Truth and Reconciliation - Videos
Throughout the summer, Archbishop Albert LeGatt will focus his weekly messages on different issues surrounding reconciliation, and on how we, as a Church and broader society, are to move forward. We all have a part to play, and we all must be active players in the process of healing and reconciliation.
215 - In the wake of the devastating news this week of 215 Indigenous children, buried in unmarked graves at a Residential School on the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, Archbishop Albert takes a moment to reflect. To reflect on the active part the Catholic Church played in the tragedy of colonization here in Canada. To reflect also on what these findings mean for us here in Manitoba.
Growth and Transformation - In this homily from June 13, the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Bishop LeGatt reads from the Gospel of Mark (ch 4, 26-34), and reflects on the Kingdom of God, and how we are all called to respond to God's call for growth and transformation.
The mustard seed in Jesus' parable can be seen to be how we all bring about a better relationship between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous persons. The large shrub that grows from the mustard seed will be the result of our asking forgiveness for the good of the other, for the Indigenous, and how we will have walked together as God accomplishes great and wonderful things with all of us.
Continuing on the Journey of Reconciliation - Archbishop Albert continues his reflection on reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. The road of reconciliation is a long, complex, and redemptive one. We all have a part to play, and we all bear the responsibility of being agents to continue this path of healing, through hearing and listening, acknowledgement, apology, and action. We must also continue careful personal introspection, to identify and remediate those seeds of colonization, racism, and hatred that may also be in our hearts, as we humbly continue our Christian and human journey.
Let us Humbly and Actively Seek to Listen, First - Since June 21st is National Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Archbishop Albert reflects on the first and most urging action non-Indigenous people must take: humbly and actively listening to the experiences and wisdom Indigenous peoples share.
Truly, we must together take action in the light of the recent shocking finding of those 215 unmarked children’s graves on the site of the Residential School that once stood on Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, and of similar findings that have preceded it, including the systemic inequity continuing to be faced by Indigenous peoples in Canada. But the first and most pressing action non-Indigenous people must take is real, true, humble listening, in order to then affect to more concrete and lasting change. Especially now as the UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples is set to soon become law in Canada, let us continue, together, to build the ways of healing, reconciliation, and peace.
Let us Continue to Listen, and to Pray
We have just yesterday gotten news of yet another discovery of unmarked graves at a Residential School, this time on the Cowessess First Nation, in Saskatchewan. And we will, without a doubt, continue to hear about more tragic discoveries such as this one, throughout the summer and coming years. Many of us can be rightly shocked, angered, and simply not know how to respond or what to do next. The Catholic Church was an active agent in the tragedy of colonisation in the land we now call Canada, and in the events which ensued, including running many Indian Residential Schools. We may qualify these horrific realities as genocide. Today, how do we understand and respond to this reality? First and foremost, we must listen. Not hasten to quick words or initiatives, but listen; allow Indigenous peoples to heal, follow their lead, inform ourselves, and humbly continue to seek the paths of reconciliation. The answers are complex and many. The responsibility is shared among all, to shoulder the burden and the shame brought on by this tragedy, the consequences of which Indigenous peoples continue to face today. We must be attentive to them, and walk humbly on the paths of reconciliation: these paths which God calls us to today and forever.
Bishop LeGatt: "Our model is Saint Joseph"
Our diocese celebrated an Act of Entrustment to Saint Joseph on July 1st at St. Boniface Cathedral.
The Mass included the Institution to the Ministry of the Lectorate of Peter Tran, a diocesan seminarian.
In his homily on the Gospel of Matthew (1:16-24), bishop LeGatt touched upon the tragic legacy of Residential Schools, and asked that we entrust ourselves to Saint Joseph.
Bishop LeGatt on an Eventual Papal Apology
Archbishop Albert reflects on his continued listening and relationship with many people, especially with Indigenous peoples, and particularly with Indigenous Catholics within our archdiocese. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission put forth a call to action, requesting that the Pope issue an official apology, on behalf of the Canadian and universal Church, for the harms inflicted to Indigenous peoples during Residential Schools.
Has the Pope refused to do so? Not quite. In this video, Archbishop Albert reflects on how Pope Francis may be waiting for the Church in Canada, Bishops, Clergy, and all faithful, to continue the diligent work of contrition and reconciliation, which are indeed essential for such an apology to have real effect, when the time and context are right.
In this view, the December meeting that will take place in Rome between Pope Francis and First Nations, Métis and Inuit representatives, chief among these being Indian Residential School survivors, will be another step towards this goal. In the meantime, we are called, each and all, to continue to listen, humbly, and to continue to seek peace, reconciliation, and healing, as Christ desires for all.
"If you go with less, you will get more" - Bishop LeGatt's July 11 Homily on the Gospel of Mark
In his July 11 homily on the Gospel of Mark, Bishop LeGatt reminds us if you go with less, like the disciples, you will get more. But more of what? God’s love. And the advancement of God’s kingdom. This means more to share, more friendships, and more opened doors.
This observation is applicable in many situations, but most recently regarding our relationship with the Indigenous.
We know of the first contact between the Indigenous and the Christian missionaries, who brought the Christian message. The missionaries carried with them a pearl of great price: Jesus and His Gospel.
But how did it go so wrong? The pearl was carried by the missionaries in an envelope – a cultural envelope – in which Jesus was proclaimed. But because the envelope contained a lot of cultural baggage about how to do things in a European way, Jesus could scarcely be heard, or not at all.
The missionaries came with more. If they had come with less, they would have found more – in the life and teachings of the Indigenous. And the Indigenous would have discovered Jesus.
Let us share Jesus with gratitude… and almost nothing else.
Bishop LeGatt: Honour Your Father and Mother
Pope Francis instituted a Church-wide celebration of the first World Day for Grandparents & the Elderly. Starting this July 25th, it will be held annually every 4th Sunday in July. This year's theme is: “I am with you always" (Mt 28:20), revealing the closeness of God and the Church to the elderly, as well as the inter-generational closeness between the young and the elderly.
As such, Archbishop Albert reflects on the vital role grand- and great-grandparents have in each family, and even in the fabric of greater society, and takes a moment to share on the impact his grandparents had on him.
The 4th Commandment, calling us to honour our father and mother, is never truly understood without also considering the honour adult children are called to give their aging parents. This Commandment was never truly meant for children, but for the adults, who may sometimes forget to care for, be attentive to, and support their aging and declining parents. This year, let us reflect on these realities, on the true gift these elders are to us, personally, and to greater society, and to pray for them.
➡️ More info and multiple resources here: https://www.archsaintboniface.ca/main.php?p=401
Bishop LeGatt: "They were like sheep without a shepherd"
What is a shepherd? What is a good shepherd? How can we know if a shepherd is of God, and trustworthy? Or worthy of blame, as when the prophet Jeremiah accused the kings of Israel of driving the people of Israel away?
In his homily on the Gospel of Mark, Bishop Albert reflects on those Catholics who, in their anger over the recent discoveries at former residential schools, want their names stricken from parish registers. Are they being led by the media? Or are they believers who know what our priorities really should be? What are their intentions? Do we truly even know our own intentions?
And to whom shall we all turn to, when we need a good shepherd? To the one who is peace and, through the cross established peace, reconciling all with God.
Bishop LeGatt: Let Us First Inform Ourselves, and Acknowledge
The Honourable Murray Sinclair, in his tireless work to bring about truth and reconciliation, suggested the way forward was by acknowledging, apologizing, and acting. This week, Archbishop Albert reflects on the steps that need to happen within the Canadian Church, both at the hierarchical and at the charismatic, lay levels, for an apology to be made with any real integrity, and for real, lasting action to follow. The reason many in the Canadian Catholic Church have had difficulty in apologizing, is that this acknowledgement has not yet fully happened. We must thus actively endeavour to educate and inform ourselves, as Catholics in today’s world, to then be able to truly and fully acknowledge the sin of over 150,000 children being ripped from their families in Residential Schools, and the horrors of colonization. Only then will an apology have any integrity. And only then will true, real action ensue, at institutional levels, but first and foremost, at individual, interpersonal levels.
Archbishop Albert's Statement on the Troubling Statements Made by Fr. Rhéal Forest
This week, Archbishop Albert responds to the troubling statements made by Fr. Rhéal Forest, pertaining to Indian Residential Schools. In doing so, he clarifies two vital elements to better appreciate his current reflexion on this and similar issues. First, regret is not enough. He expresses his total, absolute disavowal, renunciation, and repudiation of those patently incorrect ideas which were preached. These were wrong, and beyond that, so deeply hurtful to Residential School survivors, and to their loved ones. Second, a mere statement of apology does not go far enough, either. Rather, Archbishop Albert invites us to ask for forgiveness from Indigenous peoples. Apology can mean many things, and may, in some cases, only reinforce the dynamics of power already at play. Instead, he is calling all Catholics, himself foremost, to ask forgiveness, from a position of deep humility and vulnerability, requesting, as a Church, that Indigenous peoples consider forgiveness for the evil and wrong that was perpetrated to them and their ancestors, and that continue to be reinforced when such statements are made. These recent incidents are yet another reminder of the broad conversion to which we are called as Church, as we continue to address racist ideas and attitudes that persist. Please pray for our Church, and especially its leaders, as we continue to move forward in the steps of recognition, contrition, apology, and reconciliation.
Returning to Spirit Videos
An Encounter with Reconciliation, pt. 1
In this video, Lisa Raven, Executive Director of Returning to Spirit, explains how a SEEDS of Reconciliation workshop works.
An Encounter with Reconciliation, pt. 2
In this video, Albert LeGatt, Archbishop of St. Boniface, Fr. François Paradis, OMI, Knowledge Keeper & Trainer at Returning to Spirit, and Lisa Raven, Executive Director of Returning to Spirit share their personal reconciliation journeys.
Communicating like a Catholic
A useful tool in considering how Catholics discuss the subject of Residential Schools and their legacy.
Created by the Catholic Conscience YouTube channel, this workshop is all about effective communication and, crucially, charitable communication through the lens of our Christian faith.
How do we communicate with others as disciples called to see the face of Christ in everyone we talk to? Watch!