One year after a papal visit described as “a significant step on the road to healing and reconciliation, the Archdiocese of Vancouver is preparing to take the next step toward reconciliation with the Sept. 10 Healing and Reconciliation collection.
In a Sept. 3 letter promoting the annual collection, Archbishop J. Michael Miller wrote that donors’ support will “continue sowing seeds of understanding and hope, thereby creating a future where reconciliation flourishes and the wounds of the past are gently healed.”
This collection is part of the commitment the Archdiocese has made “to seek a new path with our Indigenous brothers and sisters,” the Archbishop said.
The funds raised will provide grants for local projects developed and administered by Indigenous peoples, he said. “This initiative brings healing and reconciliation to communities and families, promotes culture and language revitalization, provides opportunities for education and community building, and facilitates dialogue.”
The Archdiocese has committed $2.5 million to the Indigenous Reconciliation Fund (IRF), a Canada-wide Catholic initiative, over a five-year period that began in 2021.
In 2022, a grant committee was formed in the Archdiocese of Vancouver to review project applications from local First Nations and Indigenous groups before recommending them to the IRF. To date, eight projects have been recommended to the IRF for funding, including:
- New programming at the Dr. Peter Centre in Vancouver so Indigenous people with HIV and other complex health needs are supported with cultural wellness practices.
- Distribution of the documentary The Cost of Silence to 35 indigenous communities to empower survivors of sexual abuse in sharing their stories and seeking healing.
- Building a new Coast Salish Healing Pole near a former residential school to support the Sts’ailes people in the Fraser Valley.
- Republishing of the book St. Mary’s, the Legacy of an Indian Residential School for distribution to schools in Greater Vancouver.
- Historical research at St. Mary’s Residential School in Mission, oriented toward healing, closure, and Indigenous data sovereignty.
- Translation services, new regalia, and language classes at St. Paul’s Squamish Nation Church in North Vancouver.
- Programs to help restore cultural practices, identity, and dignity ceremonies at a former residential school on the Sunshine Coast.