SJU President Signs ACCUC Request for Apology
St. Jerome’s University (SJU) President and Vice Chancellor, Peter Meehan has joined other Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities in Canada (ACCUC) partners, signing a statement about the recent discovery of 215 children’s bodies at the former Kamloops Residential School. The ACCUC extended their deepest condolences and prayers to the entire Tk'emlups te Secwépemc First Nation and to the Indigenous community of Canada. They acknowledged that they are deeply disturbed by the role the Roman Catholic church has played in this case. ACCUC joins other Canadian Catholic organizations in urging the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops to request Pope Francis formally apologize to the survivors, their families, and to all of the Indigenous communities of Canada.
The ACCUC is an organization of over twenty postsecondary academic institutions located across Canada. It acts as the official voice for Catholic higher learning in Canada, as it seeks to spread “the spirit of learning” throughout the country. Meehan is the current Chair of the ACCUC’s Executive Committee. In the statement he signed with other ACCUC members it also noted:
As the leaders of Canada’s Catholic universities and colleges, we feel it is imperative that the suffering and loss of life experienced at the residential schools are never forgotten. As centres of learning, we re-commit our institutions to the importance of Indigenous education, and to listening and working with our Indigenous communities towards the goals of conscientization, reconciliation and healing. To these ends, we also request that the complete records of the residential schools be preserved and made available to all those who seek to learn from this horrific chapter in history.
The ACCUC’s request to the Holy Father, Pope Francis is seen as important for addressing the Church’s reprehensible involvement in the federal residential school system, and identified that it will serve as a critical starting point for the process of healing the Indigenous people.
Use this link to read a copy of the statement distributed by the ACCUC.
Use this link to learn more about the ACCUC.