Pope to make penitential pilgrimage to Canada for healing and reconciliation
By Linda Bordoni
“Next Sunday, God willing, I will leave for Canada; therefore, I wish now to address all the people of that country,” said Pope Francis after the recitation of the Sunday Angelus Prayer in St. Peter’s Square.
The Pope’s journey to Canada is scheduled to take place from 24 – 30 July, and will visit the cities of Edmonton, Québec and Iqaluit.
He went on to explain that “Unfortunately, in Canada, many Christians, including some members of religious institutes, have contributed to the policies of cultural assimilation that, in the past, have severely harmed indigenous communities in various ways."
The Pope recalled a series of meetings he held in the Vatican in April with delegations from Canada’s First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, during which he listened to their stories about life in the residential school system – a scheme for the forcible integration of indigenous children into Canadian culture by separating them from their families and communities and placing them in boarding schools.
On those occasions, he said, he expressed “his sorrow and solidarity for the harm they have suffered.”
The Pope also voiced his thanks for the preparatory work that is underway “and for the welcome you will give me.”