“It is a great honour to welcome His Holiness Pope Francis to Alberta on his pilgrimage of prayer, penitence, healing and reconciliation.
“While his presence among us is of historic significance to Alberta Catholics, the papal visit is a blessing for all Albertans, beginning with Indigenous Peoples.
“Edmonton, our capital, is proud to host a third papal visit and the first visit of Pope Francis to Canada.
“In 1984 and 1987, Edmonton welcomed St. John Paul II. That latter visit was a brief stopover en route to Fort Simpson, NWT, where he kept his promise to return after a planned visit in 1984 was impeded by bad weather. We can now see that that visit to the Indigenous Peoples of the north was an initial step toward reconciliation before we even knew the full need for it.
“Pilgrims come to Lac Ste. Anne from across Canada. It is a joy to welcome Pope Francis as a pilgrim amongst pilgrims to that site, sacred both to Indigenous Peoples and Christians. Lac Ste. Anne speaks of peace between peoples and the mutual enrichment of religious traditions and cultures. Lac Ste. Anne is a reminder from Indigenous Peoples that spiritual values make an essential contribution to the common good.
“The painful legacy of residential schools, which is the focus of this papal visit to Alberta, requires both expressions of remorse and concrete actions. The visit of Pope Francis is both, and the Province of Alberta is proud to host it.
“May it be an occasion of both truth and reconciliation, to which the government and people of Alberta are committed.”