In what are currently 77 Ecclesiastical Circumscriptions of the Catholic Church in Canada (more commonly referred to as dioceses and eparchies), as well as among Catholic religious institutes and other Catholic organizations across the country, the work of reconciliation has a history that is ongoing. The following timeline allows you to see how the Catholic Church in Canada has officially been engaged in supporting Indigenous people in their struggle to preserve their identity and seek justice. Fully developed outlines of the significant involvement specifically by Catholic religious institutes and other Catholic organizations are unfortunately not yet readily available.
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October 21, 2012
Canonization in Rome of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha.
December 19, 2011
Pope Benedict XVI signed a decree officially acknowledging a miracle attributed to the intervention of Blessed Kateri Tekawitha.
October 26-28, 2011
The Most Rev. Anthony Mancini, Archbishop of Halifax and Most Rev. Brian Dunn, Bishop of Antigonish, attend the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s third national event in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
June 28-July 1, 2011
The Most Rev. Sylvain Lavoie, Archbishop of Keewatin-Le Pas, Most Rev. Gary Gordon, Bishop of Whitehorse, and Most Rev. Murray Chatlain, Bishop of Mackenzie-Fort Smith, attended the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s second national event in Inuvik, NT and participated in a Gesture of Reconciliation event with Anglican Bishops as a way of healing past divisions and tensions between the two Churches in that area.
June 15-19, 2010
The Most Reverend Gerard Pettipas, C.Ss.R., Archbishop of Grouard-McLennan and Chair of CCEPIRSS, addressed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s first national event in Winnipeg. The event was also attended by the Most Rev. James Weisgerber, Archbishop of Winnipeg, Most Rev. Sylvain Lavoie, Archbishop of Keewatin-Le Pas, and Most Rev. Albert LeGatt, Archbishop of Saint-Boniface.
June 9, 2010
CCCB with other members of the ecumenical social justice coalition Kairos sent a letter to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Canadian Heritage, and Indian Affairs and Northern Development welcoming the announcement in the March 3, 2010 Throne Speech that the Government of Canada was moving to endorse the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples and encouraging the Government to work in partnership with Indigenous Peoples toward its full endorsement and implementation.
June – August 2010
Participation of the Canadian Catholic Indigenous Council and the Most Rev. Martin Currie, Most Rev. Anthony Mancini and Most Rev. Brian Dunn in a number of events commemorating the 400th anniversary of the Baptism of Chief Membertou, in Port Royal, Halifax and Cape Breton. Pope Benedict XVI appointed His Eminence Marc Cardinal Ouellet as his Special Envoy to the Chapel Island celebrations.
Creation of a CCCB position for an Indigenous Relations Advisor in order to work more closely with the dioceses and Catholic organizations to ensure a Catholic presence in the hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and related events.
July 15, 2009
Very Rev. James Weisgerber, Archbishop of Winnipeg and President of the CCCB, wrote to to Justice Murray Sinclair to congratulate him on his appointment as Commissioner to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
June 11, 2009
Participation of the Most Rev. Paul-André Durocher, Bishop of Alexandria-Cornwall, as the CCCB delegate to the first National Day of Reconciliation, commemorating the first anniversary of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s apology to Aboriginal Peoples on behalf of the Government of Canada for Indian Residential Schools. Archbishop Durocher took part in a traditional sunrise ceremony and exchanged gifts with Aboriginal elders and leaders.
April 29, 2009
At the invitation of Pope Benedict XVI, Indigenous and Church representatives from Canada had a private meeting with him at the Vatican to discuss the Indian Residential Schools. The Holy Father expressed his sorrow at the anguish caused by the deplorable conduct of some members of the Church in these institutions.
National Chief Phil Fontaine of the Assembly of First Nations delivered this statement to Pope Benedict XVI
Announcement from Holy See Press Office
Later, Chief Fontaine said Canada’s Natives Peoples have moved into a post-apology era
March 19, 2009
Sister Marie Zarowny, S.S.A. gave an address entitled “Towards a Theology of Reconciliation between the Roman Catholic Community in Canada and First Nations”, at St. Joseph’s Parish, Ottawa.
Launch of the “Moving Forward Together” Campaign by the 54 Catholic Entities of CCEPIRSS to support healing and educational programs for Canadian Aboriginal communities, including former residential school students and their families.
December 12, 2008 (Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe)
A pastoral message was issued by the Canadian Catholic Indigenous Council on the National Day of Prayer for Indigenous Peoples.
September 22, 2008
Opening day of the 2008 CCCB Plenary Assembly focused on Aboriginal questions. The National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Mr. Phil Fontaine, addressed the Plenary on the need to rebuild the relationship between the Catholic Church in Canada and Native Peoples. The Apostolic Nuncio to Canada, Archbishop Luigi Ventura, awarded Bene Merenti Pontifical Medals to three Aboriginal Canadians – Mrs. Nicole O’Bomsawin from Quebec, Mrs. Shirley Leon from British Columbia, and Judge Graydon Nicholas from New Brunswick – in acknowledgement of their work on the Canadian Catholic Indigenous Council.
The Canadian Catholic Indigenous Council prepared a statistical study on Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples.
May 8, 2006
The Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement was signed by the Government of Canada, the Assembly of First Nations and Inuit Representatives, the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada, the Presbyterian Church of Canada, the United Church of Canada, and eventually 54 Catholic entities representing 17 dioceses and 37 religious institutes that were involved in managing and helping to operate the residential schools which were under the jurisdiction of the Government of Canada.