Categories: Family News

To: All the Faithful of the Diocese of London

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Today, on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I am pleased to provide you with an update on the work of the Diocesan Truth and Reconciliation Committee. For the past two years, the committee has been committed to walking with Indigenous people on the path of healing and reconciliation. 

Their work has focused primarily on providing educational opportunities and engaging with local Indigenous communities. Through the educational opportunities and resources they provided, they invited all of us to enlarge our tent (Isaiah 54:2), to open our mind and hearts to the stories and lives of Indigenous people. This movement of the heart and mind is a prerequisite to truth and reconciliation. 

The committee’s work with local Indigenous communities has involved listening carefully to their concerns and hopes. As well as building relationships, the committee has helped to distribute approximately a half a million dollars of the $1.8-million dollar 5-year commitment that our Diocese made to the Indigenous Reconciliation Fund. 

Earlier this year, we had our first Truth and Reconciliation Collection, and you, the people of our Diocese, responded generously. To date, the total amount raised is over $140 000. Thank you. 

We join in offering our thanks to those who have finished their term of faithful service on the committee: Sarah Donohue, J.D., Father Michael Béchard, and Dr. Valerie Waboose. I am grateful that new members have agreed to serve on the committee and carry on the work of truth and reconciliation. I would like to announce that Kathy Furlong has agreed to serve as the chair. The new members on the committee are: 

  • Katie Jacobs, the Family and Youth Ministry Coordinator, South Windsor Catholic Family of Parishes; 
  • Fr. Bernard Akum, who has done similar work in his previous diocese;
  • Dianne Tucker, who is a parishioner of the Lake Huron Catholic Family of Parishes; 
  • Justice Deb Austin, who is a retired Justice of the Peace.

Our committee is comprised of people from across the Diocese, some of whom identify as Indigenous and others who have been allies working in various settings with Indigenous Peoples.  

My prayer is that their good work will continue to build bridges and change hearts. We are hoping, with the guidance of local Indigenous communities, to craft a “service of reparation” that will express the suffering and harm afflicted by the residential schools and atone for the role our Church played in them. Through the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, may God give us courage and strength us as we journey on the path of healing and reconciliation. 

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Rev. Ronald Fabbro, CSB
Bishop of London