Pope Francis’ visit to Canada at the end of July is complicated by concerns over his knee. He has been in a wheelchair for a few days and struggles to climb stairs.
“We will have to see how it evolves, for the choice of places that will be visited,” explains Raymond Poisson, bishop of Saint-Jérôme and president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. “He is in good shape, but he has had back pain and more recently knee problems. He canceled a visit to Lebanon, maybe he’s going to have treatment. »
The pope will also visit Central Africa in early July. “It’s a busy month for a pope, especially since summer is usually a month of rest at the Castel Gandolfo summer residence,” said Philippe Vaillancourt, founder of the religious information site Présence.
In Quebec, the pope will go to the cathedral and to Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré for the feast of Saint Anne, the grandmother of Jesus. “It’s a very important holiday for Aboriginal people,” says Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, Archbishop of Quebec. “The figure of the grandmother is important in Aboriginal cultures, and in our culture as well. » Is a visit to Wendake planned? “It will depend on his knee”, answers Mgr The cross.
Roger Twance, an Ojibwe who is a doorman at the Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes chapel in the Latin Quarter, and organizes masses for Aboriginals in Montreal, will try to travel to Quebec for the pope’s mass. “I know people in Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, I should be able to participate in the celebration,” said Mr. Twance.
The visit will be coordinated by the Archbishop of Edmonton, Richard Smith. “He’s more conservative, but has been more active in building ties with Indigenous communities,” says Vaillancourt. Will this come to tint the trip? Smith tends to cherish secrecy in the Church, and one can wonder about the place of French. »
After Quebec, François will go to Edmonton, where visits are planned to a shrine of Sainte-Anne at the lake of the same name as well as to a reserve near the Alberta capital. He will also travel to Iqaluit, making him the most northerly traveled pope. John Paul II visited Anchorage, Alaska in 1981.
François came to Quebec several times, the last time before his papal election in 2008 for the Eucharistic Congress. “He hadn’t really struck the imagination, he doesn’t speak French and English very well,” notes Mr. Vaillancourt. He also went on several occasions to an important Jesuit residence in Lafontaine, near Saint-Jérôme, for retreats. “When I met the Pope and told him that I was Bishop of Saint-Jérôme, he told me that he knew the city well,” Ms.gr Fish.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement that “although His Holiness issued an apology in Rome last month, a formal in-person apology in Canada from the Roman Catholic Church to Survivors and their families would follow up on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action 58”.
The Anglican leader too
In late April and early May, the great patron of the Church of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, also visited Canada, where he met with indigenous people and asked forgiveness for the role of Anglicans in the management of Native boarding schools. But the visit received far less coverage than that of the Aboriginals at the Vatican in early April, and only by English-language media. Anglicans were responsible for a quarter of the schools, a proportion that climbed to half in the Arctic. “It’s a rather surprising silence,” says Gilles Routhier. Mgr Welby stopped in Saskatchewan and Ontario and did not go to the Arctic.