This Sunday, Pope Francis is arriving in Canada for a five-day pastoral visit to dialogue with Indigenous peoples, to accompany us “walking together” on the path of initiatives already begun for healing and reconciliation, and to express his heartfelt closeness.
As the official international development organization of the Catholic Church in Canada, Development and Peace — Caritas Canada is pleased to support this historic visit. We are convinced that this visit by Pope Francis will provide a new and inspiring impetus to build a lasting relationship with the Indigenous peoples of Canada.
Development and Peace has long supported Indigenous peoples in the Global South, who protect and preserve our common home. In the last year, for example, we have provided support to persecuted Indigenous rights defenders in Honduras and improved the food security, living conditions and access to health services of Indigenous communities in Ecuador.
Furthermore, Development and Peace is involved in efforts to advance reconciliation in Canada. Already in 1992, we had launched the campaign “Re-building the Americas: from Domination to Liberation” with a priority on building relationships with the Indigenous peoples of Canada—relationships that exist to this day.
At our Orientation Assembly in June, one of the themes discussed was reconciliation. We invite you to view the interview and talk given by Indigenous elder and Catholic Graydon Nicholas, CM, ONB, at the assembly, where the participants renewed their commitment by choosing reconciliation as one of our work priorities for the next five years.
During the papal visit, let’s take the time to listen carefully to the testimonies of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. What a unique opportunity this is to create spaces for discussion and reflection in our families, parishes and workplaces. After the visit, let’s continue with our commitments by visiting and dialoguing with Indigenous communities. Let’s not hesitate to engage with them in developing concrete ways to advance reconciliation.
May this papal visit be a journey of both healing and hope for the Indigenous peoples of Canada and for all those following it closely.