THE Roman Catholic archdioceses of Winnipeg and St. Boniface have set targets for their Indigenous healing and reconciliation fundraising campaigns.
The Archdiocese of Winnipeg plans to raise $660,000 over five years for what is being called the Solidarity Fund for Truth, Healing and Reconciliation, while the Archdiocese of St. Boniface wants to raise $500,000 over three years.
The amounts are based on an apportionment formula developed by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Nationally, Canada’s Catholic bishops have committed to raising $30 million for healing and reconciliation efforts with Indigenous people.
Archbishop Richard Gagnon of Winnipeg said the amount sought in his diocese is something he feels local Catholics can manage.
"I think people will be supportive and glad to hear this news," he said, noting the funds that are raised will be dedicated to local healing and reconciliation work.
It will take a while to get the campaign off the ground, the archbishop said, but the effort has already been bolstered by a donation from the archdiocese of $220,000 from the sale of Micah House.
The building, which housed the social justice ministry of the archdiocese, was sold in 2020. The social justice work of the archdiocese is now done out of its headquarters on Pembina Highway.
A letter about the fund was sent to members of the archdiocese Nov. 23; in it, the archbishop invites Catholics in Winnipeg to "rally together" to meet the goal and contribute to reconciliation efforts in Manitoba.
Indigenous people will be consulted when it comes to disbursement of the funds in the province, the archbishop noted.
Archbishop Albert LeGatt of the Archdiocese of St. Boniface said raising money is one aspect of the campaign.
"It’s not primarily a question of money, but of developing relationships with Indigenous people so we are going on a good path of walking together," he said of the campaign.
Before raising any money, the archdiocese will embark on an education campaign for clergy and members about residential schools and reconciliation with Indigenous people.
"I am as interested in a conversion of hearts that leads to long-lasting relationships," as with raising money, the archbishop said.
The education campaign will be a "whole effort" involving many people in the diocese, LeGatt said, adding Indigenous people will be involved in deciding how funds raised in the archdiocese are spent.
Of the target itself, the archbishop said he wants to make "every effort to reach it or surpass it."
John Longhurst has been writing for Winnipeg's faith pages since 2003. He also writes for Religion News Service in the U.S., and blogs about the media, marketing and communications at Making the News.