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Vancouver Island bishop apologizes for church’s role in residential schools

Bishop Gary Gordon of the Diocese of Victoria voices commitment to healing and reconciliation
A view of the outside of St. Andrews Roman Catholic Cathedral on Victoria’s Blanshard Street. (Don Denton/News staff)

A Vancouver Island bishop issued a formal apology statement on June 3 for the Catholic Church’s affiliation with residential schools.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Victoria Bishop Gary Gordon acknowledged the discovery of the remains of 215 children at the former Kamloops Residential School and expressed his own sorrow.

“On behalf of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Victoria, I apologize for the harm caused due to our complicity involved in the operations of the residential schools,” the statement read. “I am committed to the process of healing, reconciliation, and education regarding this tragic history.”

ALSO READ: Island First Nations canoe, drum, sing in Victoria to honour 215 residential school children

Gordon acknowledged Christie and Kuper Island residential schools were managed by the Diocese of Victoria, noting that their archival records were sent to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission between 2008 and 2015.

Gordon also committed the diocese — which includes more than 40 parishes across Vancouver Island and its surrounding Islands, serving about 96,000 Catholics — to help First Nations communities locate members who were separated from them, as well as offering mental health and counselling support.

ALSO READ: Residential school survivor calling for Canada-wide search of sites after remains of 215 children found

“We remember with profound sorrow the children who died and the members of their families who continue to grieve and all those who live with the trauma of residential schools. We continue to seek pathways of healing for all those on the journey of truth and reconciliation.”

The full statement can be found at

Read more about the Catholic Church’s involvement here.


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