‘Missed opportunity’: Mixed reactions to Pope’s mass at Edmonton stadium

There were mixed reactions to the pope’s public mass at Edmonton’s soccer stadium Tuesday, where the pope focused his message on grandparents and spoke briefly about indigenous peoples while bishops offered prayers in Latin. .

“It’s a missed opportunity for the public to celebrate local traditions and cultural practices,” said Dariwald Corbier Winkler, a pastor in Ottawa.

“They did the opposite. They celebrated (Eurocentric), asymmetric forms of prayer.

Corbiere Winkler said he was hopeful when mass local drumming began, as the Pope Mobile carried Francis from the Commonwealth Stadium. The Pope greeted and kissed the babies and toddlers who were handed to him and cheers echoed from the stands along with thousands of people.

Corbiere Winkler said her hopes were dashed as the service took a traditional turn. He was devastated when the Eucharist was prayed in Latin, with the survivors of the residential school present.

“This is the language they may have heard in residential school,” he said. “Many survivors, this is what they heard extensively when they were children.”

Angel Dermett said the strict masses reminded her of church ceremonies when she was a child at Lower Post Residential School in British Columbia.

“When I heard the service, it was very different from how I believe in God and how I believe in Jesus,” she said.

Many local people participated in the program. However, Francis did not focus much on indigenous peoples, cultures or traditions during the event, despite apologizing for abuses at Catholic-run residential schools the day before.

The Pope focused on his own humility, the comments that come after reading the Scriptures, the importance of grandparents and elders.

Near the end, Francis prayed for “a future in which the history of violence and marginalization of our indigenous brothers and sisters will never be repeated.”

“Young and old, grandparents and grandchildren, all together. Let’s move forward together, and dream together.

About 65,000 free tickets were available for the gathering but many rows of seats were empty, especially in the upper decks. Organizers estimate there were about 50,000 people in attendance. Hats and robes commemorating the pope’s visit were sold for between $10 and $45 near an entrance.

During the blessing of the Eucharist, a man shouted “Cancel the doctrine of discovery” – the papal documents used in colonization.

Near the end of the Mass, Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith thanked Francis for fulfilling his promise to “come to Canada and thus to all of us, especially the First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples of this land.” Show your closeness together.”

Rose-Marie Blair-Isberg traveled from the Yukon to attend. A residential school survivor from the White River First Nation, who is Catholic, said it felt like the church was “selling its point of view” at large.

Edith Dudzina held up a photo of her mother, Regina Edzine, as she sat in the stadium with her children. Dadzina, who lives in Bushe River on the Dane Tha First Nation in Alberta, said her mother went to residential school but died before hearing the pope’s apology.

Acknowledging past mistakes doesn’t erase what happened, but it does help begin healing, Dedzina said.

On Monday, during a visit to the community of Mosquas, south of Edmonton, the pope apologized to residential school survivors and their families for the role of church members in the cultural destruction and forced integration of indigenous peoples.

Patty Crofton, a member of the Sagkeng First Nation in Manitoba, said she didn’t sleep well after hearing the apology because it brought back difficult memories. She went to day school and her parents went to residential school.

“I’m on my healing journey from all of this,” he said before the gathering.

Organizers have said it was notable not to hold the Mass until the second full day of the pope’s visit, as Francis wanted to show his priority to focus first on the legacy of residential schools on local lands.

Later, Francis was to travel to Lac Ste. Ann, northwest of Edmonton, to participate in the community’s annual pilgrimage, which regularly welcomes tens of thousands of indigenous participants.

Audrey Poitras, president of the Mets Nation of Alberta, said she was proud to welcome Francis to the site, which is considered sacred. But, Poitras said, words and apologies are not enough.

“We hope that realizing the spirit of the Métis, so deeply connected to a sacred place for the Church, will lead to real actions and accountability, so that we as a people can focus on healing, He said in a statement. .

At the end of the week, Francis is scheduled to travel to Quebec City to meet with locals and host another gathering. He also has to travel to the minority.

The Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program has a hotline for residential school survivors and their relatives traumatized by past abuse. The number is 1-866-925-4419.

— With files from Kelly Geraldine Malone in Winnipeg

Brittany Hobson and Daniela Germano, Canadian Press

Pope Francis