Last October, Pope Francis said he was willing to “visit Canada on a pilgrimage of healing and reconciliation” – referring to the possible discovery of unmarked graves on the grounds of Church-run residential schools in Canada.
After a meeting Canadian Indigenous leaders in the Vatican last month, Pope Francis said he was planned to meet them in Canada during the summer for the Feast of Saint Anne on July 26th.
Pope Francis also expressed his “shame for the role that a number of Catholics, particularly those with educational responsibilities, have had in all these things that wounded you [the Indigenous Peoples], in the abuses you suffered and in the lack of respect shown for your identity, your culture and even your spiritual values.”
“You have brought the living sense of your communities here in Rome. I will be happy to benefit again from meeting you by visiting your native lands, where your families live.”
Now, the Vatican confirmed Pope Francis will visit Edmonton, Quebec City and Iqaluit in Canada from July 24th to the 30th.
The Holy See Press Office said the papal itinerary for the visit is expected to come in out the next few weeks.
It’s expected expected that Pope Francis will make an apology for the Church’s “role in the spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis children in Catholic-run residential schools.”
President of the Canadian Bishops’ Conference Raymond Poisson said: “We are immensely grateful that the Holy Father has accepted our invitation to continue the journey of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples of this land.”
“In late July, Pope Francis will have the opportunity to visit Indigenous Peoples here in their homeland, as he promised when he met them recently in Rome. We pray for the health of the Holy Father as we undertake the intensive planning for this historic visit.”
🙏 Pray for Pope Francis’ safe travel!