Michael Swan, The Catholic Register

Michael Swan, The Catholic Register

Michael is Associate Editor of The Catholic Register.

He is an award-winning writer and photographer and holds a Master of Arts degree from New York University.

Follow him on Twitter @MmmSwan, or click here to email him.

As of July 26 the City of Toronto has jabbed its citizens in the arm 4.3 million times. Provincially, 89.5 per cent of the eligible population of Ontario has been at least partially vaccinated. Globally, 3.5 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been distributed.

As Catholics across Canada scramble to make up for the failed “best efforts” fundraising campaign of 2007 to 2013, they’re now answering questions about their “in-kind” contributions to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement — a stream of compensation that Catholic residential school operators over-fulfilled by at least $5 million.

Even as ordinary Canadian Catholics and dioceses roll out plans to raise money and recommit to reconciliation, Indigenous Catholic Deacon Michael Robinson continues to feel the community anger over residential schools.

A week after Pope Francis re-imposed restrictions on pre-Vatican II Latin Mass, parishioners at Holy Family Catholic Church in Toronto were still praying with the 1962 Missale Romanum at their regular 11:30 weekday Masses.

A national lay effort to raise funds and awareness for reconciliation is rising up out of the grassroots of the Catholic Church in Canada.

The tents in city parks, men and women gathered under Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway, lean-tos and sleeping bags scattered through ravines, camp fires among the alder trees near the beaches — none of this is new to Toronto. But it has become a lot more visible since COVID came to town.

Indigenous scholar and former Cowessess First Nation Chief Terry Pelletier is challenging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Oblates of Mary Immaculate to ensure any Cree person can look up the full records of their family members who attended the Marieval Indian Residential School, where approximately 751 unmarked graves were found in June.

Over the last five years retired Ontario Superior Court Justice George Valin has asked three different Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops’ presidents why the bishops can’t simply, unanimously and open-heartedly invite Pope Francis to apologize on Canadian soil for the long, sad history of Catholic-run residential schools. He has yet to receive an answer.

A renewed effort is underway to make up for the failed Catholic “best efforts” campaign to raise $25 million for healing and reconciliation projects across Canada.

“Education got us into this; education will get us out of this.” Though those words were first spoken and repeated often by Truth and Reconciliation Commission chair Sen. Murray Sinclair, they’ve become the personal motto of St. Mary’s University Elder in Residence Casey Eagle Speaker.