A plane carrying Pope Francis left Edmonton on Wednesday morning heading to Quebec City to begin the next leg of what he has described as his “penitential” journey in Canada.
The pontiff is scheduled to have separate meetings with Gov. Gen. Mary Simon and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Citadelle of Québec, then give a public address with Simon.
The Pope is to next travel to the Plains of Abraham in Quebec’s capital for a tour among people who have gathered.
The events in Quebec are pushed back an hour after a separate flight carrying Indigenous leaders, who are invited to the Citadelle, and organizers was delayed.
The Pope is then to go to the residence of the Archbishop of Quebec, where he plans to stay during his time in the province.
On Thursday, Francis is to hold a mass at the National Shrine of Ste. Anne de Beaupré, east of the city, then attend vespers with church officials at the Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Quebec.
On Friday, he is to make a brief stop in Iqaluit before heading home to the Vatican.
The Alberta portion of the Pope’s journey included a visit to the Indigenous community of Maskwacis, south of Edmonton.
Standing there before residential school survivors and Indigenous leaders, he apologized for abuses at the institutions, most of which were run by the Roman Catholic Church.
Francis also led an outdoor public mass at Edmonton’s football stadium, which some criticized as too traditional.
He later joined a pilgrimage at Lac Ste. Anne, northwest of Edmonton — a place of spiritual significance for many Indigenous Catholics that is thought to have healing properties. Francis blessed the lake and sprinkled some of its water on people in the crowd.
The Pope’s Twitter account posted Tuesday, after the visit to the pilgrimage site, that “as a Church, all of us need to be healed from the temptation of choosing to defend the institution rather than seeking the truth.”
“With God’s help, let us contribute to the building up of a Mother Church that is pleasing to Him. #IndigenousPeoples #Canada.”
Brittany Hobson, The Canadian Press