The diocese of Keewatin ‘s office in Kenora, Ont., recently sent a letter to clergy asking them to participate in a Day of Prayer for Community Healing on Sept. 22 called by local native leaders in response to several recent suicides.
Keewatin, which includes a slice of western Ontario and half of Manitoba, encompasses many aboriginal communities experiencing suicide rates far higher than those in Canada as a whole.
“There were two suicides in two weeks and four attempts” in Webequie, Ont., said Rev. Catherine Giroux, executive assistant to Bishop David Ashdown.
“It is hoped that this day of prayer will give spiritual support and healing to those communities that are suffering as a result of the continuing suicide crisis,” said the letter. “We are asking all parishes to open their churches for a time of prayer and make this time known to the communities within which you live.”
Ms. Giroux said she knew of no cause for a cluster of suicides and attempts.
In addition, she noted, Sept. 11 marked the one-year anniversary of a small plane crash near Nibinamik, Ont., also known as Summer Beaver, which killed six members of the native community and the pilot.