Getting up early for those attending the Pope’s mass near Quebec City during the visit to Canada

Those with tickets to attend the pope’s mass northeast of Quebec City later this month will get a very early start to their day, but a spokesman who questioned whether the schedule would be too harsh on indigenous elders now says it is the best plan.

Organizers of the papal visit to Quebec said only buses from two designated locations at Videotron Center or Mont-Ste-Anne will transport people to the Ste-Anne-de-Beaupre shrine, northeast of Quebec City, for Mass on July 28.

Vehicles will not be allowed on the site and people are asked to line up at 4 a.m. for the buses which will only run between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m., with a long wait for mass, which starts at 10 a.m.

At a briefing last week, Jasmin Lemieux-Lefebvre, spokeswoman for the visit and liaison with indigenous communities in Quebec, said she wondered if it was excessive to ask residential school survivors, many of whom are elderly, to Arrive early for transfers.

“I didn’t know if that was too much to ask,” Lemieux-Lefebvre said, adding that he is now convinced the plan is the best. “We have done everything we can to find the right balance between safety and a dignified and important welcome for all survivors of the Indian residential schools.”

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Canada from July 24-29, traveling to Alberta, Quebec and Nunavut. A major theme of his visit is reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples for the abuses suffered in residential schools, many of which were run by Catholic clergy.

About 1,600 people will be allowed inside the sanctuary for the event, with about 10,000 on the grounds watching on giant screens. Seventy percent of the tickets are reserved for indigenous communities and about 2,000 tickets for the general public sold out in about 10 minutes.

“If you don’t have a ticket, for God’s sake, don’t show up at Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre,” said Benoit Thibault, head of the Quebec organizing committee, describing plans for the events as a “major logistics operation.”

Given the long wait, organizers encourage attendees to bring food, a camping chair, umbrellas and coolers with refreshments. Psychological support services will be offered for indigenous participants. A small field hospital will also be installed to provide the necessary medical attention, as well as sanitary facilities.

Pope Francis is expected to arrive at the venue about 45 minutes before the event and will say Mass in Spanish, his first language.

Large screens at the outdoor site will offer French and English subtitles. Through the website of the official visit of the Pope, the mass will be translated into a dozen indigenous languages.

For those without a ticket, you can watch it live on the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City. Guzzo Cinemas, a chain of independent cinemas in Quebec, will also broadcast the event live on 143 screens in its Montreal-area theaters.

— This Canadian Press report was first published on July 17, 2022.

Leave a Comment