Papal visit to centre on three cities: report
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When Pope Francis comes to Canada in late July, he is not expected to visit Winnipeg.
According to a report published by CBC, the three locations on the list for his four-day trip — during which he will apologize to Indigenous people for their experience at Roman Catholic-operated residential schools — are Quebec City, Edmonton and Iqaluit.
The report cited confidential sources who were not authorized to speak publicly.
The sources also said the trip, which was being planned before the March 28-April 1 meetings between the Pope and delegates from the First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, will be funded by the Canadian Catholic Church.
The goal is to make it as easy as possible for Indigenous people across Canada to hear the Pope.
Vatican advance teams have already scouted the three cities in preparation for the trip, according to Métis National Council President Cassidy Caron.
If the Pope goes to Edmonton, it is possible he will deliver an apology at Lac Ste. Anne, a pilgrimage located 78 kilometres west of the Alberta capital.
The pilgrimage is popular with Métis and Indigenous people; at his April 1 audience with delegates in Vatican City the Pope said he hoped to “be with you” on St. Anne’s feast day, July 26.
In a statement, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) would not confirm the locations, saying any official announcement about dates and locations will come from the Vatican.
As for the trip itself, the CCCB said “The Canadian bishops are grateful that Pope Francis has accepted our invitation to visit Canada on a pilgrimage of healing and reconciliation.”
It went on to say “We have had meaningful conversations with Indigenous people, about the timing, focus and themes of the visit.”
The CCCB has also been in conversation with the federal government, knowing the national importance of such an event, it added.
“Given the Holy Father’s advanced age and desire for simple, modest visits, we can expect the Canadian visit to reflect this reality in both the length of the pilgrimage as well as the geography of such a visit, given the size of Canada. We can anticipate that the visit to Canada will be very different than those of the past,” the CCCB added.
Regarding costs, until it has confirmation of dates, locations, and scope of the visit, the CCCB is “unable to provide detailed information on the budgeting for this trip,” said Jonathan Lesarge, government and public relations adviser.
“There is widespread enthusiasm around the pilgrimage from the bishops of Canada, other members of the Catholic community, and Canadians more broadly,” he said, adding the CCCB is confident of its ability to raise the necessary funding for the Pope’s trip.
Any costs for the papal visit “will be on top of the $30 million being raised to support healing and reconciliation projects across Canada,” he added.
Updated on Tuesday, April 19, 2022 12:49 PM CDT: Corrects date of publication.