A press release sent on Wednesday said funding priorities include healing and reconciliation, cemeteries on the sites of former residential schools, and education and cultural support.
Archbishop Donald Bolen of the Archdiocese of Regina, Bishop Bryan Bayda of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saskatoon, Archbishop Murray Chatlain of the Archdiocese of Keewatin-Le Pas, Bishop Mark Hagemoen of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, and Bishop Stephen Hero of the Diocese of Prince Albert, are all involved in the fundraising effort.
“The overall goal of this campaign is to support residential school survivors and their communities, and to engage more deeply in our own ongoing commitment and response to the Truth and Reconciliation process,” the five bishops wrote.
Earlier this month, the five bishops announced that they heard interest from Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to renew a fundraising campaign for residential school survivors. The bishops said plans were underway to implement the campaign.
Funding priorities are in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action involving financial commitment from the Catholic Church, including call #61, #73-76 and #82.
“We would look to be guided by Indigenous communities here in Saskatchewan in terms of the allocation of funds, with a goal of building and strengthening relationships along the way,” said Bolen.
In a video message posted to YouTube, Bolen announced the province-wide fundraising appeal.
“In recent weeks, we have heard a strong request for the Catholic Church to take ownership for its involvement in the schools, for wounds that have their origin there, but continue on an intergenerational trauma and then systemic injustice,” Bolen said.
“It is our profound desire to do so, continuing past efforts and undertaking new initiatives of commitment and solidarity,” Bolen added.
Online donations are being accepted immediately. Donors will have the opportunity to provide a one-time amount or make a pledge for ongoing support over five years. Details about the campaign and how to donate can be found at the dioceses’ website.
A fundraising goal and timeline will be announced in September.
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