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Pope Francis is expected to deliver an apology for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in residential schools.

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Pope Francis will spend almost 48 hours in Quebec during his visit to Canada next month.

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The papal visit is set to start in Edmonton on July 24 and end in Iqaluit on July 29, according to an official schedule released Thursday by the Vatican. It is to include public and private events with an emphasis on Indigenous participation, such as a visit to the site of a former Alberta residential school with survivors of the institutions.

“We pray this pilgrimage will serve as another meaningful step in the long journey of healing, reconciliation and hope,” said Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton, the general co-ordinator of the papal visit to Canada.

Pope Francis is expected to deliver an apology for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in residential schools during his journey to Canada.

On April 1, after meetings over several days with First Nations, Inuit and Métis groups at the Vatican, the Pope apologized for the deplorable conduct of church members involved in residential schools.

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There will be a brief ceremony at the airport when he arrives in Edmonton. The next day he is set to join survivors at the Ermineskin Indian Residential School in the community of Maskwacis, south of the city.

Ermineskin was one of the largest institutions in Canada. Smith said it “will have a representative role for all residential schools.” He anticipates the apology will come in front of survivors at the school. Later that day, Francis is scheduled to visit Sacred Heart Church of the First Peoples, an Indigenous church in downtown Edmonton.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops said that because of the 85-year-old Pope’s advanced age and limitations, public events will last about one hour.

He will travel to Quebec City July 27, where he is to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Governor General Mary Simon. He will have private meetings at La Citadelle and later deliver a public address.

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The pontiff will travel to Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré for a mass July 28. Between 10,000 and 15,000 people are expected to attend.

The Canadian bishops said the public is invited to a dedicated area during the Quebec City leg of the journey to watch the papal events on large screens and take part in Indigenous cultural events.

Francis is scheduled to meet with Indigenous leaders from Eastern Canada on July 29 before flying to Iqaluit. There, he will have a private meeting with residential school survivors before attending a public community event.

The Pope’s priority during the visit is the relationship with Indigenous peoples, Smith said, adding the pontiff has heard the cry for reconciliation and the longing for hope.

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“This is one step in the journey,” Smith said. “But it’s a huge step that has enormous positive possibilities associated with it in moving this relationship forward in a good way.”

Public events will be free, but the Canadian bishops said tickets will be required and will be available in the coming days.

The schedule was made public as some worried the pontiff’s health could delay the trip to Canada. Earlier this month, a trip to Congo and South Sudan was canceled “in order not to jeopardize the results of the therapy that he is undergoing for his knee,” the Vatican said.

Francis has been using a wheelchair and has struggled to walk and stand.

Smith said the Vatican’s release of the schedule should offer reassurance.

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Bishop Raymond Poisson, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops president, said they are working with all levels of government and Indigenous partners to meet the logistical challenges of the trip and the health needs of the Pope.

“We pray for the health of Pope Francis and also that his pastoral visit to Canada will bring reconciliation and hope to all those who will accompany our shepherd on this historic journey,” Poisson said in a statement.

The Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program has a hotline to help residential school survivors and their relatives suffering trauma invoked by the recall of past abuse. The number is 1-866-925-4419.

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