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Pope Francis will visit Edmonton, Quebec City and Iqaluit during a week-long visit to Canada

Pope Francis. (Photo via Domenico Stanalis/ Associated Press Photo)

Pope Francis will travel to Canada this summer, but will not stop in Kamloops or British Columbia.

The Vatican says it will stop in Edmonton, Quebec City and Iqaluit from July 24 to July 30. The visit follows the Pope’s historic apology last month for the role of the Roman Catholic Church in residential schools in Canada.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops said the three cities were selected on the basis of length of visit, the sheer size of Canada and the health of the 85-year-old pontiff, who has started using a wheelchair and has an apparent limp.

The Archbishop of Edmonton, Richard Smith, general coordinator of travel for the Canadian Catholic Episcopal Conference, says the three cities were chosen because they are spread out and provide more opportunities for indigenous peoples across the country to see the Pope.

Edmonton is home to the second largest number of indigenous people living in urban centers and Alberta had 25 residential schools. Lakh sta. Anne, an important site for indigenous peoples and the site of a large religious pilgrimage each July, is also nearby.

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Nunavut is home to the largest population of Iqaluit Inuit people on Baffin Island, while Quebec City is also near another important pilgrimage site, Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre.

Several indigenous leaders called on Pope Francis to visit Kamloops, where the discovery of unmarked graves in a former residential school sparked a worldwide initial call for justice and transparency. During a visit to the Vatican, Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Kukpi7 Rosanne Casimir extended a handwritten invitation to Pope Francis to visit their territory.

“It will be extremely meaningful to welcome Pope Francis to Tkemlup’s te Secwepemak, as our heart-wrenching news was the first of a wave of confirmations of unmarked graves, which claimed thousands more lives,” he said. Making a similar request in November last year.

“This will be a historic moment for Kamloops Residential Indian School survivors and our community [which] The aftermath of the gruesome confirmation of missing children continues to navigate the effects. ,

Smith says Pope’s mobility is limited in where he can go, but is expected to visit a former residential school site, calling it “another important step towards healing and reconciliation.”

The visit would make Francis the second pope to visit Canada, after Pope John Paul II spent 12 days in the country in 1984, landing in Quebec City before heading west to Yellowknife.

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Three years later, he also stayed for a day in Fort Simpson, NWT, and returned again in 2002 for World Youth Day in Toronto.

Support services for residential school survivors in British Columbia:

*KUU-US Crisis Line Society provides a 24-hour, provincewide Indigenous Crisis Line for Indigenous Peoples in BC Adults, call 250 723-4050. Children and Youth, call 250 723-2040. Toll-Free: 1 800 588-8717

* First Nation and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line for Indigenous Peoples across Canada toll-free 1 855 242-3310 or chat online: https://www.hopeforwellness.ca/

* Metis Crisis Line for Metis people in BC, available 24 hours a day at 1 833 MetisBC: 1 833 638-4722

* Tso Tun Le Lum for Indigenous Peoples in BC, Phone: 1 888 403-3123

*Indian Residential School Survivors Society, Phone: 1 800 721-0066 or 604 985-4464

* 24-hour national crisis line for residential school survivors and other affected: 1 866 925-4419

– With files from the Canadian Press

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