Kamloops bishop says he offers 'genuine apology' after unmarked Tk'emlups graveyard found

Bishop: 'Heartfelt apology'

The head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kamloops says he is genuinely sorry to Indigenous people in the wake of the discovery of an unmarked graveyard on the grounds of the former Tk’emlups residential school.

“Immediately after hearing the horrifying and shocking report on the finding of the remains of 215 children at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, I responded to [Tkl’emlups te Secwepemc] Chief Rosanne Casimir and all of the Kamloops First Nations communities by expressing my deepest sympathy, profound sorrow and genuine apology,” Bishop Joseph Nguyen said in a video posted Thursday to the diocese’s YouTube page.

“On behalf of the diocese of Kamloops, I wish to again offer my heartfelt apology to all who have been affected by this horrific report, and wish to express my closeness to you at this painful time.”

Nguyen ended the video by offering to work with local First Nations.

“As we continue to pray for the souls of these beloved children, their families and the communities, I want you to know that we are here for you,” he said.

“We want to walk together with you and, more importantly, we want to walk together with First Nations communities toward healing, reconciliation and peace.”

Casimir announced on May 27 the preliminary findings of a ground-penetrating radar survey of the grounds of the former residential school on the band’s property. She said the remains of 215 children had been located.

The discovery sent shockwaves across Canada and made international headlines. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has since called on the Catholic Church to apologize — something Pope Francis has so far stopped short of doing.

A group of Canadian Catholic bishops announced Thursday it planned to send a delegation of First Nations people to the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis to discuss the church’s role in Canada’s residential school system.

Castanet Kamloops has been attempting to contact Nguyen since the discovery was announced.

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