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The Pope will be in Canada between July 25 and July 29, the first papal visit to the country in 20 years. Pope Francis will make stops in Edmonton, Quebec City and Iqaluit to address the devastating legacy of Canada’s residential school system. Here’s what to know about his papal visit.

Why is the Pope coming to Canada?

Pope Francis has said he’s embarking on a “penitential pilgrimage” to foster healing and reconciliation among Indigenous peoples.

Speaking to a gathering of thousands of residential school survivors and their families in Maskwacis, Alta. on the second day of his papal visit, the Pope formally apologized for the ways in which members of the Catholic Church participated in a system of cultural destruction and forced assimilation of Indigenous peoples – calling the effects of residential-school policies “catastrophic.”

I am sorry. I ask for forgiveness, in particular, for the ways in which many members of the Church and of religious communities co-operated, not least through their indifference, in projects of cultural destruction and forced assimilation promoted by the governments of that time, which culminated in the system of residential schools,” he said on Monday at an outdoor gathering near the former site of the Ermineskin Indian Residential School, once one of the largest residential schools.

Read Pope Francis’s full apology to Indigenous peoples for harms of residential schools in Canada

Pope Francis is expected to meet with Indigenous groups and residential school survivors in Alberta, Quebec and Nunavut during his visit. Catholic missionaries administered roughly two-thirds of the federally funded residential schools from the 1860s until 1969, when the Department of Indian Affairs took over the system.

  • Pope Francis greets faithfuls outside Sacred Heart Church in Edmonton on July 25, 2022.GUGLIELMO MANGIAPANE/Reuters

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What has he said previously about abuses at residential schools?

On April 1, Pope Francis apologized to a delegation of Indigenous leaders and residential school survivors in Rome. Their stories, he said, had filled him with shame for the role individual Catholics had played in their suffering. “For the deplorable conduct of those members of the Catholic Church, I ask for God’s forgiveness and I want to say to you with all my heart: I am very sorry.” Notably, he did not apologize for any institutional wrongdoing by the Church.

How Canada’s sovereignty is based on the 15th-century edicts of a lecherous pope

How does his visit address the Truth and Reconciliation’s calls to action?

In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission called on the Pope to deliver an apology in Canada for “spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical and sexual abuse” in Catholic-run residential schools. The commission cited Pope Benedict XVI’s 2010 apology to abuse victims in Ireland as a template. That apology, read aloud in churches across Ireland, was issued on the heels of two government reports that uncovered a pattern of abuse in church-run schools and a campaign to cover up decades of clerical child abuse in Dublin.

Pope Francis landed in Canada on Sunday to begin a tour focused on reconciliation with Indigenous people for the Catholic Church’s role in residential schools. The Pope met Indigenous representatives, including a residential school survivor, as well as Gov. Gen. Mary Simon and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a ceremony at Edmonton airport.

The Globe and Mail

What will the Pope do in Canada?

The 85-year-old pontiff will arrive in Edmonton on Sunday and travel to the former Ermineskin Residential School the next day to meet with First Nations, Métis and Inuit groups. On July 26, he’ll be presiding over a mass at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium and visiting the Lac Ste. Anne pilgrimage site. On the following two days, he’s scheduled to land in Quebec City, visit the Plains of Abraham and participate in Holy Mass at the National Shrine of Ste. Anne de Beaupré. He’ll fly to Iqaluit on his final day, July 29, for meetings with former residential school students before departing for Rome.

Where the Pope will be on visit to Canada

Iqaluit

0

150

KM

NWT

NUN.

Hudson

Bay

ALTA.

MAN.

SASK.

Lac Ste. Anne

NFLD.

Edmonton

QUE.

Maskwacis

ONT.

Winnipeg

Quebec City

UNITED STATES

Montreal

Toronto

Sun., July 24: Depart Rome; arrive Edmonton

Mon., July 25: Edmonton; Maskwacis

Tues., July 26: Edmonton; Lac Ste. Anne

Wed., July 27: Depart Edmonton; arrive Quebec City

Thurs., July 28: Quebec City

Fri., July 29: Depart Quebec City; arrive Iqaluit; Rome

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: TILEZEN; OPENSTREETMAP

CONTRIBUTORS; Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office

Where the Pope will be on visit to Canada

Iqaluit

0

150

KM

NWT

NUN.

Hudson

Bay

ALTA.

MAN.

SASK.

Lac Ste. Anne

NFLD.

Edmonton

QUE.

Maskwacis

ONT.

Winnipeg

Quebec City

UNITED STATES

Montreal

Toronto

Sun., July 24: Depart Rome; arrive Edmonton

Mon., July 25: Edmonton; Maskwacis

Tues., July 26: Edmonton; Lac Ste. Anne

Wed., July 27: Depart Edmonton; arrive Quebec City

Thurs., July 28: Quebec City

Fri., July 29: Depart Quebec City; arrive Iqaluit; Rome

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: TILEZEN; OPENSTREETMAP

CONTRIBUTORS; Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office

Where the Pope will be on visit to Canada

Sun., July 24: Depart Rome; arrive Edmonton

Iqaluit

Mon., July 25: Edmonton; Maskwacis

Tues., July 26: Edmonton; Lac Ste. Anne

Wed., July 27: Depart Edmonton; arrive Quebec City

Thurs., July 28: Quebec City

Fri., July 29: Depart Quebec City; arrive Iqaluit; Rome

Hudson

Bay

ALTA.

SASK.

MAN.

Lac Ste. Anne

NFLD.

Edmonton

QUE.

Maskwacis

ONT.

Winnipeg

CANADA

UNITED STATES

Quebec City

PEI

N.B.

Ottawa

Montreal

N.S.

Toronto

0

150

KM

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: TILEZEN; OPENSTREETMAP CONTRIBUTORS; Bulletin of the Holy See

Press Office

When was the last papal visit to Canada?

Only one pontiff has visited Canada: Pope John Paul II. He made the apostolic voyage three times, in 1984, 1987 and 2002. During his first visit, he met with several Indigenous delegations to acknowledge mistakes by Catholic missionaries, preach reconciliation and advocate for Indigenous self-government. He also reaffirmed a 1537 papal edict declaring Indigenous people should not be deprived of liberty or property.

Pope John Paul II, right, receives a pair of gloves and handshakes from a group of Indigenous individuals as he departs Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories on September 21, 1987 following a mass for the Indigenous people of Canada.Dave Buston/THE CANADIAN PRESS

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