August 8, 2022

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Pope and Aborigines of Canada, hearing and healing meeting

The Pope’s visit to Canada from July 24 to 30, announced on Thursday, is dedicated to many moments of dialogue and reconciliation with the peoples of the First World. Rector of Pontifical Canadian College: “It takes time for change, but it’s nice to have a conversation open and locals to be able to express their pain for the injuries they have suffered.”

Alessandro Di Bussolo – Vatican City

The pope will spend six days in Canada, and five days, especially with indigenous peoples, will be filled with five meetings after publicly apologizing for abusing the children of the original population in schools handed over by the government to Christian churches. , And to the Catholic Church. , Between the end of the 19th century and the last decades of the 20th century.

At all levels, encounters with the original population

He will meet with representatives of the indigenous peoples at the four stops in Edmonton, Mosquesis, Quebec and Eculoid Francis. On July 26, he will take part in the annual pilgrimage to Lake Sand’na along with some of the original faithful. On his last day in Canada, at an elementary school south of the Arctic Circle, he will conduct a personal interview with representatives of alumni of residential schools.

Father Kaufman with students at Pontifical Canadian College in 2021-2022 (middle of front row)

Father Kaufman with students at Pontifical Canadian College in 2021-2022 (middle of front row)

For healing and reconciliation

The Canadian bishops recalled that this was the fourth visit of a pope to the country after the last twenty years of St. John Paul II, underlining that the trip would “focus on the healing and reconciliation of the Native people”. Father Jaroslav KaufmanRector of the Pontifical Canadian College since 2017 explains Vatican News After Pope Francis’ public appeal for forgiveness, he said in an audience with indigenous peoples and Canadian bishops, “It is too late to say that something has changed, but it is good to start a conversation.” Sulfysian religion, of Polish descent but of natural Canadian origin, he lived in Montreal for 30 years, and from 2011 to 2017, before being invited to Rome, he was rector of the main seminary in Montreal.

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Listen to the interview with Father Jaroslav Kaufman

Twenty years after St. John Paul II, what does this pope’s visit mean to the church in Canada and to the country in general?

I think it was a very important journey, especially the journey that John Paul touched by his presence in Canada 20 years after his arrival touched the hearts. A lot has changed this time, and everyone in Canada is getting ready for this visit, and the Prime Minister said he has been waiting a long time. This is an important visit, above all, to the question of reconciliation with the Aborigines: what really happened is the time of meeting and conversation, and above all the time it takes to find bridges between what happened in Canada and what happened in Canada. People, Christians and Indigenous people. Indigenous peoples, Catholics and Christians, and Canadians, in my opinion, are the three points of observation of this visit. This is an important visit to continue on the path of conversation and heals this situation that touches us the most. We look forward to the reconciliation of the entire Canadian people.

Following the release of the program, Canadian bishops underlined Francis’ commitment to “healing and reconciling indigenous peoples.” Has the climate in the country changed in these events after your public apology for the abuses suffered by tribal children in Catholic boarding schools?

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It is too soon to say that something has already changed, because there are first steps, but it will take time to heal, let’s talk about healing hearts, not just opportunities. I think it would be nice to have a chance to open up a conversation and meet again. The Pope is coming, and then how much he can change is up to us, up to the Canadian people. This is difficult because we talk about wounds, anger, and sadness, but we also talk about the desire to heal. The Pope has shown that it is important to meet, talk, listen, and live together, not just take time and apologize or apologize. Francis always emphasizes the importance of meeting the people, which allows us to express our pain and above all the Pope wants to listen with the tribal people. While Canadians are watching what is happening, I think the Indigenous people will be more involved. Understanding the relationship and potential dialogue between Christians and indigenous peoples and how to live together in the beautiful country of Canada will be very important.

An important stage was the Pope’s participation in a pilgrimage in memory of St. Anna on the shores of Lock St. Anne in Alberta. Where does the devotion to Can’t Anna come from for Canadians and Indigenous peoples?

I think this devotion to the Holy Mother should be read with respect to the ancestors. Today we know that Canada owes everything to our ancestors, to those who built this country. In a sense, these two adults, Anna and Joachim, as adults, are the ones who guarantee the exchange of faith, culture, language and love. For tribes, ancestors are fundamental, they are very close and attached to them. However, in Western culture, we do not recognize the value of ancestors and the elderly. The natives believe that everything they have now is indebted to their ancestors. This is why Anna and Jogi are so important in their devotion. When I worked at the seminary in Montreal, next to the painting of the Holy Family, there was a native portrait of Anna and Joachim because of their connection with the past, the bond of faith and wisdom. Because of this, the Pope goes to places of worship of the Holy Mother, which will be a symbolic event for the indigenous people and for Christians and Catholics in Canada.

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How does the Canadian Pontifical College in Rome participate and how does it prepare for the Pope’s visit? Will students returning to Canada attend any events? Were there moments of prayer in college or not?

Since the announcement of this visit, the college has been preparing with daily personal and collective prayers. We prayed before the Blessed Sacrament, and we followed the arrival of the natives when they came to Rome. This year. Now as a college we can not all participate in the trip because we are from different parts of Canada, but some will attend different celebrations. Thus the priests returning to their dioceses would pray with the pope.