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After somber start to papal visit to Canada, pope greets crowds in Quebec

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GEOFF ROBINS | AFP

I.Media for Aleteia - published on 07/28/22

On Wednesday, July 27, Pope Francis visited the most Catholic province in Canada: Quebec. In Quebec Province, the first missionaries planted faith in Christ.

After a sober beginning in Edmonton, Pope Francis returned on Wednesday, July 27, to crowds and jubilation when he was welcomed in Quebec City, the second stop on his trip to Canada. The pontiff received an enthusiastic welcome, with tens of thousands of people celebrating his visit.

In Edmonton, Alberta, the atmosphere was marked by gravity, reserve, and discretion. There was little sign of the pope’s visit, except for a few logos and several blocked roads. There were no crowds in the streets, and participation in the events was sparse. But this first stage, meeting with the First Nations, Métis and Inuit, was sober and humble, expressing the penitential approach of the pope towards these Indigenous communities mistreated in residential schools.

In Quebec City, on the other hand, where he landed in the early afternoon of July 27, the head of the Catholic Church went to meet the most Catholic province in Canada. And Catholic for good reason: In Quebec Province, the first missionaries planted faith in Christ. This heritage still matters for residents of the city, who came out in large numbers to receive the Successor of Peter, 38 years after the visit of John Paul II (1984).

Quebecers lined the road used by the papal car, brandishing their Vatican flags, banners and smartphones to immortalize the moment. The human chain from the airport continued, sometimes dense, sometimes sparse, until Quebec City and its Citadel, about 10 miles away.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Pope Francis, and Governor General of Canada Mary Simon sit for a photo at the Citadelle de Québec in Quebec City, Quebec
(L-R) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Pope Francis, and Governor General of Canada Mary Simon sit for a photo at the Citadelle de Quebec.

Meeting civil leaders and greeting crowds

Pope Francis had an appointment in the city’s military fortress — the Governor General’s palace — with the country’s civil authorities, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Governor General Mary Simon. After exhorting politicians to encourage “multiculturalism” over “cancel culture,” the pope climbed into the popemobile to drive around the “Plains of Abraham” (the heart of the Battlefields Park of the Quebec capital). In this famous park and in the surrounding streets, nearly 25,000 people gathered to cheer the pontiff.

Pope Francis, who has appeared in a wheelchair throughout the trip, took the opportunity to walk through the crowd, blessing children and greeting people.

On July 28, Quebecers will be able to meet him at Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, where Pope Francis is scheduled to celebrate a Mass. In the afternoon, he will meet with Canadian priests and religious.

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