Pope Francis arrived in Canada on his 37th apostolic visit, organized to apologize to indigenous peoples for abuses committed by missionaries at Canadian Catholic colleges. The trip is a fundamental step in the Catholic Church’s efforts to reconcile with indigenous communities and help them heal from the wounds of the past. Francesco flew from Rome to Edmonton, Alberta, where he landed at 19.20 Italian time. Waiting for him were Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Inuit Canada’s first Governor General Mary May Simon. The pontiff has no official events scheduled for today and will have time to rest before meeting with school survivors on Monday near the former Catholic college of Masquasis, where he is expected to apologise. On the papal plane, the holy pontiff told reporters it was a “penitential journey” and urged special prayers for the elderly and grandparents forced by the Canadian government to attend Catholic residential schools. To communicate with children. Native groups are searching for words and lobbying to access church records to learn about the fate of children who don’t return home from residential schools. They also want justice for the perpetrators, financial compensation and the return of the original artefacts held by the Vatican Museums. “These pardons confirm our experiences and create an opportunity for the Church to repair relations with indigenous peoples around the world,” said George Arcand Jr., Grand Chief of the Treaty Six Federation. “It doesn’t end here – he noted – there’s a lot to do. This is just the beginning”. Pope Francis’ week-long trip – which will also take him north to Quebec City, Iqaluit, Nunavut after a stop in Edmonton – follows meetings with First Nations, Métis and Inuit representatives at the Vatican in the spring. Those meetings culminated in the Holy Father’s historic apology on April 1 for “deplorable” abuses by some Catholic missionaries in residential schools.
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