Pope Francis left Edmonton on Wednesday morning, heading to Quebec City to begin the next leg of what he has described as his “penitential” pilgrimage in Canada.
The pontiff is scheduled to have separate meetings with Gov. Gen. Mary Simon and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Citadelle of Quebec, 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.
A separate flight carrying Indigenous leaders who were invited to the Citadelle was delayed, which led to the events in Quebec being pushed back an hour.
The Pope is scheduled to then go to the residence of the Archbishop of Quebec, where he plans to stay during his time in the province.
On Thursday, Francis will hold a mass at the National Shrine of Ste. Anne de Beaupre, 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 visiting 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.”
Also posted on his Twitter page was, “Dear Indigenous brothers and sisters, I have come here as a pilgrim also to say to you how precious you are to me and the church. May the Lord help us move forward in the healing process towards an ever more healthy and renewed future.”
The Pope is expected to hold a morning mass at the National Shrine of St. Anne de Beaupre on Thursday, July 28th.
Image Credit: Social Media (Instagram) of Pope Francis