Thursday’s midday mass at St. Patrick’s Basilica in Olx Praca took on a special meaning: a moment to thank for the news that Pope Francis is coming to Canada and visiting Quebec.
“It was a joy,” said Monsignor Francis John Coyle of the moment he learned the news. “As I always say, you never think or underestimate Pope Francis.”
The Vatican has confirmed that Pope Francis will visit Canada with a stopover in Quebec.
Pope Francis to visit former boarding school in Alberta during trip to Canada, Vatican says
The pope canceled a planned trip to Africa for July at the request of doctors, but the Vatican says a visit to Canada from July 24 to 29 will take place.
“I think it shows how much he really wants to meet the natives of Canada,” said Janet McLean, a parishioner at St. Patrick’s Basilica.
His first stop is expected to be Alberta, where he will visit the grounds of a former boarding school.
It will then sail to Quebec on July 28 and 29. His trip will end in Iqaluit.
Quebec Archbishop Gérald Lacroix says the Pope will be received in Quebec by government officials at the Citadel, as is customary. He will also offer a public performance.
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On the same day, Pope Francis will also visit the Plains of Abraham, where he is expected to meet with the public and meet with indigenous peoples.
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On the last day of his visit, he will celebrate Mass at Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré.
According to the Catholic Church, this is one of the oldest and most popular pilgrimage sites in North America.
He will conclude his visit to Quebec with a meeting with indigenous and religious leaders.
“This journey gives us hope,” Lacroix said. “Because this is another big step in this reconciliation process.”
The Pope is fulfilling a promise he made to indigenous peoples in March when a delegation from Canada visited him in the Vatican.
He then issued a formal apology for the severe damage caused by Canadian boarding schools.
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These are the words some hope to hear in their homelands.
“For us, this is far from being a holiday,” says the head of the Assembly of Indigenous Peoples of Quebec, Labrador Ghislain Picard. “I think this needs to be understood and respected, and at the same time, we also know that the church needs to be held accountable for its actions.”
Picard says he hopes that the boarding school survivors will be properly represented during the visit and that their wishes will be taken into account so that healing can actually begin.
Indian boarding school health support program has a hotline to help boarding school survivors and their relatives who are suffering trauma caused by the memory of past abuse. Number 1-866-925-4419.
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