CANADA POLITICS Pope Francis to visit Canada despite continued health concerns

Pope Francis to visit Canada despite continued health concerns


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Pope Francis will travel to Canada as planned next month, the Vatican said on Thursday, confirming that the long-planned trip will take place despite the Roman Catholic religious leader having some health concerns.

The Pope, who will be in Canada July 24-29 with stops in Edmonton, Quebec and Iqaluit, will come here to personally apologize for the Catholic Church’s mistreatment of indigenous peoples.

According to the itinerary released by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Pope will begin his visit to Edmonton with a short ceremony at the airport. The next day, July 25, he will meet with survivors at the Stoat Indian Boarding School in the community of Maskwatsis, south of the city. Later that day, Francis is due to visit First Nations Sacred Heart Church, a downtown First Nations church — a church that was recently rebuilt after a devastating fire in 2020.

On July 26, the Pope will celebrate Mass at the city’s 56,000-seat Commonwealth Stadium, an event that will be open to the public. Then he will go to Lac Ste. Anne, Alta, a place of pilgrimage where for more than a century, indigenous Catholics and mestizos have come to celebrate the feast of Saint Anne.

Next stop is Quebec, where the Pope will meet with the Prime Minister and Governor General at the Citadel, followed by a public address. On July 28, he will lead Mass at the Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Basilica, a national shrine that is expected to be attended by 10,000 to 15,000 guests. Later, he will take part in an evening prayer service with bishops, priests, deacons and seminarians at Notre-Dame-de-Quebec Cathedral.

On July 29, the Pope will meet with an indigenous delegation from Quebec before heading north to Iqaluit.

While in Nunavut, the Pope will attend a private meeting with boarding school survivors and host a delegation of youth and elders at a local elementary school before heading back to Rome.

Africa trip canceled

There have been fears in some circles that the Pope will cancel a visit to Canada after the Vatican cut short another of his trips abroad, a multi-day tour of Africa scheduled for early July.

Vatican officials said the Pope had to cancel a planned trip to the Republic of the Congo and South Sudan “at the request of his doctors” in order to “not jeopardize the results of the knee therapy he is undergoing.”

Due to ongoing health concerns – the Pope was recently seen in a wheelchair due to mobility issues – Canadian bishops have said that the Pope’s participation in public events is expected to be “limited to approximately one hour”.

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