Dear People of the Archdiocese of Regina,
Warm greetings. Well, wintry greetings but with warm good will! This brief message is an overview of the roadmap for our truth and reconciliation journey over the next few weeks.
From December 17th to 20th, an Indigenous delegation will be going to meet Pope Francis in Rome. Its aim is to create meaningful encounters of dialogue and healing, and to prepare the Pope for his pastoral visit to Canada. As you know, in late September the Catholic Bishops of Canada offered an unequivocal apology to Indigenous Peoples, which provides a context for the forthcoming trip to Rome as a step towards reconciliation.
Like our own process of the sacrament of reconciliation, we begin by acknowledging the truths of where and how we as Catholics have been the source of deep pain and wounds; what we have done and what we have failed to do. Pope Francis will have an opportunity to hear about the effects of colonization, the signing and breaking of treaties, the legacy of residential schools, and intergenerational trauma. Many of the stories he will hear will touch these painful truths, and that is an essential step towards healing that will lead to a meaningful encounter and relationship building.
Let us be in solidarity with this Indigenous delegation and the efforts of the Canadian Church as it takes steps on this healing and reconciling journey. Truth, new beginnings and right relationships pave the way towards Reconciliation.
Let us embark on this journey following the movement of the Advent liturgical cycle, beginning with the feast of Christ the King, by entering into the five stage process of the sacrament of reconciliation: examine, confession, repentance, reparation and reconciliation. Each week we will provide educational opportunities to better understand our history and current challenges.
A key landmark on this journey will be December 12th, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, when the Church in Canada celebrates The National Day of Prayer in Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples. This initiative, coordinated since 2002 by the CCCB Advisory group the Canadian Catholic Indigenous Council, marks this feast as a day of prayer, solidarity and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patron of the Americas, appeared in Mexico in 1531 as an Indigenous woman to St Juan Diego, whose Indigenous name was Cuauhtlatoatzin (“Eagle Who Speaks”), and spoke to him in his Indigenous language of Nahuatl. She is wearing the black sash around her waist which is an Aztec Maternity Belt that Mexican women would wear to indicate they were with child.
On this day, December 12th, we will have a special pew collection, in which parishioners across our archdiocese will be able to support the TRC Healing Response. Together, we can pool our resources to support Indigenous-led initiatives to assist in repairing the wounded relationships of the past.
Our Lady of Guadalupe calls us to stand in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples. Through her intercession may we as a church give birth to new relationships and a new way of walking together on the road to reconciliation.
Watch video message HERE