Pope Francis was in Edmonton, Alberta for a series of events intended to help the process of reconciliation for Indigenous communities culminating in a Mass at Commonwealth Stadium where over 60,000 were expected to attend. Francis has stated that he hopes his visit to Canada will result in healing for those who were subjected to the residential school system.
While many were unsure whether they felt the papal visit would garner meaningful healing, and some criticized the immensity and pomp of the visit, most were in fact not upset with Pope Francis and believed that his efforts to cross the ocean as an 85-year-old in poor health testified on some level that this was in intention at least a heartfelt effort at apology and reconciliation.
Despite the widespread vandalisms and arsons that churches endured across Canada following the reports of discovered ‘mass graves’, most of which have now been soundly debunked, the Pope’s visit has been resoundingly peaceful. There have been no notable protests and no organized opposition of any sort in Edmonton.
Throughout the visit we had the opportunity to speak with people who shared that while they appreciate the effort to apologize, meaningful action to address current issues faced by Indigenous communities would do more to prove an authentic change of heart than an apology tour focused entirely on the past. You can see our coverage of one of Pope Francis’ stops at a Indigenous church named Sacred Heart where we discussed some of these issues here.
Outside of Commonwealth Stadium we spoke with people who survived the residential school system, the children of survivors and people attending Mass to get their reactions on the papal visit.
For all our coverage of Pope Francis’ visit, and for real conversations about the issues that matter surrounding Indigenous issues, be sure to visit PopeReports.com. This is also the spot to chip in if you want to help cover the extensive costs associated with covering this historic event.