The Latest on the Pope's visit to Canada

·6 min read

QUEBEC — Pope Francis is on a six-day tour of Canada aimed at reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples for the Roman Catholic Church's role in residential schools.

Here are the latest developments on his stops today (all times are ET):

6:40 p.m.

Pope Francis has left the Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Québec after presiding over evening prayers.

The service was his last public event of the day, and he has returned to the archbishop's residence, where he is staying while in Quebec City.

5:55 p.m.

Pope Francis, who is presiding over evening prayers in Quebec City, has acknowledged the sexual abuse inflicted on "minors and vulnerable people" for the first time since arriving in Canada.

In his homily, Francis said the Catholic Church in Canada is on a new path after being devastated by "the evil perpetrated by some of its sons and daughters.”

He said addressing sexual abuse and other such “crimes” requires “firm action" and an "irreversible commitment.”

Francis has apologized during stops in Alberta and Quebec for the role Catholic institutions played in the Indigenous residential school system but until now had not directly spoken of sexual abuse.

His homily in Quebec City also says that as part of its reconciliation efforts, the Christian community can never again be "infected" by the idea that one culture is superior to others.

5 p.m.

Pope Francis has arrived at the Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Québec, where he is presiding over evening prayers.

The service will be the Pope’s last during his Canadian tour, which wraps Friday.

The Quebec City cathedral is classified as a historic monument both provincially and nationally.

12:50 p.m.

After the mass in Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré, Pope Francis made an unscheduled stop at the Fraternité Saint-Alphonse in Quebec City.

Tour officials said the Pope was welcomed in the garden by about 50 people who use the facility, including elderly people, people suffering from various addictions and HIV/AIDS patients.

The Pope talked informally with them, listening to their stories and collecting their prayers.

11:50 a.m.

Pope Francis is heading back to Quebec City this afternoon after leading a mass in nearby Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré in the morning.

Francis is set to preside over vespers, an evening prayer service, at the Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Québec later today.

He will be joined by Canadian bishops, priests, deacons, seminarians and pastoral workers.

The mass held this morning was the Pope's second during his Canadian tour and revolved around the theme of reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.

11:30 a.m.

A reconciliation-themed mass delivered by Pope Francis has ended at the Basilica of Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré.

It was the Pope’s second mass as part of his Canadian tour.

In his homily, the pontiff highlighted the need to face one’s failures and encouraged those at the church to take a “new look at many of the events of our own history.”

11:10 a.m.

Among those attending the Pope's mass in Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré is the Munoz family from California, whose grandfather grew up near Brantford, Ont., and went to residential school in that province.

Yolanda Munoz says her grandparents only spoke of what happened once, and they aren't alive today to hear apologies.

She says the next steps for survivors and their relatives should include bringing back the bones of their children and ancestors so that they can be buried "here in the land in which they were taken."

Munoz says they're "not relics" to be kept in museums and archives.

10:35 a.m.

Pope Francis focused on the need to face one’s failures and disappointments in a homily delivered as part of a reconciliation-themed mass at the Basilica of Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré outside Quebec City.

The Pope encouraged those gathered at the church to “take a new look at many of the events of our own history.”

He noted the pilgrimage site has always held “people who refused to flee in the face of difficulties,” such as the fire that destroyed the original basilica in 1922.

The basilica now in its place was built years later.

10:05 a.m.

People briefly held up a large banner that read "Rescind the doctrine" inside the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré before a mass presided by Pope Francis.

The banner is a reference to the Doctrine of Discovery, which stems from a series of edicts, known as papal bulls, dating back to the 15th century.

Countries, including Canada, used the doctrine to justify colonizing lands considered to be uninhabited that were in fact home to Indigenous Peoples.

10 a.m.

Pope Francis's second mass of his Canadian tour has begun at the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré.

Organizers say many of the speakers who will participate in the service are from Indigenous communities.

The Pope's chasuble — the outermost garment worn by Roman Catholic priests during mass — was specially designed by a local Huron-Wendat artist.

9:40 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is mingling with the crowd at the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, where Pope Francis is set to preside over a mass.

Some are standing on pews to take photos and video of the prime minister. People have been instructed not to take photos during the service, however.

Speaking to reporters outside the shrine earlier this morning, Trudeau said he has heard from Indigenous leaders who told him they had hoped the Pope would have gone further with the apology.

But the prime minister says they nonetheless found some healing in the Pope's words.

Trudeau says there is an "awful lot of work to do" to correct the deep wounds of the past that continue to have consequences.

9:20 a.m.

Pope Francis has arrived at the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, in Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré, Que., where he is to deliver the second mass of his Canadian tour.

The pontiff waved to a cheering crowd outside the church as he made his way around the site in the popemobile. Some in the crowd chanted "Francisco" as he passed by.

Hundreds of people, most of them Indigenous, have gathered at the shrine to hear the mass.

Organizers say there are about 1400 people in the church.

The site is one of the oldest and most popular places of pilgrimage in North America and annually attracts more than one million visitors.

8:40 a.m.

Premier François Legault told reporters as he arrived at the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré that many of Quebec’s “beautiful values” come from the Catholic Church, including the value of mutual aid.

But he says the church was also involved in the residential school system, which was a dark period of Quebec and Canada’s history.

The premier says he will use his private meeting with the Pope tomorrow to ask him to hand over to Indigenous communities any documents or materials about residential schools.

8: 30 a.m.

People are gathering inside and outside the shrine at Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré, Que., ahead of a mass this morning to be led by Pope Francis.

Buses started ferrying people attending the mass to the shrine about 30 kilometres east of Quebec City before dawn.

There was a heavy police presence on the highway leading to the sacred site.

Organizers have said at least 70 per cent of the tickets for the event, both inside and outside the basilica, are reserved for Indigenous communities and residential school survivors.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 28, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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