On March 8, 2023, The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops released four Pastoral Letters – to the First Nations, the Métis, the Inuit, and the People of God. The Bishops of Canada decided to write these letters after being updated on discussions with Indigenous partners during their plenary meeting last September. They outline a set of specific commitments which are meant to guide local reconciliation.
To read the letters, please visit https://www.cccb.ca/indigenous-peoples/that-we-may-walk-together-series-of-pastoral-letters-2023/
Bishop Gary Gordon hopes that these letters will be shared widely. The Diocese of Victoria wants to listen and learn from Indigenous people as we discern how to walk together in a new way, which is truly a good way.
One step on this new way could be to participate in the KAIROS Blanket Exercise. The Blanket Exercise is a powerful teaching tool, facilitated by trained local Indigenous facilitators. By engaging on an emotional and intellectual level, the Blanket Exercise effectively educates, promotes understanding, and increases empathy. Please contact your parish office for more information about participating in a Blanket Exercise.
If you are ready to deepen your experience with reconciliation, and are curious and open minded about what reconciliation can look like on a personal level, you are also invited to attend the Seeds of Reconciliation program.
Seeds of Reconciliation is a one-day overview of the Returning to Spirit (https://www.returningtospirit.org/) intensive program. It explores the concepts of what reconciliation is by discovering what it is not. The tools and resources that are presented provide individuals with valuable insights into themselves, while also giving them the essence of the Returning to Spirit workshop process. It can also serve as a refresher for those who have taken the complete workshop long ago.
There are four sessions in March to choose from:
- Thursday, March 2, 2023 at St. John Paul II School in Port Alberni – for Indigenous people
- Thursday, March 2, 2023 at St. John Paul II School in Port Alberni – for non-Indigenous people
- Saturday, March 4, 2023 at Queen of Angels School in Duncan – for Indigenous people
- Saturday, March 4, 2023 at Queen of Angels School in Duncan – for non-Indigenous people
Each workshop runs from 9:00 am – 4:30 pm. For more information or to register, please visit https://www.returningtospirit.org/workshopcalendar, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 250-889-4579 or 1-855-244-3963.
We hope you will be able to participate in this powerful and potentially life-transforming experiences.