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From the monthly archives: June 2021

We are pleased to present below all posts archived in 'June 2021'. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try using the search box.

VIDEO: The Value of Work - Year of St. Joseph Reflection w/ Dcn. Steven Defer

In this video, Deacon Steven Defer uses fishing as a way to reflect on the Catholic perspective on the value of work, the dignity of workers, and our attitude to our own work, and the beauty that work can give us and those we serve. 

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Indigenous delegation to Vatican could come by end of the year

Canada’s Catholic bishops remain committed to moving forward with a delegation of Indigenous people to the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis by the end of this year.

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Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Residential Schools – June 2021

This FAQ is intended to provide some context and address some frequently asked questions about this important issue. We must all join in the collective efforts on the path to healing and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

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Pope prays for Indigenous children who died in residential schools

After his Angelus address June 6, Pope Francis led hundreds of pilgrims and visitors in St. Peter’s Square in a moment of silent prayer for the Indigenous children who died in Canadian residential schools and for their grieving families.

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Indigenous rights on the mind of Vatican’s new representative to Canada

Pope Francis’ new ambassador to Canada has often defended the rights of Indigenous peoples around the world and earlier this year noted they were being hard hit by the ongoing COVID pandemic.

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Researcher: ‘Mass grave’ narrative misses need for answers

Anthropologist Dr. Scott Hamilton said in an interview that he believes his study provides important detail and context for a public grappling with the implications of the Kamloops news. Hamilton said the “mass grave” description “misses the point with the residential-school story,” a story that unfolded over more than a century and in which appalling conditions led to high death rates due to disease, the most devastating of which was tuberculosis.

Deceased students were often buried in simple graveyards near the schools because federal authorities provided no funding to send the bodies home or to conduct proper burials.

The result, Hamilton told The B.C. Catholic, was that the children were interred in de facto “pauper’s graves” with simple wooden crosses that have deteriorated and disappeared over the decades.

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FULL INTERVIEW: Chief Wilton "Willie" Littlechild with Archbishop Smith on reconciliation

Exclusive interview with Chief Wilton "Willie" Littlechild and Archbishop Richard Smith on reconciliation.

Chief Littlechild, former Grand Chief of the Confederacy of Treaty 6 First Nations, attended 3 different residential schools over a span of 14 years. 

He was also a commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a member of the 1977 Indigenous delegation to the United Nations, and worked on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

He is a recipient of the Order of Canada, Alberta Order of Excellence, and Queens Counsel.

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VIDEO: Vigil for the 215 at Sacred Heart Church of the First Peoples

Video of the vigil held at Sacred Heart Church of the First Peoples in Edmonton on Thursday, June 3, 2021 for the Kamloops 215.

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Archbishop's Letter on Kamloops 215

We must acknowledge the role played by Catholic organizations in the residential school system. I recall my own testimony to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, given on behalf of the Catholic Bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories:

“We apologize to those who experienced sexual and physical abuse in residential schools under Catholic administration. We also express our apology and regret for Catholic participation in government policies that resulted in children being separated from their families, and often suppressed Aboriginal culture and language at the residential schools.”

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Statement on Grandin name

The people of the Archdiocese of Edmonton share the deep pain felt by Indigenous Peoples, and indeed all Canadians, arising from the disclosure that what is believed to be the remains of 215 children were found at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in B.C.

The painful legacy of residential schools, many of which were originally under Catholic administration, reverberates to this day.

The name Bishop Vital-Justin Grandin, central Alberta’s first bishop, appears in a variety of contexts: on buildings, schools, and neighbourhoods. We acknowledge that it represents a controversial and mixed legacy. Although Bishop Grandin is rightly remembered for the many good things he accomplished, nevertheless the association of his name with the sad and tragic legacy of residential schools has rendered it for many people a reminder of very painful experiences.

The Archdiocese is ready to engage and work directly with First Nations, school districts, Franco-Albertan communities, the City of Edmonton, the provincial government and all stakeholders in an ongoing and meaningful conversation about the next steps.

We are committed and working towards finding a solution that is respectful to all parties involved.

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