United States / Canada – Bishops: “As we prepare to welcome the Holy Father, we continue the journey of healing and reconciliation”
Ottawa (Agenzia Fides) – “We are very grateful to the Holy Father for accepting our call to continue the path of healing and reconciliation with the indigenous people of this land. At the end of July, Pope Francis will have the opportunity to meet with the indigenous people in their homeland, as he promised when he met them in Rome recently. As we begin the intensive planning of this historic journey, let us pray for the health of the Holy Father. With these words, Saint-Jérome Bishop Raymond Poison, President of the Council of Bishops of Canada (CCCB) on behalf of the Catholic Bishops of Canada, officially confirmed the arrival of the Holy Father. In fact, on May 13, the Holy See Press Office issued the following statement: “Accepting the invitation of civil and ecclesiastical authorities and tribal communities, the Holy Father Francis will make his apostolic visit to Canada from July 24 to 30. The city of Edmonton, Quebec and Eculoid. More details will be announced in the coming weeks “.
In a CCCB press release sent to Fides, from March 28 to April 1, Pope Francis heard from the hands of tribal delegates who came to the Vatican with some Canadian bishops: At the end of the meeting, the Pope underlined his humiliation for the role of the Catholic Church in these events and sought to see the indigenous people on Canadian soil (see Fights 28/3/2022; 30/3/2022; 2/4/2022; 4/4/2022).
Considering the limited time for the visit, the CCCB explains that while Pope Francis is in Canada he will only visit the three communities of Edmonton, Quebec City and Igloo. Edmonton is the second largest center for aboriginals living in Canadian urban centers. In addition, 25 boarding schools are located in Alberta, most of the other provinces or territories in Canada. Iqaluit, with a population of approximately 8,000, has the largest Inuit population (3,900) of any Canadian city with a population of over 5,000. Pope Francis was personally invited by Inuit delegates to visit the North during their March meetings.
The city of Quebec offers an eastern hub for those who want to see Pope Francis, especially the indigenous people of the East. The area is also home to the Basilica of Saint Anne-de-Beaupré, one of the oldest and most popular pilgrimage sites in North America, where tribals and other people gather every year throughout Canada and other parts of the world.
The detailed program of Pope Francis’ meetings in Canada, along with representatives of indigenous peoples locally and nationally, will be limited in the coming weeks. The CCCB has appointed Archbishop Richard Smith as the General Coordinator for the Pope’s visit. Ms Smith commented on the appointment: “I am proud to serve as the General Coordinator for this historic visit of Pope Francis. I look forward to working with indigenous peoples across this land, as well as local, provincial and federal partners. As we prepare to welcome the Holy Father, we will walk together on this important healing and reconciliation journey.
(SL) (Agenzia Fides 16/5/2022)
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