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Pope in Canada: a visit that will put his mobility problems to the test

This content July 23, 2022 – 08:22 . was published on

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Vatican City, July 23 (EFE) — Pope Francis will travel to Canada from tomorrow to July 29, most of all to apologize to Indigenous communities for the mistreatment they faced at Catholic boarding schools, a visit that will test their mobility problems. Will do Because of his knee pain which prevents him from walking and which had already forced him to cancel other trips.

Francis reappeared in a wheelchair this Friday in front of an image of the Virgin “Cellus Populi Romani” at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, a common gesture before his visit.

For this reason, everything indicates that the Pope will help himself with a wheelchair to go on this visit, organized keeping in mind the possibility and furthermore, that all acts will be limited to one hour to allow them to To prevent getting too tired, as the bishops of Canada explained.

Asked by reporters how the Pope’s health would affect the visit, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni replied: “It will be seen from moment to moment depending on the situation. We are not going to forecast.”

the journey of forgiveness

“A penitential pilgrimage”, as Francis defined it during the Angelus Prayer on the previous Sunday, as the main cause of the visit is to respond to the request of the indigenous communities for a representative of the Catholic Church to visit them and seek forgiveness for them. Ask for The land for the persecutions, abuses and torture they suffered during the so-called assimilation processes ordered by the Canadian government from the mid-19th century to the late 1990s.

According to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, 139 schools funded and administered by the government, most of them built by the Catholic Church, housed approximately 150,000 indigenous children who were interned, separated from their families, for giving up their languages. was forced. , traditions. and culture.

They faced all kinds of abuse in these boarding schools and it is estimated that over 3,000 children died of diseases caused by the conditions in which they lived due to hunger, overcrowding and lack of sanitation. They were buried in mass graves without any identification.

Representatives of indigenous Canadians – First Nations, Inuit and Métis – who visited the pope in April were inspired by Francis’ words, but the indigenous population in general expects much more than a phrase of pardon during this visit.

Agenda focused on closeness with indigenous people

Francis will arrive at Edmonton airport on Sunday after a 10-and-a-half-hour flight and is expected to be greeted upon arrival by Governor General Mary Simon, the first Indigenous woman to hold the position, and Justin Trudeau, prime minister. of Canada. Then he would rest all day as John Paul II did when he arrived in Strawberry Island, Ontario 20 years ago.

The next day he would go to Muskavasi, where one of these great boarding schools arose, and after praying in a cemetery, he would be received by the elders of the native people and would give the first of his nine speeches, which he said in Spanish. chose to do.

He will also visit the Church of the Sacred Heart of the First Peoples where he will address the Native Peoples, who represent about 1.7 million people, 5% of Canada’s 38.8 million residents.

On July 26, the Feast of St. Anne, he would celebrate Mass at Commonwealth Stadium, and in the afternoon he would preside over prayer at Santa Anna Lake, the largest in the province of Alberta, a place of great spirituality for the people. Aboriginal people and where a mission was established which established an important connection between the indigenous people and Catholicism.

Later, he would travel to Quebec to meet with the authorities and where he would celebrate Mass at the Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre National Shrine and preside over a vigil at Notre-Dame Basilica for the Catholics of this country, which number about 44. Per cent hundred.

On the final day, Francis will face the farthest voyage ever made by a pontiff: Tu Iqaluit, which in the Inuktitut language means “Place of Many Fishes”, located 186 miles south of the Arctic Circle, and It is home to the largest Inuit community. Canada’s largest, with about 4,000 people, while in total there are about 8,000 residents.

There Nakasuke will hold a private meeting with alumni of Francisco boarding schools at the primary school, and in the afternoon he will also meet indigenous youth in the school’s courtyard. EFE


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