Pray, Watch, Reflect: Walking Together
As we welcome Pope Francis to Canada, all are invited to participate in this historic journey.
In addition to television coverage of papal events, visit: www.papalvisit.ca to access more than 10 livestream links of coverage featuring interpretation in many languages and livestream links from Vatican TV.
Salt + Light Catholic Media Foundation has a dedicated site for information and broadcast details for the papal visit: https://slmedia.org/popeincanada (English) or https://slmedia.org/fr/papeaucanada (French).
Novalis has also produced a digital resource that includes texts for all the liturgies presided by Pope Francis, prayers as well as reflections on the significance of the Papal Visit. To download the resource, visit: www.livingwithchrist.ca (English) or www.prionseneglise.ca (French).
We invite you to pray for the Holy Father and all those involved in this historic journey of healing, reconciliation, and hope.
Your generosity is needed to support the Holy Father’s pilgrimage of penance. Give Now to support this historic Papal visit.
Highlights of the program announced by the Vatican include:
July 24, 2022
The Holy Father will arrive in Edmonton, Alberta on July 24th. Following a brief airport ceremony, the 85-year-old pontiff will take the remainder of the day to rest.
July 25, 2022
On July 25th, Pope Francis will visit Maskwacis, home to the former Ermineskin Residential School, one of the largest residential school sites in Canada. The Holy Father will join former residential school students from across the country as part of a formal program. Alberta is home to the largest number of former residential schools in Canada.
Later in the day, the pontiff will visit Sacred Heart Church of the First Peoples, a National Indigenous church in downtown Edmonton. Following extensive restoration after a devastating fire in 2020, the parish will re-open its doors after using a nearby school the last several years to offer hospitality, spiritual care and supportive outreach programs serving a diverse urban Indigenous community. This will be an invitation-only event.
July 26th is the feast of St. Anne, grandmother of Jesus, a day of particular reverence for Indigenous Catholics and often the focus of pilgrimage in various parts of the country. In an event that will be open to the public, the Holy Father will celebrate an open-air Mass at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton. The facility can accommodate up to 65,000 attendees for a program that will incorporate Indigenous traditions as part of the gathering.
In the early evening, the Holy Father will travel to Lac Ste. Anne, the site of an annual pilgrimage that welcomes tens of thousands of Indigenous participants from throughout Canada and the United States each year. Programming will be offered throughout the day leading up to the Holy Father’s participation in a prayer service.
July 27, 2022
The Holy Father will depart Edmonton for Quebec City. Upon arrival, the Pontiff will visit La Citadelle, where he will take part in private meetings. Pope Francis, as both a spiritual leader and head of state, will also offer a public address. For events in Quebec City, the public is also invited to participate at a dedicated area on the Plains of Abraham, where there will be opportunities on July 27 and 28 for Indigenous cultural expression as well as the chance to view papal events on large screens. The detailed program of activities on the Plains is being developed with Indigenous and community partners.
July 28, 2022
Pope Francis will travel to Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, where he will celebrate Mass at one of the oldest and most popular pilgrimage sites in North America, drawing more than a million visitors to the site (including annual Indigenous pilgrimages) each year. Organizers anticipate between 10,000 and 15,000 guests may attend with space for guests both inside and outside the basilica.
Later in the day, His Holiness will meet with bishops, priests, seminarians, consecrated men and women as well as those who work in various church ministries, as is customary with most papal visits. The pope will have the remainder of the evening for rest while a dinner focused on friendship and ongoing dialogue will bring together Indigenous leaders from Eastern Canada and representatives of the Catholic Bishops of Canada.
July 29, 2022
Following a private meeting with members of his own religious order (Society of Jesus), Pope Francis will meet with Indigenous leaders from Eastern Canada before departing for Iqaluit, where he will spend the afternoon in a private meeting with residential school survivors before attending a public community event hosted by Inuit.
The Holy Father will depart for Rome from Iqaluit in the early evening.
The Holy Father’s pilgrimage will focus on Indigenous healing and reconciliation while also providing the shepherd of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics an opportunity to encounter the faithful in Canada. Due to his advanced age and limitations, it is expected that participation by Pope Francis at public events will be limited to approximately one hour.
The visit, drawing on the theme of “Walking Together”, will include a combination of public and private events, with an emphasis on Indigenous participation throughout the visit. Ticketing (free) for public events will be announced in the coming days. A volunteer portal can be accessed at papalvisit.ca or visitepapale.ca for those wishing to share their time and talents as part of the historic visit.
On May 13, the Vatican formally announced that Pope Francis will travel to Canada from July 24 – 29, 2022. The historic visit, focused on Indigenous Healing and Reconciliation, will be the fourth papal journey to Canada and the first since Saint John Paul II’s visit in 2002.
Bishop Raymond Poisson, President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) welcomed the formal confirmation of the visit on behalf of Canada’s Catholic Bishops:
“We are immensely grateful that the Holy Father has accepted our invitation to continue the journey of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples of this land. In late July, Pope Francis will have the opportunity to visit Indigenous peoples here in their homeland, as he promised when he met them recently in Rome. We pray for the health of the Holy Father as we undertake the intensive planning for this historic visit.”
On April 1, 2022, Pope Francis apologized for the Catholic Church’s role in Canada’s residential school system. The Holy Father expressed “sorrow and shame” for the abuse and lack of respect for Indigenous identities, culture and spiritual values in the residential school system.
The Holy Father’s apology was informed by private encounters between March 28th and April 1st with 32 Indigenous Elders, knowledge keepers, residential school survivors and youth representing the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), the Métis National Council (MNC), and the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK).
Given the vast landscape of Canada, the limited time period for the visit and considering the health of the 85 year-old Pontiff, the Vatican has announced that Pope Francis will adopt only three communities as a base for his Canadian visit: Edmonton, Quebec City, and Iqaluit. The locations will limit travel for the Holy Father while still allowing an opportunity for both intimate and public encounters, drawing on participation from all regions of the country.
Edmonton is home to the 2nd largest number of Indigenous people living in urban Canadian centres. In addition, 25 residential schools were located in Alberta, the most of any province or territory in Canada.
Iqaluit, with close to 8,000 people, is home to the highest population of Inuit (3,900) of all Canadian cities with more than 5,000 people. Pope Francis was personally invited by Inuit delegates to visit the North during their meetings in March.
Quebec City provides an eastern hub for those who may wish to travel to see Pope Francis, especially Indigenous Peoples of the East. The region is also home to Ste. Anne-de-Beaupré, one of the oldest and most popular pilgrimage sites in North America, drawing Indigenous Peoples and others from throughout Canada and around the world each year.
While dates and general locations have been confirmed by the Vatican, specific sites and a formal program will be developed in dialogue with Indigenous partners at the local and national level. Given the focus on Indigenous healing and reconciliation, the Holy Father is expected to visit the site of a former residential school and other locations of particular significance.
Typically, six to eight weeks prior to a papal visit, a full program and itinerary are released by the Vatican. At that time, the public will have an opportunity to learn more about how they may participate in the numerous events and related activity for the papal visit, along with volunteer opportunities and other relevant details.
The CCCB has appointed Archbishop Richard Smith as General Co-ordinator for the Papal Visit, to guide this immense undertaking on behalf of the Canadian Bishops. As Archbishop of Edmonton, the archbishop also accompanied Indigenous delegates to the Vatican earlier this year and has long-standing relationships with Indigenous leaders.
Archbishop Smith commented on the appointment: “I am humbled to serve as General Co-ordinator for this historic visit from Pope Francis. I look forward to working with Indigenous Peoples from across this land as well as local, provincial and federal partners as we prepare to welcome the Holy Father and continue to walk together on this important healing and reconciliation journey.”