Head of Niagara Catholic Church expresses 'profound sorrow' for residential school system

CKTB - NEWS - Residential School Kamploops BC graves

The calls continues for an apology from the Pope for the deep wounds of the residential school system.

Yesterday St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik, MP Chris Bittle, and MPP Jennie Stevens issued a letter calling on Bishop of the Diocese of St. Catharines Gerard Bergie to demand an apology on Canadian soil from Pope Francis.

Bergie has previously expressed his own 'profound sorrow' and apologized for the suffering caused by the schools run by churches in Canada, but says words cannot adequately convey the impact the system had.

Indigenous leaders are also set to meet with the Pope in Vatican City in December, where they will push for an apology as well.

Bergie says it is important to listen to Indigenous people to further reconciliation efforts and says the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has been working with the Vatican on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission call for a papal apology.

Sendzik, Bittle, and Stevens have offered to arrange opportunities for further discussion with local Indigenous leaders on how the Diocese of Niagara can play 'a meaningful role in reconciliation.'

The residential school system was funded by the Canadian government and run by several church organizations to destroy Indigenous cultures.

Recently, ground penetrating radar has confirmed what Indigenous leaders have been saying for years as hundreds of bodies of what are believed to be mostly children have been discovered near the former school sites.

In the past, the Anglican, Presbyterian, and United Churches and Government of Canada have offered formal apologies for the role they played but many advocates believe the apologies do not go far enough to help the families find closure as some people are still living with the traumas they endured.