Praying for healing and reconciliation
in Meadow Lake, SK
By Darcie Lich – Oblate Associate
Creator God of love and justice, comforter of those who mourn, we turn to you acknowledging the actions of our Church and our nation. We have asked forgiveness and committed to work for healing and reconciliation. But we are painfully aware that for some, that change came too late.
We offer you our sorrow for the wrongs committed against the people of this land, our First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children in Canada’s Indian Residential Schools.
We offer you our contrition for what was allowed to happen, and for what will never be.
We offer you our repentance for the injustices borne of arrogance and the harm done through indifference.
We pray for comfort for the families and communities whose children, siblings, family, and friends were taken from home but did not return.
We pray for consolation of hearts wounded through separation and trauma.
We pray for healing of bodies, minds, and spirits wounded through abuse and oppression.
We ask for clear eyes, that we may face the story of our nation and our Church with honesty.
We ask for open hearts, that we may hear the stories of Indigenous Peoples with humility.
We ask for courage, that we may once again ask our brothers and sisters for forgiveness.
We declare our desire to be a people who pursue peace.
We declare our resolve to be a people who remember.
We declare our commitment to be a people of truth and reconciliation.
Holy One, Creator of all that is, seen and unseen, of story and of song, of heartbeat and of tears, of bodies, souls, voices and all relations: you are the God of all truth and the way of all reconciliation. Come upon us, O Divine Healer, and open our eyes to the injustices brought against the Indigenous peoples of this land, their languages and cultures. May you be known for healing and wholeness, rather than being blamed for abuses that were brought about by human weakness and hostility. Make us people of integrity and bearers of hope, that we may commit to restoring relationships and to journeying together, as Non-Indigenous and Indigenous brothers and sisters, to a place of peace in you, where every tear will be wiped away, and every sorrow turned to joy. Give us one heart and one mind to walk together in the love and strength of your Spirit, in truth, reconciliation, and peace.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, your Son, our brother, our Lord, and our hope.
Amen. St. Paul, pray for us.
Walking to Remember the 215 Children of Kamloops Indian Residential School – Meadow Lake, SK
Last week the leadership of the Flying Dust community organized a walk to remember, to honor and to express their solidarity with the parents and grandparents, the families and the ancestors of the children who were discovered in the unmarked graves at the Kamloops Residential School. T-shirts, masks, and bottles of water were distributed as the people gathered – members of Flying Dust and other communities in the North, people from Meadow Lake, including people from Our Lady of Peace Parish. The walk began at Our Lady of Peace Roman Catholic Church in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan and concluded at the Band Office on Flying Dust (approximately 2km).
Various Elders prayed as we gathered, using traditional prayers, rituals and language; prayers, rituals and language that had been silenced, at one time forbidden both by the government and the Church. We were reminded in clear terms of why we were gathered. An honor song accompanied our prayer, instructions of how to proceed were given and then the procession began. We were accompanied by the RCMP. We visited as we walked. The sun was out and the temperature was high as we walked. Water and assistance were provided for the walkers in need. A wagon with a team of horses provided a ride for those in need. Two saddle horses with stuffed toys attached to the saddles kept us company.
When we arrived at the Flying Dust Band Office people sought shade from the scorching sun. Dignitaries and Elders gathered under the shade of a tent. We were welcomed and encouraged by the Chief and the Councillors of Flying Dust and the Meadow Lake Tribal Council. The Director of the Health and Wellness Office of Flying Dust and others who spoke before her and after her gave us wisdom, inviting us to take time in the grieving process, to remember, to act, to speak up, to deepen cultural practices, to take care of each other, to forgive and to reconcile, to keep the momentum and to move forward as we are able.
Those who gathered included Indigenous and Metis people as well as people from Meadow Lake and the surrounding area. We were reminded that the discovery of the unmarked graves is an opportunity to take another step in the process of healing from the colonial practices of our country and our Catholic Church.
While we gathered and walked there was sadness, sorrow, and disbelief that so many children were buried with no remembrance. In saying that each life is sacred and each life matters, as a Church, as a people, we need to do better. Sorrow and regret, frustration and anger, accountability and support, forgiveness, justice, mercy, thoughts of hope, healing and reconciliation swept through us as we gathered. Our prayer that this never happen again to any people drifted upward to the God who sees all, loves all, heals all and calls all to new life. The call to care for one another, even those we cannot see was heard and acted upon today in the walk to remember the 215 children of the Kamloops Residential School.
Meadow Lake Now has published a story about this walk:Meadowlakenow.com-Indigenous leaders call for healing and forgiveness as residential school memorials continue
By Doug Jeffrey, OMI