EDMONTON, Alberta / ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE, July 24 (Reuters) – Pope Francis landed in Canada on Sunday to kick off a five-day trip that will center around his apology on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church for the abuse that indigenous children endured at mostly church-run residential schools.
“This is a trip of penance. Let’s say that is its spirit,” the pope told reporters in his traditional comments after his flight took off from Rome.
He touched down in Edmonton in the western province of Alberta, where he will visit a former residential school and meet with indigenous peoples on Monday. He is also visiting Quebec City and Iqaluit, the capital of the territory of Nunavut. He will depart on Friday.
Pope Francis said on Sunday he yearned to visit Ukraine, in his efforts to try and bring an end to a five-month-old war that he has repeatedly decried. “I have a great desire to go to Kyiv,” the pope said when asked about a possible future trip to Ukraine. He was speaking on the papal plane to journalists travelling with him from Rome to Canada.
His visit is the first papal visit to the country in 20 years.
No pope has ever visited Moscow, and Francis has repeatedly condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: last month he implicitly accused Moscow of waging a “cruel and senseless war of aggression”.
In an exclusive interview earlier this month, the pontiff told Reuters that he hoped to be able to go to Moscow and Kyiv soon after his trip to Canada.
After the interview, the Kremlin said it had not had substantive contact with the Vatican regarding a potential visit while Ukraine renewed its invitation to the pontiff.
The pope was flying on Sunday to Edmonton, capital of Alberta, at the start of a trip to Canada in which he aims to apologise for the role of the Roman Catholic Church in residential schools where many indigenous children were abused.
“This is a trip of penance. Let’s say that is its spirit,” he told reporters in his traditional comments at the beginning of the flight.
The week-long visit will include at least five encounters with native people as Francis makes good on a promise to apologise on their home territory for the Church’s role in the state-sanctioned schools, which sought to erase indigenous cultures.
It also will be a test of pope’s health. He had to cancel a trip to Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan in early July because of a knee problem that has recently forced him to use a wheel chair and a cane.
Despite his knee injury, the 85-year-old pope was in good spirits and greeted and joked with the members of the press.
Although there were initial doubts on whether he would move around through sections of the aircraft, he said “I think I can do it” and walked normally, supporting himself with a cane.
WATCH THE POPE’S ARRIVAL IN CANADA HERE
His itinerary includes stops in the provinces of Alberta and Quebec and the northern territory of Nunavut.
Absent from the Pope’s visit, however, is a stop in British Columbia, where the discovery last summer of evidence of some 200 unmarked graves on the grounds of a former residential school led to nationwide calls for reconciliation.
After departing Rome’s Fiumicino airport at 9 a.m. local time on July 24, Pope Francis is expected to arrive in Edmonton, Alberta at 11:20 a.m. local time, and to receive an official welcome before taking the remainder of the day to rest.
The Pope will be in Canada until Friday.
|Sunday, 24 July 2022 ROME – EDMONTON|
|09:00||Departure by airplane from Rome/Fiumicino International Airport to Edmonton|
|11:20||Arrival at Edmonton International Airport|
|11:20||OFFICIAL WELCOME at Edmonton International Airport|
|Monday, 25 July 2022 EDMONTON – MASKWACIS – EDMONTON|
|10:00||MEETING WITH INDIGENOUS PEOPLES: FIRST NATIONS, MÉTIS AND INUIT at Maskwacis||Address of the Holy Father|
|16:45||MEETING WITH INDIGENOUS PEOPLES AND MEMBERS OF THE PARISH COMMUNITY OF SACRED HEART at Edmonton||Address of the Holy Father|
|Tuesday, 26 July 2022 EDMONTON – LAC STE. ANNE – EDMONTON|
|10:15||HOLY MASS at “Commonwealth Stadium” in Edmonton||Homily of the Holy Father|
|17:00||PARTICIPATION IN THE “LAC STE. ANNE PILGRIMAGE” AND LITURGY OF THE WORD at the “Lac Ste. Anne”||Homily of the Holy Father|
|Wednesday, 27 July 2022 EDMONTON – QUÉBEC|
|09:00||Departure by airplane from Edmonton International Airport to Québec|
|15:05||Arrival at Québec International Airport|
|15:40||WELCOME CEREMONY at the Residence of the Governor General of Canada, “Citadelle de Québec”|
|16:00||COURTESY VISIT TO THE GOVERNOR GENERAL at the “Citadelle de Québec”|
|16:20||MEETING WITH THE PRIME MINISTER at the “Citadelle de Québec”|
|16:45||MEETING WITH CIVIL AUTHORITIES, REPRESENTATIVES OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES AND MEMBERS OF THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS at the “Citadelle de Québec”||Address of the Holy Father|
|Thursday, 28 July 2022 QUÉBEC|
|10:00||HOLY MASS at the National Shrine of Saint Anne de Beaupré||Homily of the Holy Father|
|17:15||VESPERS WITH BISHOPS, PRIESTS, DEACONS, CONSECRATED PERSONS, SEMINARIANS AND PASTORAL WORKERS in the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Québec||Homily of the Holy Father|
|Friday, 29 July 2022 QUÉBEC – IQALUIT – ROME|
|09:00||PRIVATE MEETING WITH THE MEMBERS OF THE SOCIETY OF JESUS in the Archbishop’s Residence in Québec|
|10:45||MEETING WITH A DELEGATION OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES IN QUÉBEC in the Archbishop’s Residence in Québec||Greetings of the Holy Father|
|12:45||Departure by airplane from Québec International Airport to Iqaluit|
|15:50||Arrival at Iqaluit Airport|
|16:15||PRIVATE MEETING WITH STUDENTS OF THE FORMER RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS in the primary school in Iqaluit|
|17:00||MEETING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE AND ELDERS in the primary school square in Iqaluit||Address of the Holy Father|
|18:15||FAREWELL CEREMONY at Iqaluit Airport|
|18:45||Departure by airplane from Iqaluit Airport to Rome|
|Saturday, 30 July 2022 ROME|
|07:50||Arrival at Rome/Fiumicino International Airport|
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