July 3, 2021
Proposed New ‘APPEAL’ for the support of Residential School Survivors and their Families and Communities
Dear Clergy, Religious and Lay Faithful of the Catholic Dioceses and Eparchy in Saskatchewan,
Over the past days, coming face to face with findings at cemeteries of former residential schools, we have been awakened anew to the waves of suffering from those who have been affected by these schools and the colonial system that fashioned and upheld them, a system with which Catholic Church dioceses and organizations, along with other institutions, were complicit.
We have heard the strong request, from Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in various quarters, to initiate a new fundraising campaign to support survivors and engage more deeply in our own ongoing commitment and response to the Truth and Reconciliation process. Many members of our Catholic community have expressed their solidarity and support for the ongoing work of healing for survivors and their families, which could take the shape of supporting local projects of the National Indian Brotherhood and responding locally to TRC Calls to Action involving a financial commitment, as guided by Indigenous communities here in Saskatchewan (cf. Calls to Action #61, #73-76; #82).
We are deeply grateful for the signs and indications of commitment we have been hearing and have begun consultations this past week towards a province-wide fundraising effort, which we would each undertake in ways discerned in our respective dioceses. To maximize the effectiveness of such an effort, it is important to plan well and to coordinate the efforts of various potential participants, and most importantly, to consult with Indigenous dialogue partners, including Survivors, Elders, Knowledge Keepers and Chiefs. Those conversations are already underway and we hope to be able to announce a plan soon.
We offer this brief communication as an update and look forward to responding with more details in the near future.
In the meantime, blessings to you all on this very warm July long weekend.
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
+Most Rev. Donald Bolen, Archdiocese of Regina
+Most Rev. Bryan Bayda, CSsR, Eparchy of Saskatoon
+Most Rev. Murray Chatlain, Archdiocese of Keewatin-Le Pas
+Most Rev. Mark Hagemoen, Diocese of Saskatoon
+Most Rev. Stephen Hero, Diocese of Prince Albert