July 05, 2005

NWT project builds healing with natives and religious


Canadian Catholic News

The Catholic Aboriginal Council for Reconciliation has approved subsidies of more than $30,000 towards projects designed to heal and reconcile aboriginal and non-aboriginal Catholic communities.

Most of the money will be directed towards the highly successful Returning to Spirit program, initiated by Mackenzie-Fort Smith Bishop Denis Croteau and women religious in the diocese.

Joe Gunn, director of the Justice, Peace and Missions Office of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, and a member of the council's secretariat, said the Returning to Spirit program allows people to reflect on the pain of their experiences in ways that lead to reconciliation instead of creating continuing difficulties.

Two sets of sorrow

Gunn said that while aboriginal people deal with the effects of colonialism, loss of language and culture, separation from their families, and individual cases of physical and sexual abuse, the religious who served at the schools also often feel hurt that their years of dedication and sacrifice are not appreciated.
The program allows three days for each group to work through their anger, frustration and pain, he said, and then brings the two groups together for reconciliation.

"It's the most powerful when you do the third step and bring the two groups

Posted by kshaw at July 5, 2005 07:40 PM