By Michael Swan, The Catholic Register
[Vatican City – Canadian Catholic News] – Led by two fiddlers playing the Red River Jig to the amazement of tourists, Métis delegates skirted past St. Peter’s Square on their way out from an hour-long meeting with Pope Francis before meeting the assembled press from Rome and Canada.
“He listened,” declared Metis National Council president Cassidy Carron.
In the end, Pope Francis heard from three of the nine Métis delegates who made the trip from Rome. Survivors spoke of their experience attending residential schools. The Pope listened attentively, nodding along.
Pope Francis ventured into English, a language he’s not comfortable in, to speak just three words, Cassidy said. The Pope’s words were “Truth, justice and feeling.”
“I take that as a personal commitment,” Cassidy said.
The real results of the meeting weren’t immediate and Cassidy didn’t expect they would be.
“We won’t know success until days, weeks and months to come,” Cassidy said.
With the meetings between Pope Francis and three Indigenous delegations taking place this week and a papal trip to Canada in the offing at an undetermined date, the reconciliation ball is now firmly in Canadians’ court, Cassidy said.
“I really hope that Canadians are listening and sharing,” she told reporters.
The residential school survivors’ stories were a lot for Pope Francis to take in, Cassidy said.
“It’s a lot to digest. It’s a lot to translate — to translate those words from his head to his heart,” she said.
The delegation gave hand-crafted beaded moccasins to the Pope.
“This is a symbol of him walking the journey with us,” said Caron.
The delegation reported mentioning full access to residential school records, but a more detailed request will have to wait until the meeting between Pope Francis and all the Indigenous delegations together on April 1.
The March 28 meeting started 30 minutes late, but still lasted the full, scheduled one hour.