The Vatican called the trip a “missing pilgrimage,” and the pope was welcomed in Edmonton on Sunday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canadian Governor General Mary Simon.
While in the country he will meet with tribal groups and address abuses in the country’s residential schools and scandals that destroy tribal culture.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada reported that more than 4,000 aboriginals died as a result of neglect or abuse in residential schools, many of which were run by the Catholic Church.
In April, the pope told tribal leaders at the Vatican that “many Catholics, especially those in academic responsibilities, feel remorse and shame for the role they played in the abuses you suffered, in all these things that hurt you.” Your identity, your culture and even your spiritual values are not respected.”
During this trip, the Pope will also visit Quebec, the capital of Nunavut, Canada, and Iqaluit. Two Canadian cardinals will accompany him throughout his visit, Cardinal Mark Olette and Cardinal Michael Czerny.
Francis, 85, canceled a trip to Africa earlier this month due to knee problems.
“I want to go, I can go to Ukraine. First I want to go to Russia and try to help, but I want to go to both capitals,” Francis said.
In a June interview with Italian newspaper La Stampa, Francis said the war “may have been provoked in some way or not prevented.”
Pope Francis said he met with “a head of state who is very concerned about how NATO is moving” before Russia invaded Ukraine.
CNN’s Hada Mesia and Ratina Zikova contributed reporting.
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