What Can We Do?

Source: nyt.com

When we celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi, we are professing our belief in Jesus, the Word Incarnate, present wholly and entirely in the consecrated bread and wine, the Body and Blood of Christ. Throughout the past weeks, the haunting image of 215 nameless indigenous children buried in a residential school cemetery kept coming to mind.

As this school in Kamloops, BC was a Roman Catholic school, they probably received the Body of Christ in Holy Communion. What did the Body of Christ mean to them Was it a source of spiritual nourishment or consolation or just another example of hypocrisy and violence in the name of “religion”.

To make it even worse, Mass would have been said in Latin, another foreign language, when they had been stripped of their own language, ritual, culture and worship. They would have seen Jesus hanging on a cross, while they were being crucified every day, by people who professed the love of God.

They were created “in the image and likeness of God”, and by Baptism, they were admitted to the church, the mystical Body of Christ, but were they treated as such? Unfortunately, we all know the answer to that. What does this renewed awareness of residential school atrocities, have to do with the “Feast of Corpus Christi” ?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states “the Eucharist commits us to the poor. To receive in truth the Body and Blood of Christ given up for us, we must recognize Christin the poorest, his brethren.” (#1397 )

The usual first response to the question “What can we do?” is pray for them. But if we believe in “faith doing justice”, if we want to “walk with the marginalized”, please read and pray over the following recommendations from the Indian Residential School Survivor’s Society, BC , and consider what you can do, so that the Kingdom of God, does include all God’s children.

Want to help? Here’s what you can do:

  • Learn about the impacts of the Indian Residential School system
  • Read the TRC’s 94 recommendations
  • Contact your MPs and local officials
  • Actively listen to people of First Nations, Inuit and Métis backgrounds
  • Stand up to stereotypes, prejudice and systemic racism
  • Have conversations with your family and friends (even children)
  • Be respectful towards trauma survivors and elders
  • Support Indigenous-led community organizations
  • Be patient, empathetic and receptive (it’s distressing for everyone)
  • Raise awareness in your community and online (wear orange)

IRSSS Toll-Free Line: 1-800-721-0066
KUU-US Crisis Line: 1-800-588-8717
24-Hour National Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419
Tsow-Tun-Le Lum: 1-888-403-312

Maria Kelsey is the Pastoral Assistant at St. Pius X parish in St. Johnês. She is responsible for the faith development programs for children, and families, as well as for the Elder Ministry Committee.

  • Charles Pottie-Pate
    Posted at 07:35h, 19 July Reply

    Thanks, Maria for this good reflection and helpful practical suggestions on how to move forward.

  • Peter Bisson
    Posted at 09:15h, 19 July Reply

    Thank you Maria!

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