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Canadian cities recognize National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Staff, | September 6, 2021

The City of Regina will recognize Sept. 30 as a statutory holiday marking the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

“We recognize the importance of officially honouring September 30, in commitment to the Truth & Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action,” said Chris Holden, city manager, in a recent news release.

“Our organization is committed to seeking guidance from Indigenous peoples on actions that will ensure that the tragic history and ongoing legacy of residential schools is never forgotten.”

The City of Saskatoon is also making the day a statutory holiday. Both announcements follow upon federal legislation passed in June making Sept. 30 a statutory holiday for federally regulated workers in the public and private sectors.

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Orange Shirt Day

Staff, | September 2021

Joining with communities across the country, Regina Catholic School Division will again officially recognize "Orange Shirt Day" on September 30.

Orange Shirt Day is part of a larger movement in the country to provide opportunity to unite in a spirit of reconciliation and hope for future generations. The movement is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission residential school commemoration event held in B.C. in 2013, emerging out of the account of a young girl named Phyllis Webstad who had her new orange shirt taken away on her first day of school.

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  RCWP Canada Bishop's Message

Harvest of Justice

Here we are – the middle of September with just one week of Summer officially remaining.  Already the colours of Fall are bursting out.  The trees outside my window are dressed in golden hues and late summer flowers are fading in the gardens as night-time temperatures dip to single digits Celsius.  The grain harvest on the prairies has been meagre this year because of intense summer heat and lack of timely rainfall.  Farmers from Eastern Canada are offering some of their surplus hay to Western ranchers so they can maintain their herds over Winter.  This spirit of compassion for the suffering of fellow Canadians is heart warming.  

Six years ago the National Truth and Reconciliation Commission provided 94 recommendations for  government and society to adopt in order to acknowledge and address the harm done by the Federal Government policy that attempted to destroy Indigenous nations by “educating” the Indian out of the child in Indian Residential Schools.  Slowly some of the recommendations of the TRC are being addressed and implemented. 

Recommendations #71-76 deal with Missing Children and Burial Information. Through recent work on these recommendations, numerous unmarked graves of the children were located at several school sites: Kamloops and Cranbrook, B.C. and Marieval, SK.  to name just three. Survivors and their descendants are struggling to deal with the trauma they suffered while at the schools and feeling re-traumatized by these discoveries.  
Recommendation #80, was acted on when the Federal Government establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation for September 30th.  This day is to honour survivors, their families, and communities, and to ensure  that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.  Since 2013 September 30th has been observed as Orange Shirt Day.  The inspiration for this designation came from residential school survivor Phyllis Jack Webstad, who shared the story of her first day of residential schooling at six years old, when she was stripped of her clothes, including the new orange shirt her grandmother bought her. The orange shirt now symbolizes how the residential school system took away the indigenous identities of its students.

There are many opportunities being offered in communities across the country (information about some of them are provided in this edition of The Review) to learn more about the Indian Residential Schools and their place in the colonialization of Canada.  The work of reconciliation will be hard and arduous.  It is going to take more than sharing a surplus crop to restore the strain on the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.  Indeed, we need to go deeper to share what we feel we need for self-preservation.

Mary Simon, our new Governor General of Canada, said in her inaugural speech this past July:

“A lot of people think that reconciliation will be completed through projects and services. All Canadians deserve access to services.

“My view is that reconciliation is a way of life and requires work every day. Reconciliation is getting to know one another.

“As stated in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report: ‘Reconciliation must support Aboriginal peoples as they heal from the destructive legacies of colonization that have wreaked such havoc in their lives.’”*

We find inspiration for the work of Reconciliation in the reading from the Letter of James which we heard on the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time.  It reminds us that faith and works go hand in hand. “Faith by itself, if it has no works, is empty. What good is that?” (James 2:14-18).  The letter goes on to describe what good works look like.  “Holy Wisdom is first of all selfless. She is peaceable, gentle, helpful, full of compassion and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity.” (James 3: 17)

Much like the elements that produce the crops of the field, without the seed, and the rain, and the sun in proportion, there isn’t much to show for the effort in the end. Likewise, the work of Reconciliation requires elements of openness, sincerity, compassion and a willingness to enter into sincere relationships with our Indigenous relatives.  We can trust that works done in good faith will yield a rich harvest of justice. “The peace sown by those who cultivate peace, yields a harvest of justice.” (James 3:18)

May we all be like the farmers of Eastern Canada and open our hearts with compassion for our fellow Canadians.

*See all TRC recommendations


[Jane Kryzanowski, Regina, SK is bishop for RCWP Canada]


Comments to the Editor

Thank you so much for this history lesson. So change does take time! And never doubt that CHANGE WILL HAPPEN!

[Frances McDonald


How important is the word “Inclusive”?

We are all familiar with Paul’s statement in Galatians 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

I wonder if we realize the depth of Paul’s meaning. If Paul is saying that we must clean out all barriers that we place between ourselves, because we are all one in Christ, what does that really mean?

If we extend Paul’s description of peoples, does it not mean: “There is neither Catholic nor Protestant, Orthodox nor Reform, Shia nor Sunni, Gay nor Straight?"  Add any other distinction you can think of.

Can you imagine the consequences of living this idea? How fantastic would that be!

A great peace would descend upon the world.

There would be no more poverty.

China and Russia would be friendly to all countries.

The wars in the Middle East would be history.

Here at home, everyone’s way of worshiping God would be respected.

Go ahead, It’s not hard to add to this list.

You might say this is pure blue skying, there is no chance this can happen.


Does that mean we just give up hope? Give up even trying?

Think a moment, this very idea is what Jesus believed in so strongly, that he was willing to die for it.

If we honestly say that we follow Jesus, then ? ? ? ?  You fill in the blanks.

[Emil Kutarna, Regina, SK]

Announcing a new service:


In response to popular demand, The Review will list individual events on the following topics:

Church Renewal





Women's Flourishing

[Updates to the above pages are made periodically between issues of The Review.]

Walk of Sorrow

Facebook photo                    
Follow Patricia Ballentyne on Facebook during her Walk of Sorrow, Prince Albert to Ottawa

#94in94 Campaign

A social media campaign was launched on June 29th to raise awareness of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action.  Receive one Call to Action per day via email.

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Reconsidering the Legacy of Egerton Ryerson

William Robins, | June 2021

In June, 2019, the Executive Committee of the Board of Regents of Victoria University (University of Toronto) charged me with providing a report on the legacy of Egerton Ryerson. They asked that the report consider historical and current contexts for understanding Ryerson’s involvement with and impact upon Indigenous communities, and that it make recommendations regarding the honorific use of Ryerson’s name on the Victoria University campus.

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Feminist nun Donna Quinn leaves a legacy of justice activism

Mary E. Hunt, | August 27, 2021

Sinsinawa Dominican Sr. Donna Quinn, longtime feminist social justice advocate, died July 30 at the age of 84. She was a pioneer, well ahead of her time and of many of her peers on women's issues in church and society. Donna was tireless, stalwart, a proverbial force of nature, though even nature gives up every once in a while. Donna never did.

Donna served on the committee that set up the first meeting in 1975 in Detroit that founded the Women's Ordination Conference on whose board she later served.

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A paradigm-shifting lectionary for the whole church

Book Cover photo           

Christine Schenk, |August 24, 2021

Reviewing the Rev. Wil Gafney's new A Women's Lectionary for the Whole Church (Church Publishing) has filled me with gratitude and delight. This long-awaited resource is a rare combination of impeccable scholarship and pastoral usability. A Hebrew and rabbinic scholar and professor of Hebrew Bible at Brite Divinity School, Gafney also happens to be an Episcopal priest who preaches regularly. In the introduction to the new Lectionary she asks,

What does it look like to tell the Good News through the stories of women who are often on the margins of scripture and often set up to represent bad news? How would a lectionary centering women's stories, chosen with womanist and feminist commitments in mind, frame the presentation of the scriptures for proclamation and teaching?

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Donation Aid to Haiti photo              
Again our Haitian relatives have been struck by earthquake and hurricane. There is urgent need for assistance for relief.  We are encouraged to be generous in giving to relief agencies directing our donations to Haiti.  Some ways to do this are:
Canadian Jesuits International

Development and Peace -- Caritas Canada

Canadian Red Cross

OEuvres de charité – Soeurs de Sainte-Anne
1754, rue Provost
Lachine, QC H8S 1P1
*Indicate that the donation is going to repair damages due to the earthquake*

The lies of ageism: Who told you that about aging? photo            

Imelda Maurer, | August 24, 2021

The one and only prejudice that every living person is subject to is ageism: judging, characterizing a person or a group based on age. This prejudice — based, as is racism, on false myths — is largely unrecognized in our society because awareness of it has not bubbled up to the level of consciousness in the vast majority of the population.

This unconscious bias makes the prejudice of ageism more insidious because until we recognize an issue, we cannot address it.

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Reflections on the Sunday Readings

by Susan Roll

Reflection for the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time B, Sept 26 2021

Numbers 11: 25-29 (RM), or 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29 (RCL);    Psalm 19;    James 5: 1-6 (RM), or 6:13-20 (RCL);  Mark 9: 38-43, 45, 47-48 (RM) or 9: 38-50 (RCL).

Hell is a garbage dump.

No seriously,  in Jesus’ time and place,  hell really was a garbage dump.

The word that appears in today’s Gospel reading as “Gehenna” refers to a valley called “Hinnom” located south and west of Jerusalem, marking the boundary between the territory of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.  Some of the kings of Judah were reported to have carried out child sacrifice to the god Molech there.  The prophet Jeremiah denounced Gehenna as a place of fire and slaughter.  The idea of Gehenna as a place of unquenchable fire (in Greek asbeston) and worms comes from Isaiah 66:24.  Visualize a huge smoking pit on the far edge of town.

And thus the popular image of hell, as a place where searing sulfurous fire inflicts unending agony as eternal punishment for sins, entered the popular imagination of Christians.  It fueled, so to speak, centuries of hellfire-and-damnation sermons designed to terrify the hearers into morally upright conduct, whether they were, in fact, morally degenerate or not.  Paralyzing terror can be a very effective tool to ensure compliance.

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