Jul 25, 2022

By Jane Brown

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Pope Francis is expected to speak publicly for the first time on his Canadian visit at a meeting this morning with First Nations, Inuit and Metis representatives in a community south of Edmonton.

The day’s events begin with a trip to visit the site of a former Indian Residential School in Maskwacis.

It is expected this is where the Pope will issue an apology to indigenous residential school survivors and their families for the role the Catholic Church played in removing indigenous children from their homes, and forcing them to give up their language at these residential institutions where they underwent various forms of abuse.

(Members of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada and First Nations Assembly perform at Saint Peter’s Square at the end of their meeting with Pope Francis in Vatican City, Vatican, April 1, 2022. After meeting with a number of Indigenous delegates, Pope Francis expressed sorrow and shame for the Church’s role in the abuses suffered by indigenous children in Canadian boarding schools for 100 years. Photo: Riccardo De Luca/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

National Chief RoseAnne Archibald of the Assembly of First Nations says… receiving Indigenous input for the Pope’s events has been a struggle.

“We can only hope that it will get better, that they will listen to our voices, that we can walk forward on the healing path forward with him and throughout the rest of the journey,” said National Chief RoseAnne Archibald of the Assembly of First Nations.

Following the expected apology, Francis is scheduled to speak this afternoon with indigenous people and parish members at the Church of Sacred Heart in Edmonton.

Later in the week, the Pope plans to host a large outdoor mass at the city’s football stadium and take part in a pilgrimage in nearby Lac Ste. Anne, before travelling to Quebec City and Iqaluit.

For a native Canadian’s perspective on Pope Francis’ Visit to Canada and the complicated relationship between indigenous communities and the church, visit everythingzoomer.com.

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