Pope holds giant public mass at Edmonton football stadium

(UPDATE: July 26 at 10:33 a.m.): Pope Francis spoke about the importance of grandparents and the elderly as thousands gathered for a public mass at the Edmonton football stadium on Tuesday, a day after the pontiff apologized for the abuses committed in the Catholic boarding schools.

Francis prayed for “a future in which the history of violence and marginalization suffered by our Indigenous brothers and sisters will never be repeated.”

“Little and big, grandparents and grandchildren, all together. Let’s move forward together, and together, let’s dream.”

About 65,000 free tickets were available for Mass at Commonwealth Stadium, but many rows of seats were empty, especially in the upper decks. Organizers estimated that there were around 50,000 people in attendance.

Francis blessed and kissed the babies and young children presented to him as he walked through the stadium ahead of the service.

He stood in the popemobile as it slowly circled the football field. Cheers came from the bleachers and a group of native drummers played for his arrival.

Indigenous participation was incorporated in various ways throughout the Mass. However, Francis did not speak much about Indigenous peoples, cultures or traditions throughout the event.

<qui> Photo credit: Canadian Press” src=”https://www.kelownanow.com/files/files/images/poep23.png” style=”margin: 5px;”/></p>
<p>At one point during the blessing of the Eucharist, a person shouted “abrogate the Doctrine of Discovery” – papal documents used in colonization. </p>
<p>Towards the end of the Mass, Archbishop of Edmonton Richard Smith thanked Francis for having kept his promise “to come to Canada and thus demonstrate your closeness to all of us, in particular to the First Nations, the Métis and the Inuit of this land”. </p>
<p>Edith Didzena held up a photo of her mother, Regina Etthidzine, as she sat in the stadium with her children.  Didzena, who lives in Bushe River on Dene Tha’ First Nation in Alberta, said her mother went to residential school but died before she could hear the pope’s apology.</p>
<p>Acknowledging past wrongdoings doesn’t erase what happened, Didzena said, but it does help start healing.</p>
<p>“It just helps me cope because I lost my language and my culture. Even though I didn’t go to boarding school, I was affected by it,” she said.</p>
<p>On Monday, during a visit to the community of Maskwacis, south of Edmonton, the Pope apologized to residential school survivors and their families for the role played by members of the Church in the cultural destruction and destruction forced assimilation of indigenous peoples. </p>
<p>“In the face of this deplorable evil, the church kneels before God and asks his forgiveness for the sins of her children…I humbly ask forgiveness for the evil committed by so many Christians against the indigenous peoples,” Francis said.</p>
<p>The pontiff also said there must be a serious investigation into what happened and called the overall effects of the policy “catastrophic”.</p>
<p>Patty Crofton, a member of the Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba, said she didn’t sleep well after hearing the apology because it brought back difficult memories.  She went to day school and her parents went to boarding schools. </p>
<p>“I’m on my own healing journey from all of this,” she said before mass. </p>
<p>Crofton said she doesn’t fully accept the apology.  It didn’t seem to come from the pope’s heart, she said, because it was a prepared speech. </p>
<p>Organizers said it was appropriate not to hold a Mass until the second full day of the papal visit because Francis wanted to demonstrate that his priority was first to address the legacy of residential schools on Indigenous lands.</p>
<p>At the end of Tuesday’s mass, the stadium crowd erupted in applause. </p>
<p>Tuesday is the feast day of Saint Anne, who was the grandmother of Jesus.  It is a day of special reverence for Indigenous Catholics. </p>
<p>Later in the day, Francis was to go to Lac Ste.  Anne, northwest of Edmonton, to participate in the community’s annual pilgrimage, which regularly welcomes tens of thousands of Aboriginal participants.</p>
<p>Métis Nation of Alberta President Audrey Poitras said she was honored to welcome Francis to the site, which is considered sacred.  But, Poitras said, words and apologies are not enough. </p>
<p>“We hope that by feeling the spirit of the Métis, so deeply connected to a place so sacred to the church, it will lead to real action and accountability, so that we, as a people, can focus on healing,” she said in a statement.  . </p>
<p>Later in the week, Francis will travel to Quebec for meetings with Aboriginal peoples and to animate another mass.  He must also go to Iqaluit. </p>
<p>The Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program has a telephone helpline to help residential school survivors and their loved ones suffering from trauma invoked by the memory of past abuse.  The number is 1-866-925-4419.</p>
<hr/>
<p><strong>(Original story: July 26 at 5:35 a.m.)</strong>: Pope Francis blessed babies and young children handed to him as he walked through Edmonton’s football stadium on Tuesday ahead of a public mass.</p>
<p>The pontiff stood in the popemobile as it slowly circled the Commonwealth Stadium, with thousands of people in the stands.  Cheers came from the bleachers and a group of native drummers played for his arrival. </p>
<p>Francis is set to address Indigenous groups, residential and day school survivors, elders, knowledge keepers and Catholics during the approximately hour-long Mass.</p>
<p>Organizers said the event takes place on the feast day of Saint Anne, believed by some to be Jesus’ grandmother.  It is a day of special reverence for Indigenous Catholics. </p>
<p>Later in the day, the pontiff is expected to visit Lac Ste.  Anne, northwest of Edmonton, to participate in the community’s annual pilgrimage, which regularly welcomes tens of thousands of Aboriginal participants.</p>
<p><img alt= Photo credit: Canadian Press” src=”https://www.kelownanow.com/files/files/images/1d2rr334.png” style=”margin: 5px;”/>

Edith Didzena held up a photo of her mother, Regina Etthidzine, as she sat in the stadium with her children. Didzena, who lives in Bushe River in Alberta’s Dene Tha’ First Nation, said her mother went to residential school but died before she could hear the Pope’s historic apology for the role of the Roman Catholic Church. in institutions.

Acknowledging past wrongdoings doesn’t erase what happened, Didzena said, but it does help start healing.

“It just helps me cope because I lost my language and my culture. Even though I didn’t go to boarding school, I was affected by it,” she said.

The Pope’s second full day of events comes a day after he apologized to residential school survivors and their families for the role the Church played in the cultural destruction and forced assimilation of Indigenous peoples.

At an event in the community of Maskwacis, south of Edmonton, Francis asked for forgiveness for the evil acts committed by members of the Catholic Church.

“In the face of this deplorable evil, the church kneels before God and asks his forgiveness for the sins of her children…I humbly ask forgiveness for the evil committed by so many Christians against the indigenous peoples,” Francis said Monday. through an interpreter at the community powwow grounds.

For survivor Evelyn Korkmaz, the apology left her wanting more.

She said the Vatican must hand over the documents it has regarding the identity of the students who visited the institutions.

“It would give closure to their families (and) loved ones. Everyone needs closure to heal and move on,” she said.

Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation Leader Tony Alexis said the apology opened wounds that couldn’t stay open.

“You can’t just say I’m sorry and walk away. There has to be effort. There has to be work and more meaningful action behind it.”

The pontiff said asking for forgiveness is the first step and that there must be a serious investigation into what happened. He also called the overall effects of residential school policies “catastrophic.”

Organizers said they are holding a mass on a dad’s second day; visit is remarkable, but Francis wanted to demonstrate that his priority was to address the legacy of the residential school system and Indigenous peoples on their lands.

Tuesday’s Mass is expected to draw nearly 70,000 people and a team of 460 priests and 56 deacons are to offer Holy Communion. The Mass should continue the Pope’s message of healing and reconciliation.

Later in the week, Francis must go to Quebec for meetings with the native peoples and to animate another mass. He must also go to Iqaluit.

The Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program has a telephone helpline to help residential school survivors and their loved ones suffering from trauma invoked by the memory of past abuse. The number is 1-866-925-4419.

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