Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Dec 7, 2021 / 15:32 pm
The scheduled meeting between Pope Francis and a delegation from Canada has been delayed to 2022, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Assembly of First Nations, Métis National Council, and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami announced in a joint statement on Tuesday, Dec. 7.
“After careful assessment of the uncertainty and potential health risks surrounding international travel amid the recent spread of the Omicron variant, the Canadian Bishops, Assembly of First Nations, Métis National Council, and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami have jointly decided to reschedule a delegation to the Vatican in December 2021 to the earliest opportunity in 2022,” they said.
“It is also important to note that the delegation is postponed, not canceled,” said the statement, adding that the Holy See advised that safety concerns of the delegates should be paramount in deciding when to travel to the Vatican.
The delegation of approximately two dozen First Nations, Inuit, and Métis elders, knowledge keepers, survivors of residential schools, and young people, along with a “small group of Canadian bishops,” was due to meet with Pope Francis and other officials in the Vatican from Dec. 17-20. The visit had been in the works since June 2021, following the discovery of many unmarked gravesites at the site of former residential schools.