Pope Francis to visit Edmonton, 'determined' to meet Indigenous people on their land: archbishop
Pope Francis to visit Edmonton, 'determined' to meet Indigenous people on their land: archbishop
"Surprised, and delighted," was Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith's reaction to an announcement from the Vatican early Friday morning that Pope Francis would be visiting Alberta's capital city this summer.
According to the Holy See press office, the Pope will travel to Edmonton, Quebec City and Iqualuit between July 24 and 29 in what will be the fourth papal visit to Canada and first since 2002.
"The Holy Father is coming to meet with the Indigenous peoples of this land. He is coming on a pilgrimage, a pilgrimage of healing, of reconciliation, and of hope," Smith, also the general coordinator of the trip for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, said Friday morning.
"The pope's visit will provide an opportunity for him to listen and to dialogue with Indigenous peoples on this land, to express to them his heartfelt closeness and to address the impact of residential schools here in Canada."
Métis Nation of Alberta president Audrey Poitras said the nation was pleased that the Pope had accepted the invitation to come to Canada from residential school survivors.
"This represents another step down the road of reconciliation following the historic visit to the Vatican in April," she wrote in a statement.
"We look forward to working with the Holy See to ensure our citizens, especially Survivors, will have the opportunity to attend gatherings as part of his visit.”
The Pope's itinerary has not been finalized; Smith said he and his counterparts would be working with Indigneous partners to plan the trip, and that he expects it will consist of Indigenous traditions and ceremony.
The visit will follow the Pope's historic apology in April for the Roman Catholic Church's role in residential schools in Canada.
Indigenous delegates had told the Pope that they expected an apology to be delivered on Canadian soil. They later said that they believe a more fulsome apology will come during his visit to Canada.
Smith said the encounter at the Vatican was very powerful and Francis understood how important it is to bring the apology to Indigenous land and territories.
"We would expect a reiteration of his apology. He understands, as we all do, the strong connection of the Indigenous peoples to their land," Edmonton's archbishop said.
George Arcand Jr., grand chief for Treaty 6, told CTV News Edmonton that the Pope's visit to Alberta marked a "momentous occasion."
"It's always been our belief, in the Treaty 6 territory, we have a huge number of survivors, and for any visit, there should be interest to come into this part of the country," Arcand said.
"We think it was in the best interest of everyone involved to think of Edmonton as a potential stop," he added. "In the whole region of Edmonton, there's a great number of residential school survivors."
He hopes the Pope will visit at least one of the five Edmonton-area former residential schools and deliver a public apology to survivors.
"We are hoping that the Pope's public apology to hopefully thousands of survivors would be a way for us to start working out how we forgive and how we start building on fixing the things that have been put before us," Arcand said.
TRIP LIMITED BY POPE'S HEALTH
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops said the three cities were selected based on the length of the trip, the vast size of Canada and the health of the 85-year-old pontiff.
Francis has begun using a wheelchair and has a pronounced limp.
"I'm a little astonished that he's coming here," Smith admitted.
"We understand he was hoping to go to Lebanon in June. That's been cancelled. We also understand that in early July, he is going to South Sudan and to the Congo, just a few weeks before coming here.
"I think that is an ambitious itinerary for a young person in the best of health. This is extraordinarily ambitious for the Holy Father."
He said there are rules about the Pope's travel: he can't fly by helicopter; he can't ride in a vehicle for more than an hour; he cannot switch accommodations every night.
The three host cities are meant to act as hubs from which the Pope can access sites easily.
Edmonton is home to the second-largest number of Indigenous people living in urban centres and there were 25 residential schools in Alberta. Lac Ste. Anne, an important site for Indigenous people and the location of a large religious pilgrimage each July, is also nearby.
Poitras said she hoped to see Pope Francis include Lac Ste. Anne on his intinerary. Smith said he considered that a "strong possibility."
"Were it not for his desire to engage with the Indigenous peoples on their land, he probably would not be coming to Canada… But he has made it very clear, in spite of these severe limits on his mobility, that he is determined to come to Canada to be with them," Smith said.
"It shows just how determined he is to be here with the Indigenous peoples to the degree that he can."
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said the members of his government "look forward to welcoming" the Pope.
With files from CTVNews.ca and CTV News Edmonton's Nahreman Issa and Adam Lachacz
Edmonton Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Many Canadians remain unaware of the involvement of forced child labour in the products they buy, according to non-profit agency World Vision Canada.
Hundreds of protesters descended on the U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday to denounce the justice's decision to overturn the half-century-old Roe v. Wade precedent that recognized women's constitutional right to abortion.
As Pride festivities kick off around the world, many refugees are celebrating the LGBTQ2S+ community for the first time.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau headed to the G7 summit in Germany on Saturday without a consensus from the Commonwealth to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but with a chorus of countries calling for help to overcome the fallout of the war.
The World Health Organization said the escalating monkeypox outbreak in nearly 50 countries should be closely monitored but does not warrant being declared a global health emergency.
After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday, holding that there is no longer a federal constitutional right to an abortion, protesters and supporters of the ruling gathered at the high court's building in Washington, D.C., and in other cities nationwide.
With the nation's capital bracing for anticipated anti-mandate 'freedom' movement protests during Canada Day weekend, interim Conservative Leader Candice Bergen says her MPs are free to attend.
A barge that ran aground near Vancouver's English Bay last year quickly became an accidental attraction, drawing selfie-seekers and inspiring T-shirt designs. But after seven months, residents seem to have grown weary of its hulking presence on the shoreline.
Ukraine's largest LGBTQ rights event, KyivPride, is going ahead on Saturday. But not on its native streets and not as a celebration.
Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell threw for 321 yards and Malik Henry scored a third-quarter, go-ahead touchdown for the Calgary Stampeders in a 30-23 win over the visiting Edmonton Elks on Saturday.
Nearly 100 Ukrainian members of Calgary’s community marched in protest calling for the release of Azovstal Iron and steel workers, defending Mariupol from Russian attacks.
After the U.S. Supreme Court stripped away constitutional protections for abortion Friday by overturning Roe v. Wade, NDP Leader Rachel Notley demanded that everyone running to become the next leader of the UCP clarify their stance on the issue.
When Ennio Muzzolini walked into Christies Mayfair Bakery in 1965 interested in purchasing the small bakery on 33rd Street, he never imagined he’d one day be looking on as hundreds of people lined the block to get their hands on a baguette, cinnamon bun or wood-fired pizza.
Organizers have decided to cancel the Elk Ridge Open due to an “inordinate amount of rain.”
A Saskatoon man whose family helped to build the Waterhen Lake Church is planning to help rebuild the church.
Over 400 people contributed to the Field of Dreams project, which led to the purchase of a large track of prairie grasslands for preservation.
The Saskatchewan NDP will elect its next leader at a convention on Sunday.
Saskatchewan RCMP are investigating after a two-vehicle collision occurred at the intersection of Highway 35 and Highway 5 in Wadena.
An Amber Alert issued by Cape Breton Regional Police on Friday has been cancelled, as the missing youth has been located safe early Saturday morning says police.
The inquiry into Nova Scotia’s 2020 mass shooting, says four pages of handwritten notes that sparked a political firestorm in Ottawa this week, weren’t immediately submitted when subpoenaed by its investigators.
'It’s in shambles': RCMP 'architects of own demise,' says criminologist after complaints in N.B. and N.S.
After a week of criticism and anger at the Mass Casualty Commission in Nova Scotia, and outcry in a rural area of New Brunswick, there are questions about the RCMP’s role in community policing.
Dozens of people gathered outside the U.S. consulate in downtown Toronto Saturday to protest a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court to overturn constitutional protection for abortion rights.
Office workers are returning to Toronto but foot traffic on Mondays and Fridays hasn’t bounced back. Will it ever?
More people are commuting to offices downtown than at any point since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic but the recovery hasn’t been equal across the board, with both GO Transit and the TTC reporting fluctuations in ridership as many workers choose to work from home at the beginning and end of each week.
Every Monday, Mark Powell drives to the Burlington, Ont., pork plant where his wife died to give water to pigs on their way to slaughter.
Paramedics in Greater Montreal are stretched particularly thin this weekend, with nearly half the territory's ambulances parked due to a staffing shortage.
Police on Montreal's South Shore has located the suspect vehicle they say was involved in a hit-and-run that left a woman dead.
Friends and family of a 17-year-old girl who died in what police are calling an accident on the shore in LaSalle gathered Saturday to remember the Montreal teen who her mother said was 'was full of life.'
The summer festival season in Ottawa kicked off this weekend with thousands gathering for events across the city.
Someone called 911 from Britannia Beach at approximately 7:15 p.m. Saturday, reporting four people had fallen off a paddleboard and were floating towards the Deschenes Rapids in Ottawa's west end.
There are no reports of injuries after two jet skis collided near Petrie Island Bay in Ottawa's east end.
A fire at a townhouse complex in Kitchener Friday night has resulted in extensive damage.
Many in Waterloo Region are reacting to the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade and what it could mean for Canada.
Norfolk County OPP are investigating after they say a pedestrian was found on the side of a road and had to be airlifted to hospital.
Nipissing-Timiskaming Liberal MP Anthony Rota said he was shocked by Friday’s U.S. Supreme Court’s abortion ruling.
With hundreds of students from India who attend Northern College, and other professionals from India who've moved to the city to work, organizers said they felt it was time to bring everyone together to celebrate their culture with the rest of the community.
A group of friends doing work on a camp in MacGregor Bay helped contain what could have been a devastating fire in Killarney Provincial Park.
Using a trailer or an RV is an easy way for people to get out of the city and into the outdoors, but with soaring gas prices, the cost of driving with one has gone up drastically.
Winnipeg was once again pummelled by rain on Friday and the city came close to setting a rainfall record.
No one was injured but one pet died after an early morning fire Saturday.
As the first sustained heat of the season settles in across B.C.'s south coast, Environment and Climate Change Canada has issued a special weather statement advising people of high temperatures and humidex values through Monday.
Metro Vancouver is experiencing its first stretch of hot summer weather this weekend and people are scouring stores looking for air conditioners and fans to cool off – some being met with empty shelves.
The family of a Vancouver police officer who died by suicide is suing the department, alleging she endured sexual assault and exploitation enabled by an "unsafe workplace culture and insufficient policies and procedures," court documents show.
A 15-month dispute in British Columbia's film and television industry has ended with the ratification of a new contract for creative and logistical staff working on productions shot in the province.
All ferry sailings between two of B.C.'s Discovery Islands have been cancelled Saturday because of a lack of crew.
When Tabi Henry was little, she never questioned why everyone celebrated her birthday in costume. Until she realized Oct. 31 was also Halloween.