Last week, the Holy Father visited Canada on a ‘penitential pilgrimage’ in which he apologised to the native peoples for generations of abuse and cultural suppression at Catholic residential schools across Canada. Here, we adapt a Vatican News report about the visit. Click on the picture to hear a short message from Cardinal Michael Czerny, Prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, about the healing that the Pope hopes his visit will have brought.
Pope Francis returned to the Vatican on Saturday after an Apostolic Visit to Canada that took him to Edmonton, Quebec City and Iqaluit. During his six-day “penitential pilgrimage,” the Pope met with residential school survivors and Indigenous leaders. He also apologised for the “evil committed by so many Christians against the indigenous peoples. Travelling with Pope Francis was Cardinal Michael Czerny, Prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, who described the visit as one that inspired healing and reconciliation. “A highlight was a woman who shared the inspiration of part of the Our Father which says, ‘forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.’ She said today was the day in which the creator inspired her to be able to pray that part of the prayer,” he said. The Cardinal also shone a light on the cultural moments of the trip, which he noted “gave an anticipatory sign of the Indigenous culture being integrated into the larger Canadian culture.” Cardinal Czerny observed that it is going to take time to achieve true healing but he added, “It’s a sign of learning indeed to walk together which we have not done very well until now.”