Pope Francis arrives in Edmonton, Canada, to mark the start of his 37th Apostolic Journey abroad, what he has called a “penitential pilgrimage” to the nation as a way to contribute to the process of “healing and reconciliation with the country’s indigenous peoples.”
The papal plane landed at 11:09 am local time on Sunday at Edmonton International Airport after a more than ten hour flight from Rome where he left in the morning local time.
The arrival of the Pope with the journalists on board with him was followed with a brief welcome by civil and religious authorities.
Those greeting Pope Francis included Governor General Mary Simon, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, Salma Lakhani.
The Pope then traveled to St. Joseph Seminary to rest after the long flight for the rest of the day there. His first public encounters begin on Monday morning.
Pope offers prayers for peace in telegrams from flight to Canada
During the flight to Canada, Pope Francis sent his customary greetings to heads of state of countries over which the papal plane is flying, offering them good wishes for unity and peace. The Pope sent messages to leaders in Italy, Switzerland, France, the United Kingdom, Iceland, and Denmark.
His first telegram message went to President Sergio Mattarella:
As I am about to make an apostolic journey to Canada, moved above all by a keen desire to meet the local indigenous peoples, I am pleased send you, Mr. President, my respectful greetings, which I accompany with fervent prayers for the good of the Italian people.
To President Ignazio Cassis of the Swiss Confederation, the Pope writes:
As I fly over Switzerland on my way to Canada, I send cordial greetings to your Excellency and your fellow citizens, together with my prayers that Almighty God will bless all of you with unity and peace.
To President Emmanuel Macron of the French Republic:
As I travel to Canada, I send good wishes to your excellency and the people of France. Assuring all of you of my prayerful remembrance, I invoke upon the nation Almighty God’s blessings of serenity and joy.
To Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom:
As I fly over the United Kingdom en route to Canada, I send greetings of good wishes to your Majesty, the members of the Royal Family and all the people of the realm. I pray that Almighty God will bless you with his gifts of strength, joy and peace.
To President Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson of the Republic of Iceland:
I send greetings and good wishes to your Excellency and your fellow citizens as I fly over Iceland on my journey to Canada, together with prayers that God will bless all in the nation with his gifts of serenity and joy.
To Her Majesty Margrethe II, Queen of Denmark
As my apostolic journey to Canada takes me over Greenland, I send greetings to your Majesty, together with the assurance of my prayers and good wishes for all the people of the territory.