Pope Francis will celebrate Mass in Edmonton, attend the pilgrimage to Lac Ste. Anna


WARNING: This story contains disturbing details.

After a historic apology to Indigenous peoples for the legacy of residential schools, Pope Francis will continue his pilgrimage to Canada on Tuesday.

Francis began his week-long visit with a public address in Maskwacis, Alberta, where he asked forgiveness for the role of Christians in residential schools.

On Tuesday, the pontiff will host a high outdoor mass at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, which is scheduled to begin at 9:15 a.m. MT. You can watch it live here.

Tickets for Holy Mass, which are free, are still available.

Later in the day, Francis will travel to Lac Ste. Anne. where he is expected to join thousands of worshipers on the first day of the pilgrimage.

The Lac Ste. Anne’s Pilgrimage has been taking place for over a century – although it was halted due to COVID-19 – and has long held significance for Indigenous Christians. The pope is expected to spend around an hour at the site on the first day of the four-day pilgrimage.

Francis’ participation in the proceedings is expected to begin around 5:00 p.m. MT.

CBC News will broadcast both events live here and on CBC TV, CBC News Network, the CBC News app, Gem of Radio-Canada, Youtube, CBC News Facebook, Radio-Canada Indigenous Facebook.

The pope began his visit with an apology for the action of Christians in boarding schools.

François traveled to the lands of four Cree nations to pray in a cemetery. Four chiefs then escorted the pontiff in his wheelchair to the ceremonial grounds of the powwow where he delivered a long-awaited apology and received a feathered headdress.

Francis said the forced assimilation of Indigenous peoples into Christian society destroyed their cultures, separated their families and marginalized generations in ways that are still felt today.

“I am deeply sorry,” Francis said, to cheers from school survivors and members of the Indigenous community gathered at the former residential school south of Edmonton.

The Pope said his apology is only the first step in making amends to the Indigenous peoples of Canada and that a serious investigation must be conducted into the facts of what happened in the past.

“I humbly ask forgiveness for the wrong done by so many Christians against Indigenous peoples,” Francis said near the site of the now largely demolished former Ermineskin Indian Residential School.

His words went beyond his earlier apologies for the “deplorable” acts of the missionaries and instead took responsibility for the church’s institutional cooperation with the “catastrophic” policy of assimilation, which according to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, amounted to “cultural genocide”.

More than 150,000 Indigenous children in Canada were forced to attend state-funded Christian schools from the 19th century until the 1970s in an effort to isolate them from the influence of their homes and cultures. The goal was to Christianize them and assimilate them into mainstream society, which previous Canadian governments considered superior.

Wednesday, Francis will leave Alberta for Quebec before going to Iqaluit.


Support is available to anyone affected by their residential school experience or recent reports.

A National Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line has been established to provide support to former students and those affected. People can access emotional referral and crisis services by calling the 24-hour National Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419.

Mental health counseling and crisis support is also available 24/7 through the Hope for Wellness Helpline at 1-855-242-3310 or by online chat at www.hopeforwellness.ca.