Pope Francis arrived in Canada to ask for forgiveness from the natives for the tragedy at the boarding school.

Pope Francis has arrived in Canada on a “repentance” trip, during which he is to renew his petition for forgiveness for the Church’s role in the tragedy of indigenous boarding schools.

The Papal plane landed around noon at Edmonton Airport in Alberta in western Canada.

In addition to Edmonton, Pope Francis will visit Quebec and Iqaluit (Nunavut), a city located in the far north of Canada and home to the largest number of Inuit tribes in the country, and will return to Rome on Friday.

He was greeted at the airport by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canadian Governor General Marie Simon, a representative of Queen Elizabeth II, and religious and indigenous representatives in a ceremony that included drumming and American Indian singing.

During a laconic reception, the Pope spoke with representatives of the indigenous population and received welcome gifts.

During the trip, the Pope told the reporters who accompanied him, “This is a journey of repentance.”

This visit will focus primarily on Aboriginal people, who make up five percent of Canada’s population.

Pope Francis is accompanied, in particular, by the representative of the diplomacy of the Vatican, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

Before leaving, the Pope sent a message via Twitter to his “dear brothers and sisters in Canada”. “I come to you to get acquainted with the indigenous people. I hope, with God’s help, my path of repentance will contribute to the path of reconciliation that has begun. Please accompany me in prayer,” he wrote.

Between the late 19th century and the 1990s, about 150,000 indigenous children were forcibly enrolled in more than 130 public boarding schools, most run by the Catholic Church.

They were separated from their families, language and culture and were often victims of violence, sometimes sexual.

Nearly 6,000 children died there in what a national commission of inquiry deemed “cultural genocide” in a country where the discovery of more than 1,300 unidentified graves in 2021 shocked authorities and prompted authorities to declare a “day of reconciliation.”

Indigenous peoples are looking forward to the visit, hoping the Pope will renew the historic apology he made in April at the Vatican.

Source: AFP

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