Kamloops residents and First Nations people gather to listen to drummers and singers at a memorial in front of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School on May 31. CNS photo/Dennis Owen, Reuters

Cardinal honours victims of residential schools at live-streamed Mass

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  • June 7, 2021

Cardinal Thomas Collins apologized during his live-streamed Mass from St. Michael’s Cathedral June 6 and honoured those who died or were mistreated in Canada’s residential schools.

The cardinal apologized as he addressed the late May discovery of an unmarked burial site containing the remains of 215 children at the Kamloops Residential School in British Columbia.

In media interviews following his Mass, Collins said the Church was wrong to take part in the system where Indigenous children were removed from their families and placed in residential schools, mostly operated by various denominations, across the country.

“I think we as Christians need to be particularly regretful and sorry that we took part in that particular system,” Collins said. “It was a governmental program that essentially took little children away from their families.

“I don’t know what the religious groups or the Catholic groups were thinking. They probably wanted to advance their mission. But to participate in anything that took kids away from their families? All we stand for are families. I’m just so sorry that it happened.”

The apology followed a June 3 statement Collins released that recognized “the betrayal of trust by many Catholic leaders” who operated the residential schools and called for prayers “for the children who died in Kamloops and in residential schools throughout the country — they must not be forgotten.”

Pope Francis acknowledged he was “following with pain” the news of the out of Kamloops.

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