The Pope's Pilgrimage: July 2022
"Indigenous Peoples and the Church: Walking together toward Healing and Reconciliaton"
In July of 2022 Pope Francis did a pilgrimage in Canada in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Initiative in Canada. This pilgrimage is part of the Pope's continued attempts to help heal the wounds of the past in regards to the events that have taken place at the Native boarding schools throughout Canada. His words brought healing and solace to a people that have been for a long time seeking to find resolution to their long histories in the boarding schools, assimilation and colonialization.
In addition, on the EWTN channel that covered Pope Francis's visit to Notre Dame. Here Pope Francis was visiting the tomb of the Saint Francois de Laval who was Canada's First Bishop. Father Baraga's name and histories were shared while Pope Francis prayed in front of the tomb. To hear about Father Baraga while seeing Pope Francis at this tomb in prayer, please click on the link below.
Pope Francis was gifted a pair of snowshoes which were the type that Father Baraga used while trekking hundreds of miles for the Ojibwe.
Please see the list of events below. Each event includes a video of the entire event so that others can learn of the Native Cultures and hear Pope Francis's words to the Native and Catholic audiences. Click on the link below to be brought to that event or scroll through the different events listed below.
July 25th: Pope Francis visits the site of Ermineskin Indian Residential School
July 25th: Pope Francis attends Mass at the Sacred Heart Church of the First Peoples and blesses the St. Kateri Statue
July 26th: Pope Francis speaks at Lac Ste. Anne church
July 26th: Pope Francis concludes mass at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium
July 27th: Pope Francis visits the Plains of Abraham
July 28th: Pope Francis celebrates Mass in Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre in Quebec
July 28th: Pope Francis visits Cathedral-Basilica of Notre Dame of Quebec
July 29th: Pope Francis visits Nunavut
July 30th: Pope Francis's Farewell Ceremony
July 25th: Maskwacis, Canada: Ermineskin Indian Residential School
Ermineskin is the former residential school in Maskwacis, Canada. On this location the Cree, Danai, Blackfoot, Soto and Nakota Natives lived for centuries. Pope Francis first visits the graves of those who had lost their lives on the Ermineskin Indian Residential School for several moments of prayer. A banner in red was flown which showed the list of residential schools in Canada. Dancing, drumming and singing was done to welcome Pope Francis to the location and to celebrate the Native traditions. A warm welcome was extended and Pope Francis extended his apologies for all that had transpired. Pope Francis expresses his sorrow and shares of the story of the children's moccasins that he received.
July 25th: Edmonton, Canada: Pope Francis meets with Indigenous Peoples at the Sacred Heart Church of the First People's.
Sounds of the Native singing greets Pope Francis outside of the Sacred Heart Church of the First People's. He spoke about his visit in Rome and his gratitude for meeting them on their homeland. He says that any process of healing requires concrete actions. He speaks into how the wheat and tares and how that applies to the church. He thanks the bishops for their work and recognizes their ability to bear fruit in helping with this reconciliation. He teaches about what reconciliation is and how it relates to the tree symbolically seen in the church. Here he also blesses a statue of St. Kateri.
July 26th: NW of Alberta, Canada: Visit to Lac Ste. Anne's Church
Pope Francis offers the liturgy of the word in Lac Ste. Anne's Church. The grounds here have been sacred for generations of people and have often been known as healing grounds. It was attended by many faithful Catholic Natives. Orange shirts were worn which remember residential school survivors. Pope Francis shares how the beating of the drum help us remember the beating of our own hearts towards love and the rhythm of the heartbeat of the earth which gives us life. He teaches on the histories of the sea of Galilee and compared it to the waters that resided next to Lac Ste. Anne's Church. Afterwards he visited this lake to pray as many watched from a distance.
July 26th: Edmonton, Canada: Visit to Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium
At a football stadium the indigenous populations rose to their feet in applause showing their gratitude for Pope Francis and the efforts that he has put forth for reconciliation. Orange shirts again were strewn throughout the crowd in addition with pictures of loved ones that were to be remembered. The bishops of Canada expressed their desire to walk with the Indigenous populations. Pope Francis helps all remember how precious we are and shows gratitude towards the parents and grandparents who were our elders. He reminds the audience of the importance of family and how faith is passed on through language and love of the family.
July 27th: Quebec, Canada: Pope Francis visits the Plains of Abraham and addresses the public
The meeting is opened up with a ceremony with the calling in of the four directions in the traditional native way. Justin Trudeau then shares about St. Anne and her connection to family and maternal love. He speaks into the gratitude that he has for Pope Francis and his willingness to listen to the survivors and the help that this has helped. He talks about reconciliation as being necessary for all and how this apology is an important first step for helping with that. Governor General Mary Simmon welcomes Pope Francis. She speaks into the courage of the survivors. She speaks about the indigenous word that means that healing is a journey and not a destination. Pope Francis then addresses the congregation and teaches how the maple leaf teaches of the native cultures and how these cultures can benefit mankind. He apologizes again for what has transpired. He speaks into how the Christian faith has the ability to share the highest ideals and also speaks into the times in which the Christian religion has affected the native rights in a challenging way. He is committed to healing these deep wounds.
July 28th: Quebec, Canada: Pope Francis leads Holy Mass of Reconciliation at Sainte Anne de Beaupre
A solemn Mass was held at Sainte Anne de Beaupre where Pope Francis was welcomed where 80% of mass was filled with Indigenous populations. Pope Francis speaks to the audience about moving to a place of hope and reconciliation. He teaches of the moment when Christs disciples were walking with Christ after his resurrection. He compares this moment to this time for the disciples at first did not recognize Christ. They were speaking of the loss of their hope after his death. Afterwards their eyes were opened and they were able to resurrected Christ and they were filled with hope. This compares to the loss of hope that the church and peoples may have experienced but the understanding that Christ walks beside us and that once again we can be filled with hope.
July 28th: Quebec, Canada: Pope Francis visits the Cathedral-Basilica of Notre Dame in Quebec
Hymns were sung at the beginning of Mass. Pope Francis speaks of what it means to tend the flock. He speaks about what Christian joy and peace is. He teaches that there is a need to view our current world and address how secularism has changed. There is a need to find passion for the gospel and joy for the gospel and to teach of these things. He teaches that what transpired within the church should never happen again and that the church that is being built now in a new church. The church is not to see one culture as superior to others or that it is okay to coerce others. There is a need to defeat the culture of exclusion. All can learn to love one another as brothers and sisters. It is about a love that has no borders.
July 29th: Nanavut, Canada: Pope Francis speaks with the young generation
Introductions and songs sung in Inuit greets Pope Francis including throat singing. They presented Pope Francis with an intuit drum. Pope Francis thanks the Inuit people for their willingness to share their stories. He then shares his sorrow for what had transpired in the churches and extends his apologies. He speaks of how what transpired in the boarding schools contradict words that were found in the scriptures. He shares with them that they are a light that shines that no one has been able to extinguish. He tells them of how important their ability to care for the earth is. He talks to the children and teaches them the importance of their traditions and how important they are to the world.
July 29th: Pope Francis's Farewell Ceremony
Prior to Pope Francis's departure the Inuit Natives sing a song for him in the airport. The cardinals thank the Inuit representatives for their time. The Inuit representatives thank Pope Francis for their time. The Inuit representatives wait outside and watches as he departs.