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Pope Francis addresses Sacred Heart Church in Edmonton

Click to play video: 'Pope Francis speaks at Sacred Heart parish: ‘I have come to visit your home’' Pope Francis speaks at Sacred Heart parish: ‘I have come to visit your home’
Pope Francis addressed Indigenous people and others attending the Sacred Heart Church of the First Peoples on Monday as he continues his trip in Alberta. – Jul 25, 2022

Pope Francis attended the Sacred Heart Church of the First Peoples in Edmonton’s inner city on Monday afternoon.

Francis was greeted by drummers and singing at the church. Some people wiped tears from their eyes as the pontiff was wheeled into the downtown building.

The century-old church blends Catholic and Indigenous rituals. Francis took a chair placed at the front of the church under wooden teepee poles.

Click to play video: 'Pope Francis speaks about meaning of reconciliation: ‘One cannot proclaim God in a way contrary to God himself’' Pope Francis speaks about meaning of reconciliation: ‘One cannot proclaim God in a way contrary to God himself’
Pope Francis speaks about meaning of reconciliation: ‘One cannot proclaim God in a way contrary to God himself’ – Jul 25, 2022

Members of the parish told the Pope they are thrilled to receive him on his first visit to Canada.

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The pontiff gave an address to Indigenous Peoples and parish members about reconciliation and received several gifts.

The Pope said he was happy to visit an Edmonton church that welcomes Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

He says the Sacred Heart is a place for all, just as the Catholic Church should be.

Click to play video: 'Indigenous elder on Pope Francis apology at his Edmonton church: ‘What a relief to hear those words’' Indigenous elder on Pope Francis apology at his Edmonton church: ‘What a relief to hear those words’
Indigenous elder on Pope Francis apology at his Edmonton church: ‘What a relief to hear those words’ – Jul 25, 2022

He also spoke of his apology earlier in the day at Maskwacis, where he expressed remorse for the church’s role in residential schools in Canada.

“May this never happen again in the Church,” the Pope said. “May Jesus be preached as he desires, in freedom and charity.”

Read more: Pope Francis ‘deeply sorry,’ asks for forgiveness for residential schools during Maskwacis visit

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He said it pains him to think that Catholics contributed to policies of assimilation that robbed people of their culture and identity.

Francis also blessed a statue of Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Indigenous person to be canonized as a saint.

He held the hands of elders, touching some on the head, as he was wheeled out onto the street — where he unexpectedly greeted some people lining the road.

He waved out the window of a white Fiat as it pulled away.

Pope Francis arrives at the Sacred Heart Church of the First People, in Edmonton, during his Papal visit across Canada on Monday July 25, 2022. Jason Franson, The Canadian Press

On Tuesday, the Pope is scheduled to host a large outdoor mass at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium and take part in a pilgrimage in nearby Lac Ste. Anne, before travelling to Quebec City and Iqaluit.

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The visit from the Pope is going to be very difficult for a lot of people. If you or someone you know is a residential school survivor and is looking for help, you can call the Residential School Survivors and Family Crisis Line at 1-800-721-0066.

— More to come…

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