The following statement was released by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) on February 1, 2022. The text is also available on the CCCB website.
The Canadian Catholic Bishops, Assembly of First Nations, Métis National Council, and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami are pleased to announce that the delegation to Rome to meet with Pope Francis, originally planned for December 2021, is now scheduled to take place at the end of March and early April of this year.
In light of the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, both in Canada and throughout the world, a prudent decision was made in December to postpone the delegation out of concern for the safety of all delegates, recognizing the uncertainty regarding travel and the fluid nature of the situation.
Working closely with the Vatican, new dates have been confirmed. The Holy Father is now scheduled to meet with individual Indigenous delegations the week of March 28, 2022. A final audience with all participants will take place on Friday, April 1, 2022.
The health and safety of all delegates remain our first priority. In the weeks ahead, we will monitor conditions leading up to the revised travel dates and continue our dialogue with delegates, public health officials as well as the relevant government and international authorities, traveling only when we feel it is safe to do so.
We remain committed to walking toward healing and reconciliation and very much look forward to the opportunity for Indigenous Elders, knowledge keepers, residential school survivors, and youth to meet with Pope Francis.
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