The Pope arrives in Canada for a ‘penitential’ visit aimed at indigenous reconciliation

Brittany Hobson, The Canadian Press

Posted on Sunday, July 24, 2022 at 7:17 AM m. WBS

Last Updated Sunday, Jul 24, 2022 3:21 pm EDT

EDMONTON – dad Francis arrived in Canada on Sunday with a drumbeat of honor ahead of what he describes as a “penitential” trip aimed at reconciliation with indigenous people over the Catholic Church’s role in residential schools.

The Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation drum troupe sang in front of Francis as he sat between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Governor General Mary Simon in an airport hangar in Edmonton.

the dad told reporters on the plane before it landed that the six-day visit must be handled with care.

The pontiff also plans to travel to Quebec City and Iqaluit.

“I hope, with the grace of God, that my penitential pilgrimage can contribute to the path of reconciliation already undertaken. Please accompany me with the #prayer”, said a message on the dadTwitter account of.

An elevator was used to get to the dad He got off the plane and took a short ride in a Fiat to the hangar. He then got into a wheelchair and was wheeled out onto a red carpet for the official welcoming ceremony.

Treaty 6 Grand Chief George Arcand Jr. gave the dad a bead locket and was given an unknown item in return.

Francis kissed the hand of Frog Lake First Nation residential school survivor Alma Desjarlais as he welcomed her to the dad along with Grand Chief Greg Desjarlais of the Treaty Six Confederacy of First Nations.

Francis was also received by other church, indigenous and political dignitaries.

He was then scheduled to be driven to St. Joseph Seminary, where he will stay for the Alberta portion of the trip.

the dad plans to visit the former Ermineskin Indian Residential School in the South Edmonton community of Maskwacis on Monday. That is where Francis will make his first public statement in Canada and he is expected to apologize to Indigenous Peoples for the abuses they have suffered.

An estimated 150,000 indigenous children were forced to attend residential schools in Canada, where physical and sexual abuse and neglect were rampant. More than 60% of the schools were run by the Catholic Church.

Arcand Jr. said last week that survivors have suffered unimaginable trauma over many generations. the dadAcknowledging your pain is a crucial step, he said.

“This is an important historical moment for the survivors of the residential school system and the damage caused by the Catholic Church,” said Arcand Jr.

On April 1, following days-long meetings with First Nations, Inuit and Metis groups at the Vatican, Francis apologized for the deplorable conduct of church members involved in residential schools and vowed to visit Canada.

The indigenous delegates had told the dad they wanted an apology on Canadian soil.

First Nations leaders in Alberta said they hope the dadThe presence of to open old wounds for indigenous peoples and mental health counselors will be at the sites. But they also hope that the visit will be a step towards reconciliation.

“We are here with you and we are supporting you,” Louis Bull Tribe Chief Desmond Bull told survivors last week.

The Ermineskin School was one of the largest institutions in Canada. Organizers of the papal visit have said they expect some 15,000 people to be in Maskwacis to see the 85-year-old pontiff.

Later Monday, Francis will meet with parishioners at a downtown Edmonton church. A large open-air mass is planned for Tuesday at the city’s soccer stadium. the dad then it’s off to nearby Lac Ste. Anne to take part in an annual pilgrimage.

Francis will travel to Quebec City on Wednesday and deliver a public address following meetings with Trudeau and Simon. The next day another great mass is planned in Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre.

The visit will end in Iqaluit on Friday before Francis returns to the Vatican.

Organizers have said that due to the dadDue to his age and physical limitations, he will participate in public events for approximately one hour and will use a wheelchair for the entire duration of the tour.

Shortly after leaving Rome, the dad he used a cane to help him move around the plane as he greeted individual reporters.

“I think I can do it,” he joked.

Thousands have traveled from different parts of the country to participate in the events.

Mabel Brown, a 77-year-old residential school survivor, traveled to Edmonton from Inuvik to hear the dad apologize and find forgiveness and healing with other survivors. She hopes it will be an opportunity to move forward in a good way.

“This is a very important moment in history,” he said. “Better things are yet to come.”

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

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on July 24, 2022.

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