By mid-afternoon Wednesday there could be standing room only on the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City.

Tens of thousands are expected to be there to see Pope Francis who will arrive from Alberta for the second leg of his visit to Canada. It has been termed his pilgrimage of penance to speak about and to apologize for the abuse suffered by Indigenous children at church-run residential schools across the country.

“Edmonton represents the west, everything that happened in the west, and Quebec represents everything that happened in central Canada and eastern Canada,” explained Reverend Christian Lépine, Archbishop of Montreal Catholic Diocese.

The Pope, the head of the Catholic Church, will be making two stops in Quebec.

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The first stop is in the provincial capital where he’s expected to meet with government officials including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Governor General Mary Simon, at the citadel shortly after arriving from the Jean Lesage airport.

After that he’ll deliver a public address. People gathered on the Plains of Abraham will be able to watch on large screens.

Then he’ll do a short tour of the Plains in the Popemobile to greet the throngs who’re expected there to see him. Authorities are warning people of road closures and advising them to use public transit.


Click to play video: '‘I am deeply sorry’: Pope Francis apologizes to Indigenous leaders, residential school survivors during historic Canada visit'







‘I am deeply sorry’: Pope Francis apologizes to Indigenous leaders, residential school survivors during historic Canada visit


All the tickets for a mass on Thursday in Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, north-east of Quebec City, have been distributed. The mass, where he’s expected to address former residential school students and their families, is the main event on his Quebec trip.

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“It was important for him to come here and to convey the situation, the recognition what happened, the (involvement) of the Catholic Church,” said Lépine.

Friday morning before the pontiff leaves for Iqaluit he’s scheduled to meet with a delegation of Indigenous Peoples from eastern Canada.

This is the fourth papal visit to Canada, but only the second time that a Pope visited Quebec. The last papal visit in the province was in 1984.

For this visit, despite the expected large crowds, Indigenous leaders are advising the public that the visit isn’t a celebration, but a solemn occasion for residential school survivors.

“I’m sure they would have mixed emotions like every residential school survivor would have,” Arnold Boyer, Kahnawá:ke Council Chief told Global News. “It brings back bad memories, reopens the wounds.”

The Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line (1-866-925-4419) is available 24 hours a day for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of their residential school experience.


Click to play video: 'Pope Francis’ visit stirs complex feelings among residential school survivors'







Pope Francis’ visit stirs complex feelings among residential school survivors


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