This afternoon Pope Francis held a new meeting with the indigenous peoples of Canada, in which he gave a message of reconciliation and underlined the need to “start afresh” by looking together at Christ crucified.
“I understand the weariness to see any prospect of reconciliation in someone who has suffered tremendously because of men and women who had to bear witness to the Christian life. Nothing can erase the violated dignity, the evil suffered, the trust betrayed”, said the Holy Father, on the second day of his apostolic trip to Canada, this July 25, to the members of the parish community of the Church of the Sacred Heart from the city of Edmonton, located in the west of the country.
“And the shame of us believers must never be erased either. But it is need to start over”, he added.
Pope Francis later said that “Jesus does not offer us words and good intentions, but the cross, that scandalous love that lets nails pierce its feet and wrists and pierce its head with thorns. This is the direction to follow, look together at Christ, love betrayed and crucified for us; see Jesus crucified in so many residential school students.”
This Monday, July 25, the Pope visited the city of Edmonton to meet with several indigenous leaders who visited him in Rome a few months ago and who represent the survivors of abuse in residential and Catholic schools in Canada.
At around 4:45 pm (local time), Pope Francis arrived at the parish and was greeted by the parish priest, Fr. Susai Jesu, and entered accompanied by the sound of drums.
After words of welcome from the parish priest, the testimony of two parishioners and the interpretation of an indigenous song, the Pope began his speech focused on reconciliation.
“If we want to reconcile among ourselves and within ourselves, reconcile ourselves with the past, with the injustices suffered and the wounded memory, with traumatic events that no human consolation can heal, we must look up to Jesus crucifiedyou have to obtain peace at its altar”, he reiterated.
The Holy Father explained that it is “on the cross where pain turns into lovedeath in life, disappointment in hope, abandonment in communion, distance in unity”.
“Reconciliation is not so much our work, it is a gift that springs from the Crucified, it is peace that comes from the Heart of Jesus, it is a grace that must be asked for”.
Pope Francis also recalled that “the Church is the house where to reconcile again, where to meet to begin again and grow together”.
“It is the place where you stop thinking as individuals to recognize each other as brothers looking into each other’s eyes, embracing the stories and culture of the other, letting the mystique of being together so pleasing to the Holy Spirit favor the healing of wounded memory,” he said. .
The Pope assured that this “is the Church” true, and “not a set of ideas and precepts to instill in people, but a welcoming home for all.”
“This is the Church – and I wish it were always like this – a temple with its doors always open where all of us, living temples of the Spirit, meet, serve and reconcile,” he added.
He also said that while “gestures and visits can be important,” “most of the words and activities of reconciliation happen at the local level, in communities like this one, where people and families walk side by side, day after day”.
“Praying together, helping together, sharing life stories, joys and common struggles opens the door to God’s reconciling work,” he assured.
Then, after the recitation of the Our Father and the final blessing, Pope Francis greeted some of the faithful and, at the exit, blessed the statue of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, the first North American indigenous woman proclaimed a saint by the Catholic Church.
At the end of the meeting, Pope Francis returned to St. Joseph Seminary to rest.
The Holy Father will be in Canada until July 30. In the following days he will visit Quebec and Iqaluit.