The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), in consultation with the Canadian Catholic Aboriginal Council and Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle, is proposing that Catholic dioceses/eparchies, parishes, missions and organizations offer assistance on two key issues which are of special importance to Indigenous People and of concern for all Canadians:
1. Identifying, documenting, commemorating and protecting residential school cemeteries and related burial sites
2. Assisting the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
Both issues are timely and are noted of special importance by the Canadian Catholic Aboriginal Council. They are also among the Calls to Action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (Calls to Action 73-76 on the cemeteries and burial sites, and Call to Action 41 on the inquiry). Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle is the recently established Catholic coalition of Indigenous people, Bishops, clergy, lay movements and institutes of consecrated life, engaged in renewing and fostering relationships between the Catholic Church and Indigenous people in Canada. The CCCB and the Canadian Catholic Aboriginal Council are members of Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle.
The suggestions are being circulated and proposed in the same spirit that the followers of Christ are called to share and participate in the “griefs and the anxieties” of the poor and afflicted in our day (Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et spes, 1). They are opportune and practical ways to express love and concern through the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy – which include burying the dead, comforting the sorrowful, praying for the living and the dead.