The itinerary of Pope Francis’ historic visit to Canada, July 24 – 29, 2022, has been officially released by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Newsroom (23/06/2022 7:23 PM Gaudium Press) The Holy Father’s pilgrimage will focus on Indigenous healing and reconciliation while also providing the shepherd of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics an opportunity to encounter the faithful in Canada. The visit, drawing on the theme of “Walking Together,” will include a combination of public and private events, emphasizing Indigenous participation throughout the visit.
“We know that the Holy Father was deeply moved by his encounter with Indigenous Peoples in Rome earlier this year, and that he hopes to build on the important dialogue that took place. We pray this pilgrimage will serve as another meaningful step in the long journey of healing, reconciliation and hope,” remarked Archbishop Richard Smith, General Co-ordinator of the Papal Visit to Canada.
The Holy Father will arrive in Edmonton, Alberta, on July 24th. Following a brief airport ceremony, the 85-year-old pontiff will take the remainder of the day to rest.
On July 25th, Pope Francis will visit Maskwacis, home to the former Ermineskin Residential School, one of Canada’s largest residential school sites. The Holy Father will join former residential school students from across the country as part of a formal program. Later in the day, the pontiff will visit Sacred Heart Church of the First Peoples, a National Indigenous church in downtown Edmonton.
July 26th is the feast of St. Anne, grandmother of Jesus, a day of particular reverence for Indigenous Catholics. The Holy Father will celebrate an open-air Mass at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, which will include Indigenous traditions.
In the early evening, the Holy Father will travel to Lac Ste. Anne, the site of an annual pilgrimage that welcomes tens of thousands of Indigenous participants from throughout Canada and the United States each year.
On July 27th, the Holy Father will depart Edmonton for Quebec City, where he will visit La Citadelle and take part in private meetings. Pope Francis, as both a spiritual leader and head of state, will also offer a public address. The detailed program of activities on the Plains of Abraham is being developed with Indigenous and community partners.
Thursday, July 28th, will see the Pope travel to Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, where he will celebrate Mass at one of the oldest and most popular pilgrimage sites in North America, drawing more than a million visitors to the site (including annual Indigenous pilgrimages) each year.
Later in the day, His Holiness will meet with bishops, priests, seminarians, consecrated men and women, and those who work in various church ministries, as is customary with most papal visits. The Pope will have the remainder of the evening for rest while a dinner focused on friendship and ongoing dialogue will bring together Indigenous leaders from Eastern Canada and representatives of the Catholic Bishops of Canada.
On July 29th Following a private meeting with members of his religious order (Society of Jesus), Pope Francis will meet with Indigenous leaders from Eastern Canada before departing for Iqaluit. He will spend the afternoon in a private meeting with residential school survivors before attending a public community event hosted by Inuit.
The Holy Father will depart for Rome from Iqaluit in the early evening.
By Raju Hasmukh