Pope Francis has expressed a "willingness" to visit Canada, in the "context of the long-standing pastoral process of reconciliation with indigenous peoples," read a statement from the Vatican. No date has been set for the visit.
In a separate statement, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops says they invited Pope Francis to visit. This December, a delegation of residential school survivors, Elders, knowledge keepers, and youth will meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican. It is expected some of the details and planning for the Pope's visit to Canada will be worked out at that time.
The visit comes at a time when there is significant attention to the legacy of residential schools in Canada. Over the last several months, mass unmarked graves have been discovered at the former sites of many residential schools, while more Indigenous communities are searching other sites. The Catholic church ran a significant number of residential schools in Canada. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has apologized for their role in the residential school system. To date, the Vatican has not apologized.
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