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Sunday, December 04, 2022

Pope: Visit to Canada will be “penitential journey”

For Pope Francis, his visit to Canada is “a penitential journey”. He is traveling to Canada next Sunday to especially embrace the indigenous peoples, Francis said at midday prayers in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday. Many of them also suffered great damage in Catholic institutions. “I express my sorrow to all of them for the suffering they have endured,” Francis said. He hopes that on this journey he can promote reconciliation.

Francis travels to Canada July 24-30. Stations in Edmonton, Quebec and Iqaluit on the Arctic Ocean are planned. The Pope is also paying a visit to the community of Maskwacis and wants to take part in the pilgrimage to the traditional feast of St. Anne at Lac Sainte Anne.

Conversations with First Nations

The focus of the trip are discussions between the head of the church and indigenous representatives of the First Nations, Metis and Inuit. The former students of the so-called residential schools play a major role in this. In these, indigenous children were robbed of their culture, mistreated and also abused in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Indigenous people are demanding a papal apology on Canadian soil for the involvement of the Church, which ran a large number of these boarding schools. When several indigenous delegations visited Rome at the end of March, Francis had already asked for forgiveness.

Also planned are courtesy visits to Governor General Mary May Simon and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; as well as meetings with local clergy and members of the Jesuit order. Nevertheless, for health reasons, the daily program is much clearer than on previous papal trips – after an appointment in the morning, it usually only continues in the afternoon. (KNA)

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