Quebec missionary: The Pope's visit will open the doors for societal dialogue
By Francesca Merlo
As Pope Francis heads to Quebec, the feeling, according to Pedro Perna, from the Foreign Mission Society, is "interesting." He explains to Vatican News' Silvonei Protz that although those involved in the Church are interested in the Holy Father's visit, "the Church is a real minority in Quebec".
The real challenge
"People don’t practice faith a lot, neither do they go to church," says Pedro Perna. In Quebec, he adds, those who do go to church are usually elderly people, or people who are not involved in the work force. "There is a big challenge because there is a big gap between who is in the church and the true representation of society."
With this in mind, he continues, "I think the Holy Father will find a city that will be open to dialogue. People who will be interested in what he is going to say because there is a big issue, and people are looking forward to seeing what will happen with regards to that."
Pedro Perna stresses that he believes this can be "really meaningful so as to start a big societal dialogue, and to give the Church a space to begin having meaningful exchanges with indigenous peoples, and with the whole of society."
Renewal from the visit
"Every time the Holy Father comes it is a renewal", says Pedro Pena. He describes him, for members of the Church, as "our leader on this earth" and says that "seeing him taking the time to do a pentitential pilgrimage and to say we are not above anyone, but rather that we are all equally brothers and sisters, is really meaningful", as well as being, "the message or Chirst".
At times people forget this, concludes Pedro Pena, because they see the Church as "a big institution that dictates rules", whereas the Church is "me, you, the Holy Father, the bishops, the sisters, the priests... we are all Church", he stresses, adding that we are all invited to this "big assemly", as it is the hope we have to remind ourselves about "the true calling of the Church".