Pope Francis will be touring Canada this summer, visiting Edmonton, Quebec City and Iqaluit at the end of July to tackle the role of the Catholic Church in Canada’s housing school system.
The Vatican City confirmed the visit in a statement on May 13, stating that details of the trip will be announced in the coming weeks.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau statement The visit was an “important and necessary” step towards reconciliation.
Trudeau then reiterated the government’s commitment to carry out the call for action issued by the Truth Commission.
“We will continue to support First Nations, Inuit and Metis by investing in efforts to identify and recover those who have never returned,” he said.
The trip, which runs from July 24th to July 30th, will be hosted by the Catholic Synod of Canada (CCCB) and Archbishop Richard Smith will be appointed as the general coordinator of the visit.
In the announcement, the CCCB decided on the location and duration of the trip in consideration of the Pope’s health and the associated mobility issues, and the chosen location has important indigenous peoples and history related to the focus of his visit. Said.
The controversial housing school in Canada was a government-sponsored program established with the support of the Catholic Church to assimilate indigenous peoples into Canadian society and culture. Between 1930 and 1996, there are 130 housing schools operating in Canada, attended by an estimated 150,000 children.
According to the TRC, testimony at the Truth Commission with former students alleges cases of physical and sexual abuse and unhealthy living conditions that could have led to the deaths of 3,200 students.
In April, an indigenous delegation from Canada visited the Vatican to meet with the Pope and discuss what happened at school. At this meeting, the Pope announced an official apology for the role of the Catholic Church in the housing school system.
He said the program severely damaged the culture and identity of indigenous peoples, and their heritage caused lasting damage to the community.