Pope Francis attended Sacred Heart Church of the First Peoples On Monday afternoon in the inner city of Edmonton.
Francis was welcomed into the church by drummers and singing. When the pontiff was escorted into the city building, tears welled up in some people’s eyes.
The century-old church is a mix of Catholic and indigenous customs. Francis took a chair in front of the church, placed under the pillars of a wooden trumpet.
Pope Francis speaks about the meaning of reconciliation: ‘No one can declare a God unlike God himself’
The members of the parish told the pope that they were thrilled to welcome him on his first visit to Canada.
The pontiff gave an address about reconciliation to the indigenous people and parish members and received many gifts.
The Pope said he was happy to visit an Edmonton church that welcomes indigenous and non-indigenous people.
He says the Sacred Heart is a place for all, as the Catholic Church should be.
He also spoke of his apology earlier in the day maskavasiswhere he expressed regret for the role of the church in residential schools in Canada.
The Pope said, “Let this never happen again in the Church.” “Jesus may be preached in freedom and charity as he pleases.”
He said he was saddened to think that Catholics contributed to policies of assimilation that robbed the culture and identity of the people.
Francis also blessed a statue of Kateri Tekquitha, the first indigenous person to be canonized as a saint.
He held the elders’ hands, touching some on the head, as he was out of the wheel on the road – where he unexpectedly greeted some standing on the street.
She waved the window of a white Fiat as she pulled away.
On Tuesday, the Pope is scheduled to host a large outdoor mass at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton and take part in a pilgrimage to nearby Lac Sta. Anne, before traveling to Quebec City and Iqaluit.
The Pope’s journey is going to be very difficult for many. If you or someone you know is a residential school survivor and looking for help, you can call the Residential School Survivor and Family Crisis Line at 1-800-721-0066.
– more to come…
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