The Catholic Bishops of Canada are grateful that Pope Francis has accepted their invitation to visit Canada on a pilgrimage of healing and reconciliation.
A statement from the Vatican reads: “The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has invited the Holy Father to make an apostolic journey to Canada, also in the context of the long-standing pastoral process of reconciliation with indigenous peoples. His Holiness has indicated his willingness to visit the country on a date to be settled in due course”.
In anticipation of this visit, the planned delegation of Indigenous survivors, Elders, knowledge keepers and youth will travel to the Holy See, where they will have the opportunity to speak to Pope Francis about the timing, focus, and themes in preparation for his future pilgrimage to Canada.
“The Bishops of Canada have been engaged in meaningful discussions with Indigenous Peoples, especially those affected by Residential Schools who have shared stories about the suffering and challenges that they continue to experience,” said CCCB President, the Most Rev. Raymond Poisson. “We pray that Pope Francis’ visit to Canada will be a significant milestone in the journey toward reconciliation and healing.”
The Canadian Bishops recently pledged to work with the Holy See and Indigenous partners on the possibility of a pastoral visit to Canada by the Pope. Following this pledge and informed by three years of ongoing dialogue between the Canadian Bishops, the Holy See, and Indigenous Peoples, the President and former-President of the CCCB met in Rome with the Secretary of State of the Holy See to discuss next steps on the reconciliation journey earlier this month and in preparation for the delegation.
This delegation to the Holy See will take place from December 17-20, 2021, and is being planned in close collaboration with National Indigenous Organizations and other partners.
“We will invite the delegation of Indigenous survivors, Elders, knowledge keepers, and youth who will meet with Pope Francis to open their hearts to the Holy Father and share both their suffering as well as their hopes and desires for his eventual visit to Canada,” added Bishop Poisson.
Additional details about Pope Francis’ pilgrimage to Canada, as well as the Rome delegation will be announced by the CCCB as details are confirmed.