The Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton said planning for Pope Francis’ visit to Canada in July is continuing, although the pontiff has canceled an upcoming trip to Africa due to knee problems.
Archbishop of Edmonton Richard Smith is the general coordinator of the trip for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.
A spokesperson for his office said Friday morning: “We are in regular contact with the Holy See regarding the papal visit to Canada. For now, we continue to move forward with our planning.
The Holy See’s Press Office announced Friday morning the Pope’s modified schedule for July: “At the request of his doctors, and in order not to compromise the results of the therapy he is undergoing for his knee, the Holy -Father was forced to postpone, with regret, his Apostolic Journey to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, scheduled for July 2-7, to a later date to be determined.”
The statement did not mention Francis’ visit to Canada.
The pope is due to travel to Edmonton, Quebec and Iqaluit July 24-29 and meet with Indigenous peoples on their own territory.
His itinerary is not stopped.
“Great care is taken to provide significant rest periods for the Holy Father, and also to ensure that his participation in events is limited in time (in most cases around an hour),” Andrew said. Ehrkamp, spokesperson for the Catholic Archdiocese. of Edmonton, said in a statement.
“We continue to pray for Pope Francis’ health and that he can join us in Canada next month.”
When the pope’s fourth visit to Canada was announced in May, officials said the tour would be organized to accommodate Francis’ limited mobility: he cannot fly in a helicopter, he cannot travel in a vehicle during over an hour and he can’t change accommodation every night.
The pope has been using a wheelchair for about a month due to strained ligaments in his right knee.
The three Canadian host cities were chosen as hubs from which the pope can easily access other sites.
Still, Smith in May called it an “extraordinarily ambitious” route for someone in Francis’ health.
“If it weren’t for his desire to engage with Indigenous peoples on their lands, he probably wouldn’t come to Canada… But he has made it very clear, despite these severe restrictions on his mobility, that he is committed to come to Canada to be with them,” Smith said.
“It shows how committed he is to being here with Indigenous peoples whenever possible.”