On Wednesday, June 9th, 2021, at 7:00 p.m. St. Joseph’s Parish will host a gathering for reflection and prayer in light of the discovery of the remains of 215 children on the site of the former residential school in Kamloops, BC. All are welcome to join this Zoom gathering. Please register here. Oblates will be joining us in prayer, along with parishioners from our sister Oblate parish, Holy Canadian Martyrs.
The Kamloops Indian Residential School was administered by the English Oblates. OMI Lacombe Canada’s Provincial, Fr. Ken Thorson OMI, issued the following media release: Media-Release-KIRS-1. Fr Ken writes: “The Oblates remain committed to humbly participating in ongoing efforts towards reconciliation and healing for our role in this painful part of our shared history.”
In 1991, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Canada were the first among Catholic entities to issue an apology for both their part in residential schools, as well as for the role they played in cultural, ethnic, linguistic and religious imperialism. The 1991 statement recognized “centuries of systemic imperialism,” and the tragic impact of the assumed superiority and historical privilege of Christian Europeans. We are sharing the full 1991 statement here: Oblate_Apology_English.
In 2014, Oblate Provincial Fr. Ken Forster OMI formally renewed this apology and using language that referred explicitly to settler colonialism, he noted: “Through the first centuries of contact, the relationship of non-native to First Nations People was deeply wounded by the settlers’ attitude of cultural and religious superiority and the imposition of colonial power.”
Sunday Liturgy of the Word on June 6th
In addition to our virtual gathering on June 9th, our Sunday Liturgy of the Word on June 6th will reflect on the legacy of residential schools, the trauma caused by settler colonialism in Canada and on our own privilege within a society often informed by colonialist attitudes. To register for the Sunday Liturgy of the Word on June 6th at 10:30 a.m., please click here.