Statement on News of Papal Visit, from the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities in Canada (ACCUC)

Nov 8, 2021

November 4, 2021. The Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities in Canada (ACCUC) is pleased to learn of Pope Francis’ decision to visit Canada with the goal of reconciliation with the Indigenous communities of this land.

This past June, the ACCUC published a statement requesting that Pope Francis formally apologize to Canada’s Indigenous communities for the role that the Church played in operating over 60% of the nation’s residential schools. It is our hope that the pope will use this opportunity to offer a sincere apology to the victims, survivors, and descendants of survivors. We also expect that the pope will seek forgiveness in light of the discovery of the unmarked mass graves of school children found near several former residential schools.

While we recognize that a papal visit and apology will not undo the abuse, suffering, and trauma endured at the residential schools, we do feel that this important gesture, one specifically called for by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action, will be an important step on the path to reconciliation, forgiveness, and healing.


The Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities in Canada (ACCUC) is an organization of twenty postsecondary academic institutions located across all parts of Canada. ACCUC acts as the official voice for Catholic higher learning in Canada, as it seeks to spread “the spirit of learning” throughout the country.


Peter Meehan, Ed.D.
Chair, ACCUC
President and Vice-Chancellor, St. Jerome’s University, Waterloo

John Cappucci, Ph.D.
Vice-Chair, ACCUC
Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Assumption University, Windsor

Christopher Adams, Ph.D.
Immediate Past Chair, ACCUC
Rector, St. Paul’s College, Winnipeg

Chantal Beauvais, Ph.D.
Rectrice, Université Saint Paul/Saint Paul University, Ottawa

Shawn Flynn, Ph.D.
President, St. Joseph’s College, Edmonton

Lauretta Frederking, Ph.D.
President, Brescia University College, London

Rob Harasymchuk, M.B.A.
President and Vice-Chancellor, St. Peter’s College, Muenster

Sami Helewa, S.J., Ph.D.
President, Campion College, Regina

Michael Higgins, Ph.D.
Principal, St. Mark’s College, Vancouver
President, Corpus Christi College, Vancouver

David Malloy, PhD
President, King’s University College, London

Dawn Russell, Q.C.
President and Vice-Chancellor, St. Thomas University, Fredericton

Brigitte Quintal, BCL
President, College Universitaire Dominicain, Ottawa

Carl Still, Ph.D.
President, St. Thomas More College, Saskatoon

David Sylvester, Ph.D.
President and Vice-Chancellor, University of St. Michael’s College, Toronto

Gerry Turcotte, Ph.D.
President and Vice-Chancellor, St. Mary’s University, Calgary

Jason West, Ph.D.
President, Newman Theological College, Edmonton

Thomas Worcester, S.J., Ph.D.
President, Regis College, Toronto