Members of the Métis National Council gave Pope Francis a set of beaded moccasins and asked him to walk with them on the path of truth, justice and healing of Canada’s Indigenous communities and their relationship with the Catholic Church, said Cassidy Caron, president of the council.
Beginning March 28, residential school survivors, Indigenous elders and youth will meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican as a prelude to a papal trip to Canada. The Indigenous want an apology, on Canadian soil, for historic abuses they suffered at government-owned residential schools, many of which were run by the Catholic Church.
Pope Francis is willing to travel to Canada as part of “the long-standing pastoral process of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples,” the Vatican press office said.
In response to a late June announcement, the United States will be conducting an investigation of former federally funded boarding schools to search for graves of Native American children, a spokesperson for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said June 28 the bishops will “look for ways to be of assistance.”
Two more Catholic churches on First Nations land have been destroyed by fire, while fire damaged an Anglican church on First Nations land in northern British Columbia. Police are calling all the blazes “suspicious.”
A delegation of Indigenous people from Canada will meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican before the end of the year, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops said.
Pope Francis led hundreds of pilgrims and visitors in St. Peter’s Square in a moment of silent prayer for the Indigenous children who died in Canadian residential schools and for their grieving families.
Archbishop J. Michael Miller of Vancouver said he was “filled with deep sadness” after learning of the discovery of the bodies of more than 200 children buried on the site of what was once Canada’s large Indigenous residential school.