Pope meets indigenous group as Canada’s ‘pilgrimage of penance’ draws to a close

Brittany Hobson and Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press

Posted on Friday, July 29, 2022 at 5:50 AM m. WBS

Last Updated Friday, Jul 29, 2022 2:35 pm EDT

QUEBEC – A Quebec indigenous leader said Friday that residential school survivors “have had their moment” after a delegation met for a private audience with dad Francis in Quebec City on the last day of his Canadian tour.

Ghislain Picard, head of the Quebec-Labrador Assembly of First Nations, said it will be up to the survivors to decide whether the dadThe trip, which included multiple apologies for the church’s role in residential schools, lived up to his expectations.

“It’s really up to them to take the measure of all of this, if it’s going to provide that kind of pathway for their healing,” he said after the meeting. “It’s going to take time.”

Residential school survivors wearing ribboned skirts and an elderly man holding a pen were among the indigenous delegation that had a 45-minute private audience with the dad.

In an opening address to the meeting, the pontiff told the delegation that he had come to Canada in a “spirit of penance” to apologize for wrongs inflicted on them by “not just a few Catholics.”

“I have come as a pilgrim, despite my physical limitations, to take further steps forward with you and for you,” he told the group seated across from him.

“I am doing this so that the search for the truth can be advanced, so that the processes of healing and reconciliation continue, and so that the seeds of hope continue to be sown for future generations -indigenous and non-indigenous- who wish to live together, in harmony. Like brothers and sisters.”

The delegation included survivors and First Nations representatives from across eastern Canada, some of whom could be seen presenting the dad with gifts while the private audience began.

Cree Grand Chief Mandy Gull-Masty said the meeting was marked by some confusion as the archbishop’s staff asked supporters of some residential school survivors to leave the room even after papal security had them. let in.

She said survivors used the gathering to share their pain and stories. One of her community in northern Quebec forgave the church for violating the community, she said, while a nation insisted on how the church must recognize and respect its ways, culture and language.

In his speech, Francis said that he had been enriched by the stories of the indigenous people he met in Canada.

“I can truly say that while I came to be with you, it was your life and your experiences, the indigenous realities of these lands, that touched me, stayed with me and will always be a part of me,” he said. .

Both Picard and Gull-Masty said it is now up to the Canadian bishops to take concrete next steps.

Picard said indigenous leaders shared a meal Thursday night with the bishops, but none of the key issues — access to church archives, rescission of the Doctrine of Discovery, return of artifacts — were addressed. sacred that the Vatican possesses.

Francisco began his day with a private meeting with members of his religious order, the Society of Jesus or the Jesuits. After his meetings, he boarded a plane to Iqaluit, where he will participate in private meetings with residential school survivors.

There will also be an outdoor meeting with young and old before he flies back to the Vatican.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on July 29, 2022.

Leave a Comment