By Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops communication staff
[Ottawa ] – This weekend, a delegation of 32 Indigenous Elders, knowledge keepers, residential school survivors, and youth will journey together from across the country to meet with Pope Francis from March 28 from April 1.
These delegates, who were selected in collaboration with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), the Métis National Council (MNC), and the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), bring a depth of lived experience and insight on the legacy of residential schools and the impacts of colonialism, with many directly engaged in the ongoing journey of healing and reconciliation.
Delegate names have been published by the AFN (link to list) and the MNC (link to list) respectively. The ITK, after consulting with delegates, has opted not to publish a full list of names, although representatives will participate in a media briefing on March 28.
“As Canadian bishops, we are grateful to these delegates for walking with us on this journey and to Pope Francis for his attention to their suffering and his deeply-held commitment to social justice,” said CCCB President, Bishop Raymond Poisson.
The Indigenous delegations will be accompanied on the journey to Rome by the following Bishops who have led the CCCB’s planning efforts to date:
- CCCB President, Bishop Raymond Poisson, Diocese of Saint-Jérôme, Québec
- CCCB Vice-President, Bishop William T. McGrattan, Diocese of Calgary, Alberta
- Archbishop Richard Smith, Archdiocese of Edmonton, Alberta
- Archbishop Donald Bolen, Archdiocese of Regina, Saskatchewan
- Archbishop Richard Gagnon, Archdiocese of Winnipeg, Manitoba
- Bishop Anthony Krótki, Diocese of Churchill-Hudson Bay, will also accompany the Inuit delegates to Rome.
“We expect that these private encounters will allow the Holy Father to meaningfully address both the ongoing trauma and legacy of suffering faced by Indigenous Peoples to this day, as well as the role of the Catholic Church in the residential school system, which contributed to the suppression of Indigenous languages, culture and spirituality.”
Bishop Mark Hagemoen calls for Day of Prayer in RC Diocese of Saskatoon – LETTER: “We all join in prayer and solidarity for God’s abundant blessings on the meeting of Indigenous delegates with Pope Francis.”
2 p.m. Sunday, March 27 – Mass at Queen’s House of Retreat and Renewal, 601 Taylor St. W. Saskatoon
3 p.m. – 6 p.m. Monday, March 28 – Prayers at the Cathedral of the Holy Family, 123 Nelson Road, Saskatoon; at St. Mary Parish, 20th St. W and Ave. O. S, at Holy Spirit Parish, 114 Kingsmere Pl, Saskatoon; as well as at Queen’s House.
March 29-April 1 – Prayers continue at Queen’s House at various times.
Individual meetings and relating media briefings will each include representatives from the relevant Indigenous delegation and the CCCB. The schedule can be summarized as follows:
- Métis delegates: Private encounter with Pope Francis at 10 a.m. on Monday, March 28. Media briefing will follow at 3 p.m. (Central European Standard Time)
- Inuit delegates: Private encounter with Pope Francis at 11 a.m. on Monday, March 28. Media briefing will follow at 4 p.m. (Central European Standard Time)
- First Nations delegates: Private encounter with Pope Francis at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 31. Media briefing will follow at 3 p.m. (Central European Standard Time)
The delegation will conclude with a final audience with Pope Francis on April 1, 2022 at 12 p.m. ( Central European Standard Time), whereby the official delegates will be joined by a larger group of Indigenous Peoples from across the country. The audience will provide an opportunity for the Holy Father to publicly respond after listening intently to delegates throughout the week. A media briefing will follow at 3:30 p.m. (Central European Standard Time).
The final audience, in addition to all press briefings, will be live-streamed and a pool feed will be available to accredited media.
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) is the national assembly of the Bishops of Canada. It was founded in 1943 and officially recognized by the Holy See in 1948.