, we have been blessed to have had a delegation of Indigenous people visit Pope Francis in Rome in order to receive his apology on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church, and again to welcome the Holy Father to this land to hear his words of sorrow as he embarked on his, self described, “Pilgrimage of Penance”. Let us take this opportunity to build on the reflections offered by Pope Francis.

The Holy Father comments that he is struck by the Indigenous delegations’ wise and farsighted term “traditional wisdom” as it applies to the need to consider the impact of deliberations as far into the future as the seventh generation. Pope Francis’ understanding of the family bond over generations, and its importance in moving forward with reconciliation is instructive and it opens the door for all Catholics to learn about and apply understandings of the Indigenous world view towards reconciliation.  

In Rome, Pope Francis remarked, “The ties that connect the elderly and the young are essential. They must be protected lest we lose our historical memory and very identity”. At the Mass in Edmonton, celebrating the feast day of Saints Anne and Joachim, the Holy Father recognized the gift that is family and how, “No one comes into this life detached from others. The love that awaited us and welcomed us into this world are part of a unique history that preceded us… we did not choose that history; we received it as a gift.” This is consistent with the insight from an Elder from Cold Lake, Alberta who responded to a question about why Indigenous parents were indulgent with their children, saying, “We must not injure the child’s spirit”. Children’s experiences of abuse at the hands of those who would shape their lives are contrary to this principle and that, in Indigenous settings, family ties are to be nurtured, protected, and cherished as the gift they are. 

As Catholics, we share this value of strengthening nuclear and extended family ties, but we often do not see the many ways that colonization continues to impact the very thing we cherish. Indigenous voices have expressed that “residential school” continues in other forms. Child welfare authorities remove Indigenous children from nuclear and extended family settings. Canada’s justice system also removes parents from children which seriously affects opportunities for continuity of relationships, identity formation and indeed wholesome human development. As Catholics concerned about reconciliation, can we advocate for changes to these contributors to continued intergenerational trauma?

Maintenance and strengthening of family ties are very much in evidence in many Indigenous traditions from Powwows, which unite all generations in the gift of dance and feast, to the traditional wisdom demonstrated in the ‘pipe of peace’ smoking ceremony whose symbols teach the interdependence of all beings in creation. 

These are but a couple of examples from many traditions that can be further explored to help us acquire an understanding of Indigenous peoples, as part of the reconciliation journey. 

During his visit to Iqaluit, the last stop before his return to Rome, Pope Francis shared the words of an Elder who spoke of the beautiful spirit that reigned in Indigenous families before the advent of the Indian Residential School system. “He compared those days of grandparents, parents and children living harmoniously together as to springtime when the birds chirp happily around their mother. But then the singing stopped, families were broken up. Winter fell over everything”.

As we grow in our knowledge of one another and move away from stereotypes toward an increased understanding of our unique and shared beliefs and values, may our journey of reconciliation bring the springtime back once again and may our winter of shame be banished forever.

Canadian Catholic Indigenous Council

  • A message for the National Day of Prayer in Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples

    The National Day of Prayer in Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples is celebrated on December 12 every year, on the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas. The Canadian Catholic Aboriginal Council celebrates this day for prayer, solidarity and reconciliation, by issuing an annual message honouring Aboriginal people who were inspired by their Catholic faith.


    Published on 29.11.22
  • Journey through Advent 2022

    The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops presents Journey through Advent with the Most Rev. Joseph Dabrowski, CSMA, Auxiliary Bishop of London, Ontario. Join us as we reflect on the Scriptures for the Sundays of Advent 2022.


    Published on 23.11.22
  • Pope’s November prayer intention: 'For children who suffer'

    Pope Francis releases his prayer intention for November, inviting everyone to pray for the millions of children who are suffering around the world, especially for those who are homeless, orphans, and victims of war...


    Published on 01.11.22
  • The Continental Stage of the Synod

    The Holy See’s General Secretariat of the Synod issued the Document for the Continental Stage (DCS) of the 2021-2024 Synod: For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission. The DCS is the result of the discernment of 112 contributions from episcopal conferences, including the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), as well as contributions from Eastern Catholic Churches, religious congregations, ecclesial associations and movements, the Vatican dicasteries, and individual contributions submitted to the General Secretariat of the Synod.


    Published on 31.10.22
  • Pastoral letter of the Ukrainian Rite Catholic Bishops in Canada

    The war in Ukraine rages on with no end in site, claiming the lives of thousands of innocent children, men and women, with millions more on the move as refuges in search of safety, food, shelter, clothing and medicine, in addition to the destruction of countless homes, schools, hospitals and business. As winter approaches, hundreds of thousands of people will have no heat in their homes, with energy being used as a weapon of punishment...


    Published on 20.10.22
  • The Indigenous Reconciliation Fund launched its website

    On October 17, 2022, the Indigenous Reconciliation Fund launched its website, which is linked to the CCCB website via both the home page (drop-down banner) and the Indigenous Peoples section. The site can also be accessed directly. https://www.irfund.ca/...


    Published on 18.10.22
  • Pastoral Letter to Young People

    Issued on the anniversary of the death of Blessed Carlo Acutis, 12 October 2022, this Pastoral Letter is meant to inspire young Catholics to live their faith in an extraordinary way, encouraging them to strive toward holiness, and assuring them of the steadfast support and accompaniment of their Bishops along their individual journeys of faith...


    Published on 12.10.22
  • National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

    As Canadians pause to observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the Catholic Bishops of Canada prayerfully reflect on the painful journey of Indigenous Peoples of This Land. We are especially mindful of the role of the Catholic Church in operating residential schools and the pain and ongoing trauma it has caused for generations of Indigenous families. In particular, we remember the children who endured pain and suffering in residential schools, aware that many did not return home.


    Published on 30.09.22
  • Bishops of Canada Deepen Their Commitments to Walk Together with Indigenous Partners on the Healing and Reconciliation Journey

    The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), gathered in Plenary Assembly this week, agreed upon a series of next steps related to the painful legacy of residential schools. This work builds on previous commitments to promote access to records, educate clergy on Indigenous cultures and spirituality, and contribute $30 million to healing and reconciliation initiatives across Canada.


    Published on 29.09.22

Archidiocèse de Gatineau
180, boulevard du Mont-Bleu,
Gatineau (Québec) J8Z 3J5

info@diocesegatineau.org
Téléphone: 819 771-8391
Télécopieur: 819 778-8969

Contact the diocesan team
 

© 2021 Archdiocese of Gatineau. All rights reserved.

Created by Communications et Société powered by SedNove