Pope Francis called for a future in which the 'violence and marginalization of indigenous peoples in never repeated' during a homily preached to 65,000 people on Tuesday

Pope calls for future where ‘violence and marginalization’ of indigenous people is ‘never repeated’

Pope Francis called for a future in which the ‘violence and marginalization of indigenous peoples in never repeated’ during a homily preached to 65,000 people.

Francis also praised the indigenous tradition of showing great respect for elders, saying their memory must not be lost in modern society’s ‘fog of forgetfulness.’ 

The mass, which honored grandparents, was held Tuesday as part of his six-day tour of ‘penance’ the Catholic Church’s role in the deaths of indigenous children at Canada‘s ‘disastrous’ residential schools.

Thousands of attendees cheered as Francis entered Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta and looped around the field ahead of the eucharistic celebration.

He was accompanied by a steady beat from indigenous hand drummers as paraded in, waving to the crowd of onlookers and stopping occasionally to kiss and bless babies.

The mass came just one day after the Pope apologized for the ‘evil committed by so many Christians against the indigenous peoples’ and vowed for further investigation, as well as steps to promote healing.

Pope Francis called for a future in which the ‘violence and marginalization of indigenous peoples in never repeated’ during a homily preached to 65,000 people on Tuesday

Pope Francis kissed a baby boy from his Popemobile on Tuesday as he arrived for an open-air mass to 65,000 people at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta

Pope Francis kissed a baby boy from his Popemobile on Tuesday as he arrived for an open-air mass to 65,000 people at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta

Thousands of attendees cheered as Francis entered and looped around the field on Tuesday

Thousands of attendees cheered as Francis entered and looped around the field on Tuesday

Pope Francis was seen waving to the crowd and stopping occasionally to bless babies from the Popemobile

Pope Francis was seen waving to the crowd and stopping occasionally to bless babies from the Popemobile

Francis is on a week-long tour of Canada to apologize for the Catholic Church's role in severing generations of Indigenous family ties by participating in the nation's 'disastrous' residential school system

Francis is on a week-long tour of Canada to apologize for the Catholic Church’s role in severing generations of Indigenous family ties by participating in the nation’s ‘disastrous’ residential school system

In his homily Tuesday, Francis praised the indigenous tradition of showing great respect for elders and learning from them, saying their memory must not be lost in modern society's 'fog of forgetfulness'

In his homily Tuesday, Francis praised the indigenous tradition of showing great respect for elders and learning from them, saying their memory must not be lost in modern society’s ‘fog of forgetfulness’

Tens of thousands attended Tuesday’s mass, which marked the Feast of St. Anne – the grandmother of Jesus and a figure of particular veneration for Canadian Catholics.

Francis, who has often spoken about what he learned from his grandmother Rosa in Buenos Aires, used the occasion to repeat his frequent appeals to younger generations to cherish their grandparents and learn from them.

In his homily, Francis called grandparents ‘a precious treasure that preserves a history greater than themselves.’

‘Those who have preceded us have passed on to us a passion, a strength, and a yearning. A flame that is up to us to reignite,’ he said. ‘It is not a matter of preserving ashes but of rekindling the fire that they lit.’ 

‘This is our history, to which we are heirs and which we are called to preserve. In the fog of forgetfulness that overshadows our turbulent times, it is essential to cultivate our roots, to pray for and with our forebears, to dedicate time to remember and guard their legacy. 

‘This is how a family tree grows; this is how the future is built,’ he added. 

Tens of thousands attended the mass, which marked the Feast of St. Anne. Pope Francis is seen kissing a child as arrives at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton

Tens of thousands attended the mass, which marked the Feast of St. Anne. Pope Francis is seen kissing a child as arrives at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton

In his homily, Pope Francis called grandparents 'a precious treasure that preserves a history greater than themselves.' He is seen kissing an infant child ahead of Tuesday's mass

In his homily, Pope Francis called grandparents ‘a precious treasure that preserves a history greater than themselves.’ He is seen kissing an infant child ahead of Tuesday’s mass

Although he did not directly mention the residential school system during the mass, Francis noted it was 'our spiritual duty' to create a 'better future' that does not repeat the 'violence and marginalization of our indigenous brothers and sisters.' He is seen blessing an infant Tuesday

Although he did not directly mention the residential school system during the mass, Francis noted it was ‘our spiritual duty’ to create a ‘better future’ that does not repeat the ‘violence and marginalization of our indigenous brothers and sisters.’ He is seen blessing an infant Tuesday

Although he did not directly mention the residential school system during the mass, Francis noted: ‘It is our spiritual duty to honor our grandparents and elders, to treasure their presence among us in order to create a better future.

‘A future in which the history of violence and marginalization of our indigenous brothers and sisters is never repeated.’

For several months Francis has delivered weekly catechism lessons on the need to treasure grandparental wisdom and not discard them as part of today’s ‘culture of waste.’ 

His ode to grandparents will continue later Tuesday as Francis, who is using a wheelchair and a cane because of a knee ailment, holds a prayer service at Lac Ste. Anne, a popular pilgrimage site considered to be a place of healing. 

Pope Francis presides over a mass at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton on Tuesday

Pope Francis presides over a mass at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton on Tuesday

A priest films the stage as Pope Francis speaks at Commonwealth Stadium during an open-air mass on Tuesday

A priest films the stage as Pope Francis speaks at Commonwealth Stadium during an open-air mass on Tuesday

For several months Francis has delivered weekly catechism lessons on the need to treasure grandparental wisdom and not discard them as part of today's 'culture of waste.' The pope is pictured blessing a baby on Tuesday

For several months Francis has delivered weekly catechism lessons on the need to treasure grandparental wisdom and not discard them as part of today’s ‘culture of waste.’ The pope is pictured blessing a baby on Tuesday

The Pope, pictured on his Popemobile ahead of Tuesday Mass, has apologized for the 'evil committed by so many Christians against the indigenous peoples' and vowed for further investigation, as well as steps to promote healing

The Pope, pictured on his Popemobile ahead of Tuesday Mass, has apologized for the ‘evil committed by so many Christians against the indigenous peoples’ and vowed for further investigation, as well as steps to promote healing

Before the pope arrived for Tuesday’s mass, Phil Fontaine, a former Assembly of First Nations National Chief and a residential school survivor, reflected on his Monday visit to Maskwacis.

During his tour of a former Maskwacis school, Francis blasted the residential school policy as a ‘disastrous error’ that did ‘catastrophic’ harm. 

He apologized for the ‘evil committed by so many Christians against the Indigenous peoples’ and vowed further investigation and steps to promote healing. 

‘I want to say to you my friends that what we really are talking about is forgiveness. We will never reach reconciliation without forgiveness,’ Fontaine said.

‘We will never forget but we must forgive. We invite the Catholic Church to rebuild the fractured relationship it had with us, for us and for all Canadians.’

Fontaine was among the indigenous leaders who met the pope at the Vatican earlier this year and invited him to Canada.

Pope Francis waves to onlookers as he arrives at Commonwealth Stadium to give an open-air mass on Tuesday

Pope Francis waves to onlookers as he arrives at Commonwealth Stadium to give an open-air mass on Tuesday

People watch for Pope Francis arrives for mass in Edmonton on Tuesday as part of his Papal visit across Canada

People watch for Pope Francis arrives for mass in Edmonton on Tuesday as part of his Papal visit across Canada

Pope Francis celebrates mass at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton on Tuesday

Pope Francis celebrates mass at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton on Tuesday

Pope Francis waves as he arrives at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton on Tuesday

Pope Francis waves as he arrives at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton on Tuesday

More than 150,000 indigenous children were separated from their families and brought to residential schools. 

Many were starved, beaten for speaking their native languages and sexually abused in a system that Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission called ‘cultural genocide.’

Indigenous leaders as well as survivors of the schools said that while the pope’s apology on Monday evoked strong emotions and was a highly significant step towards reconciliation, more action needed to be taken by the Church and the government.

‘You can’t just say, ‘I am sorry,’ and walk away. There has to be effort, and there has to be work in more meaningful actions behind words,’ said Nakota Sioux Nation Chief Tony Alexis.

Pope Francis blesses a child as he arrives for an open-air mass at Commonwealth Stadium

Pope Francis blesses a child as he arrives for an open-air mass at Commonwealth Stadium

Francis has said his six-day visit to Canada is a 'penitential pilgrimage' to atone for the Church's role in the residential school system. He is pictured ahead of Tuesday mass

Francis has said his six-day visit to Canada is a ‘penitential pilgrimage’ to atone for the Church’s role in the residential school system. He is pictured ahead of Tuesday mass

On Wednesday, the pope will travel to Quebec City for the more institutional part of his visit, meeting with government officials and diplomats. He is pictured in Edmonton on Tuesday, kissing a baby's head before mass

 On Wednesday, the pope will travel to Quebec City for the more institutional part of his visit, meeting with government officials and diplomats. He is pictured in Edmonton on Tuesday, kissing a baby’s head before mass

Francis has said his six-day visit is a ‘penitential pilgrimage’ to atone for the Church’s role in the residential school system. 

It fulfills a key recommendation of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which sought a papal apology to be delivered on Canadian soil. 

On Wednesday, the pope will travel to Quebec City for the more institutional part of his visit, meeting with government officials and diplomats.

On his way back to Rome on Friday, he will stop for a few hours in Iqaluit in the Canadian Arctic, where indigenous affairs will return to the fore.

The Iqaluit area is one of the fastest-warming parts of North America and there the pope is expected to address the dangers of climate change.

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