Pope Francis celebrated his first major Mass in Canada on Tuesday, a day after the pontiff paid tribute to grandparents as the roots of humanity. offered a historic apology For the role of the Catholic Church in separating indigenous families by participating in the Canadian boarding school system.
Emotions were running high at Commonwealth Stadium and a small nearby venue, where some 50,000 people gathered for Francis’ first major home in Canada. When he arrived at the Popmobile, attendees cheered him and walked down the runway, occasionally stopping to kiss the children to the beat of the country drum.
Phil Fontaine, former head of the House of First Nations and boarding school victim, urged the crowd to forgive in a speech before Francis’ arrival: “We will never achieve healing and reconciliation without forgiveness,” he declared. Of. “We will never forget, but we must forgive.”
Meanwhile, Murray Sinclair, the chairman of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission for First Nations, on Tuesday criticized Francis’ apologies, saying they were not sufficient to acknowledge the role of the Pope himself in justifying the expansion. The Hierarchy’s Support Policy for European Colonialism and the Unification of Canada.
During Mass, Francis did not heed the apology or tense history of the Church in Canada. Due to a knee problem, the 85-year-old pontiff attended the ceremony sitting behind the altar. Collectively coincided with the Feast of Saint Anne, the grandmother of Jesus and a figure of special veneration for Canadian Catholics.
In his sermon, Francis urged young people to understand their grandparents’ knowledge and experience as a fundamental part of their existence, and to cherish those lessons to build a better future.
“Thanks to our grandparents, we received a caress from history that unfolded before us: we learned that kindness, tenderness and wisdom are the firm roots of humanity,” he said. “We are children because we are grandchildren.”
Francis has long praised the role of grandmothers in giving confidence to younger generations, citing her own experience with her grandmother, Rosa, who grew up in Buenos Aires. For several months, Francisco has given weekly sermons on the need to cherish the wisdom of grandparents and not dismiss them as part of today’s “waste culture”.
Francis’ message resonates even more in Canada, where Indigenous elders are highly respected and Indigenous families have been torn apart by the Church-backed government’s policy of forced integration of native peoples.
More than 150,000 Indigenous children in Canada were taken from their homes and forced to attend government-funded Christian schools from the 19th century to the 1970s to isolate them from the influence of their families and culture. The goal was to Christianize them and integrate them into a society that Canadian governments considered superior.
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