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Pope Francis to visit Canada as reconciliation gesture to indigenous peoples

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Pope Francis has accepted an invitation from Canadian bishops to visit the country on a “pilgrimage of healing and reconciliation” after hundreds of bodies were discovered on the grounds of former church-operated schools for indigenous children this summer.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops announced Wednesday that Pope Francis would visit Canada as the Catholic Church reckons with its treatment of indigenous children at state-funded, church-run boarding schools during the 20th Century. Though the CCCB and the pope have not yet released a timeline for his visit, it will not occur until after a delegation of indigenous Canadians visits the Vatican in December.

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“The Bishops of Canada have been engaged in meaningful discussions with Indigenous Peoples, especially those affected by Residential Schools who have shared stories about the suffering and challenges that they continue to experience,” said CCCB President Bishop Raymond Poisson. “We pray that Pope Francis’ visit to Canada will be a significant milestone in the journey toward reconciliation and healing.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in July that Pope Francis owes an apology to the indigenous people of Canada and that he should make it on Canadian soil.

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In June, a Canadian tribe said investigators found over 600 bodies on the site of Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan. In May, 200 bodies were found at another school. The graves appeared to have been individually marked when the bodies were buried.

"I join with the Catholic Church in Canada in expressing closeness to the Canadian people traumatized by the shocking news," Pope Francis said this summer. "This sad discovery increases the awareness of the sorrows and sufferings of the past."

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Tags: News, Pope Francis, Canada, Native Americans, Catholic Church

Original Author: Virginia Aabram

Original Location: Pope Francis to visit Canada as reconciliation gesture to indigenous peoples

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