Advertisement

Regina archdiocese issues last call to residential school survivors for Pope visit

The Regina Archdiocese have secured three busses and accommodations for residential school survivors to attend the Pope visit in Edmonton but finding people has been the challenge. Dave Parsons / Global News

As arrangements are still underway for residential school survivors within the Regina diocese to attend the Pope visit in Edmonton, finding people to attend has been an issue.

The Regina archdiocese put a call out weeks ago for residential school survivors to join the upcoming Papal visit in Edmonton July 24-26. A gathering team was established to compile a list of residential school survivors in Treaty 4, but response has been less that what was expected.

Read more: Arrangements underway for residential school survivors to attend Pope’s first stop in Edmonton

The Regina archbishop said registration, travel, hotel stay and meals will all be taken care of. Each residential school survivor will be allowed to bring a support person as well, but as their deadline for attendees to sign up arrives Friday, July 8, they are learning there is little interest from the community.

Story continues below advertisement

“We’ve provisionally got three busses ready to go, which would be up to 150 people,” Archbishop Don Bolen said. “It doesn’t look like we’re going to have that many survivors.”

Click to play video: 'Residential School Survivors react to Pope Visit'
Residential School Survivors react to Pope Visit

Bolen said there are many factors as to why there is a decline in the numbers of attendees, including some not knowing the option is available. Others, he says, have expressed a disinterest in attending.

“I understand that there’s some tension, differences of opinions, within First Nations communities around the apology and and it makes sense that there would be,” said Bolen. “So we’re just trying to put out the offer for those who would like to attend or be connected to the event.”

Read more: Tickets for free Papal Mass at Commonwealth Stadium available Wednesday

Story continues below advertisement

Other dioceses in Saskatchewan and Indigenous organizations have not officially announced any of their arrangements yet but Archbishop Bolen confirms many are expected to make their announcements.

In a previous story, the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations confirmed there will be federal funding for residential school survivors to attend the Pope visit but that announcement has yet to be made.

Bolen encourages those within the Regina archdiocese who wish to attend the Pope visit to contact the Regina diocese or visit the Papal visit website on obtaining free tickets to attend.

Click to play video: 'Initial set of tickets for Pope’s mass in Edmonton booked within minutes'
Initial set of tickets for Pope’s mass in Edmonton booked within minutes

The Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line (1-866-925-4419) is available 24 hours a day for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of their residential school experience.

Sponsored content