Pope Francis left in the morning for a six-day trip to Canada. The main goal is to meet the indigenous people. The route of the 37th foreign pilgrimage of Francis is more than 19,000 kilometers.
Francis will be the second pope to visit Canada. St. John Paul II – recently exactly 20 years ago.
Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican news agency, told reporters before the trip that its significance and eloquence are reflected in the Pope’s April 1 speech during a meeting with Canadian indigenous delegations arriving in Rome.
It’s about reconciling the scandal over decades of compulsory boarding schools for indigenous peoples in Canada. They were conducted on behalf of the government by Christian churches, including 60 percent of those by the Catholic Church.
Listening to the memories of those who made their way to the so-called residential schools and experienced various forms of abuse, Francis said: “I feel sadness and shame for the participation of Catholics in what has hurt you; especially those responsible for education. What they did was contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
For the deplorable behavior of these members of the Catholic Church I ask God’s forgiveness and I want to say to you with all my heart: I’m very sorry – he emphasized. I join my brothers, the Canadian bishops, who ask your forgiveness. The content of the faith cannot be communicated in a way that conflicts with the faith itself – added.
The Pope noted: “Great damage has been done to your identity and your culture, many families have been separated and many children have been victims of attempts to impose uniformity based on the belief that progress is made through ideological colonization.”
By listening to your voices, I was able to penetrate the stories of the suffering, hardship, discrimination and abuse that some of you have experienced, especially in residential schools and saddened them deeply. – Francis confessed.
It is horrifying to think about attempts to instill a sense of inferiority, to deprive people of their cultural identity, to cut off their roots. All this made it I feel a lot of indignation he declared.
A week before the trip, the Pope called it “a penitential pilgrimage”.
The first leg is Edmonton – the capital of the province of Alberta.
The Pope will arrive in Edmonton before 12:00 local time, ie after 19 in Poland. At the airport, he is greeted by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. After the ceremony, they go to a short meeting. After that, Francis will go to the seminary of St. Józef, where he will rest after a 10-hour flight and where he will spend the night. No events with his participation are planned for that day.
On Monday, the Pope will travel to a place about 100 kilometers away called Maskwacis, which means “bear hill”. There he meets representatives of the Mestiz and Inuit communities. He will also visit their cemetery.
Upon his return to Edmonton, Francis will attend the Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart, the first Mestizo and Inuit parish. Today it is visited by many immigrants and refugees from all over the world.
On Tuesday morning, local time, on the feast of Saints Joachim and Anna, the parents of Our Lady, the Pope will celebrate mass at the Commonwealth Stadium in front of some 60,000 people.
In the afternoon, Francis takes part in a pilgrimage to Lake St. Anne (Lac Ste. Anne). This place has been a place of pilgrimage for Catholics since the late 1800s. The Pope will preside over the Liturgy of the Word and deliver the homily there.
Francis flies Wednesday to Quebec, one of the oldest cities in North America. There, at the historic Citadel, residence of Canada’s Governor General, he will meet with Queen Elizabeth II’s Representative Mary Simon and Prime Minister Trudeau, as well as other government officials and indigenous peoples. He will give a speech to everyone.
On Thursday, the Pope will celebrate Mass at the National Shrine of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre on the St. Lawrence River, and at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Quebec, he will preside over vespers with the participation of the clergy .
A new meeting between the Pope and the delegation of Quebec’s indigenous people was announced Friday.
Dan Francis he will fly to the city of Iqaluit in the territory of Nunavut, south of the Arctic Circle. The name of the town in Eskimo – inuktitut means “place of many fishes”. Most inhabitants are Inuit. The Bishop of these territories is Anthony Wiesław Short, born in Istebna, the Ordinary Bishop of Churchill-Hudson Bay.
The Pope will visit a primary school and meet former pupils from residential institutions, and then with young and old people.
Francis flies from the city to Rome where he arrives on Saturday morning 30 July.
Canada’s Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič, told Vatican Radio that this was “an unusual journey of great responsibility”. You see a great responsibility towards public opinion, which is sometimes based on wrong assumptions – added. Not always, as he admitted, they were “presented in their complexity”.
It is true that a very heavy atmosphere has developed regarding the Church, including: the result of certain simplifications in the media, but on the other hand, it is a real responsibility that has accumulated over the course of history – said the Vatican diplomat. The church is really only a small part of what happened. One must remember the responsibility of the government declared the nuncio.
Referring to the Pope’s problems with movement, Archbishop Jurković noted that despite these physical limitations, Francis decided on this complicated journey.
In Canada, 139 Indigenous Compulsory Schools have been operating for 150 years. They were funded from the federal budget and their purpose – developed by the Canadian government – was to “civilize” the Indians, Inuit and Mestis.
The government entrusted the management of the schools to the churches. The Catholic Church ran 60 percent. centers and Protestant 40 percent. The last schools, of which about 150 thousand. children, they were not closed until the 1990s.
In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission published a report on schools for Indian, Inuit and Mestizo children. The committee described the schools’ activities as “cultural genocide”.
The report mentioned a number of 4,100 children died in schoolsso much could be documented. The commission had problems accessing ecclesiastical and religious archives. The University of British Columbia’s research center website reports that: in some schools more than 60% of them died. students.