Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
The Bishops of Canada wanted to acknowledge the continuation of their journey of hope, reconciliation and healing with the Indigenous peoples of our country by offering four letters. Three letters are addressed individually to First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. The fourth letter is addressed to the Catholic faithful in this country.
The content of the letters to Indigenous peoples is rooted in conversations with Indigenous partners and speeches by Pope Francis who invited the bishops to continue to take concrete steps in this process of reconciliation.
Pastoral Letter to the First Nations
Pastoral Letter to the Inuit in Canada
Pastoral Letter to the Métis
The individual letters confirm the bishops’ commitment to Indigenous peoples to:
- Continue the dialogue.
- Fulfill the commitment of the Indigenous Reconciliation Fund ($30 million over five years).
- Support Catholic educational institutions, seminaries and religious houses, as well as programs of pastoral formation in their efforts to foster a greater understanding of Indigenous cultural, linguistic, and spiritual traditions.
- Work together with local community leaders to address social challenges, including addictions, suicide, violence, poverty and incarceration.
- Provide accompaniment in the quest for justice in the spirit of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Catholic Social Teaching.
- Stand in solidarity with the Indigenous in the stewardship of Creation, our common home.
- Share an appreciation of respect for the spiritual wisdom of elders.
The letter to the Catholic faithful:
This letter is an invitation from the Bishops of Canada to all members of the Catholic Church in Canada to join them in continuing efforts at reconciliation and healing.
Archdiocese of Ottawa-Cornwall
In July 2022, Archbishop Damphousse and Bishop Mathieu had the privilege of accompanying two groups of Indigenous pilgrims to Quebec City to see Pope Francis during his trip to Canada. One group represented the St. Kateri Tekakwitha Circle (Ottawa) and the other group represented the Mohawks of Akwesasne from the St. Regis Mission Church Akwesasne.
Since the Pope’s visit, the Archdiocese has launched “A Christ-Centered, Co-Journey Towards Healing – Ottawa-Cornwall’s Fundraising Campaign in Support of Reconciliation.” Through the generosity of our parishes, many individuals as well as religious communities, the campaign had raised over half a million dollars by the end of 2022. The 2023 fundraising campaign will kick off in late September. The special collection will be held the weekend of November 4 and 5, 2023.
The Diocesan Reconciliation Committee began accepting grant applications in the spring of 2023. As of mid-August, five grants have been awarded to:
- Kateri Native Ministry
- Odawa Native Friendship Centre
- Minwaashine Lodge
- Mādahòkì Farm
- Akwesasne Kateri Prayer Circle