'Penitential pilgrimage' takes pontiff to Canada's only national Indigenous church - ednews.net

28 January, Saturday

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'Penitential pilgrimage' takes pontiff to Canada's only national Indigenous church

Pope decries 'betrayal of trust' by Catholic priests, nuns

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After apologizing Monday afternoon for the role priests and nuns played in abusing children at Canadian residential schools, Pope Francis took his message to parishioners in a Catholic Church the same evening.
 
Not all those at the Edmonton church service were locals though, as members of the country's three Indigenous groups -- Metis, Inuit and First Nations -- traveled considerable distances to attend the historic event, including from Manitoba, the Northwest Territories and Saskatchewan.
 
With some survivors of the residential school atrocities in the pews, the pontiff spoke of the "painful wounds" inflicted by the priests and nuns and the "betrayal of trust" committed by them.
 
"In the name of Jesus, may this never happen again in the church," he said.
 
The Sacred Heart Church of the First Peoples is significant, as it is the lone church in Canada that blends traditional liturgies and Indigenous rituals. It also has the four poles of the traditional dwelling of First Nations, a teepee, over the altar. In 1991, Sacred Heart was designated as "Canada's National Indigenous Church."
 
The pope arrived in Canada for a six-day visit to further the church's reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. About 150,000 Indigenous children were forced to attend one of 139 Indian Residential Schools beginning in the 1820s, with the last one closing in the 1990s.
 
Students were in a significant number of instances subjected to physical, psychological and sexual abuse, and along with disease, as many as 6,000 died. The pope's "penitential pilgrimage" is to say, on Canadian soil, that he apologizes for the abuses.
 
On Tuesday, the pope will join a pilgrimage to Lac Ste. Anne, a lake which is considered sacred.


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