Papal apology

Today is an historic moment for our Church, and our country.

This morning, many of us woke up to the news that after days of talks between First Nations, Metis, and Inuit people and Pope Francis at the Vatican, the Holy Father apologized for the atrocities committed against Indigenous students in residential schools in Canada.

As a Catholic school system, Niagara Catholic recognizes and respects the fortitude of First Nations, Metis, and Inuit people who have persevered for many years to ensure their truth was heard both on the land known as Turtle Island and in Rome, and we give thanks to Pope Francis for his apology to the delegations from each community.

This apology is an important first step towards reconciliation between the Church and First Nations, Metis, and Inuit people for the intergenerational trauma caused by Church-run residential schools.

Here is an excerpt from Pope Francis’s apology:

"I also feel shame. 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 these 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." 

The full transcript of the papal apology is available here.

You may also watch the final audience between Pope Francis and the Indigenous delegates here.

Every Monday throughout Lent, we have prayed the Peace Prayer of St. Francis for peace in our troubled world. On Monday, April 4th, we ask all schools and sites across Niagara Catholic to offer this prayer in thanksgiving for the words of peace our Holy Father, Pope Francis shared with the Indigenous peoples of Canada with his apology. May the Holy Spirit continue to guide our Church and its leaders on this path of truth and reconciliation in partnership with the Indigenous community in Canada.

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