Bishops of Alberta and Northwest Territories issue letter for the Edmonton national event of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

smithThe Catholic Bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories have issued a Letter of Invitation to all the Catholics of their dioceses in advance of the national Truth and Reconciliation event that will take place in Edmonton, March 27-30, 2014. The letter was released yesterday, February 24 by the Most Reverend Richard Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton. In their letter, the seven Bishops note they are adding their “voice to those of the Catholic Bishops and leaders of religious communities across Canada who have already expressed words of apology and regret.” The Bishops of Alberta and the NWT indicate that while some students benefited from the experience and education they received, “we acknowledge with deep pain that others speak of their experience at Residential Schools in terms of pain, suffering, and lengthy alienation from family, local community, language and culture. Some also speak of being subjected to sexual and physical abuse at these schools.”

This letter is one of several ways the Catholic Church in Alberta and the Northwest Territories will mark what will be the final national event by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Archbishop Smith will participate and offer a gesture of reconciliation. He has also designated Sunday, March 2, as “Truth and Reconciliation Sunday,” when Catholics at all parishes in the Archdiocese of Edmonton will be invited to pray during Mass for healing and authentic reconciliation with Aboriginal peoples. Catholic clergy, religious and laity will also join volunteers from other Church communities in the “Churches Listening Area” at the TRC event. In addition, about 250 students from the Edmonton Catholic School District will attend the TRC special youth-oriented educational sessions on March 27.

Link the Letter of invitation (PDF)

Link to the video archives of the presentation by Archbishop Smith