Pope Francis held a meeting on Friday, July 29, with young and old in Iqaluit, a city of over 7,000 located in the Nunavut Autonomous Territory.
there in Speech Addressing them in La Escuela Square, he urged the young Inuit to seek their own place in the world, to listen to the wise words of their elders and to commit themselves to the future of the territory. “I hope, by listening to the elders and taking advantage of the richness of your traditions and your freedom, that you will embrace the gospel preserved and transmitted by your ancestors, and that you will find the face of Enoch of Jesus Christ.”after praising their culture and their “beautiful Inuktitut language”.
As in other previous interventions in “The Journey of Repentance” to Canada, the Holy Father began his address by acknowledging the “indignation and shame” that “accompanies him for months” because of the “pain” caused by boarding schools, which – remember – separated children from their parents and caused immense suffering.
“Even today, here too, I would like to tell you that I am very sorry and I want to apologize for the evil committed by quite a few Catholics because these schools have contributed to the policies of cultural assimilation and disengagement”, he told his audience. Among those present were some of the surviving victims of these centers, whom the Pope had met moments before in a private meeting.
Francisco used elements of Eskimo reality to ask Inuit youth to embrace their history and culture and take risks. Thus, for example, he alluded to the tern bird, the arctic swallow, which, despite the headwinds forcing it to turn, always ends up at its destination; Or ‘qulliq’, the traditional oil lamp that gives off not only light but also heat to withstand the rigors of the climate. There were also references to ice hockey, the king of sports in Canada, and prominent female figures in the sport, such as Sarah Nursing also Marie Philip Bolin.
The Holy Father gave three tips to Inuit youth: The first is not to let yourself be carried down by those who want you to believe that it is best to think of yourself and devote yourself only to having fun. “my friend – He told them in a colloquial tone –You are not obligated to “pass”, to spend the days balancing duties and pleasures, but rather you fly high (…) ».
The Pope also asked them to be “brave” and not to follow “light paths that disappear in passing, and fireworks that leave nothing but smoke.” “It is a mirage, a parody of happiness,” he said, quoting the words uttered by the saint John Paul II On International Youth Day held in Toronto in 2002.
Likewise, Francisco pleaded for his freedom, “which does not mean to do whatever seems to me I love”, but rather “the greatest gift that our Heavenly Father has given us with life.” “If you want to make God happy, this is the way, choose the good. Ask them: Brave brother, sister of courage, carry your freedom, do not be afraid to make strong decisions, go to the light every day.
In a region where life is so conditioned by the harshness of the climate, the Holy Father has called upon young people, at last, to “collaborate,” to form groups and move on. “They can’t spend their days isolated as phone hostages.”He told them.
The Pope is no longer returning to Canada. It embarks on the return flight to Rome from Iqaluit Airport, scheduled to arrive at Fiumicino Airport around 7:50 a.m. Saturday, 30.