Canada Bishops, First Nations Postpone Rome Visit

Will Reschedule at Earliest Opportunity in 2022

Canada Bishops First Nations
Pope JohnPaul II Visited Indigenous Canadians during a 1984 Trip -- CCCB

The Bishops of Canada, the Assembly of First Nations, the National Council of Métis, and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami have jointly decided to postpone the delegation that was to visit the Vatican in December 2021 at the earliest opportunity in 2022. The decision came in light of the recent spread of the Omicron virus.

Following is the statement the group issued:

After a careful assessment of the uncertainty and health risks surrounding international travel amid the recent spread of the Omicron variant, the Bishops of Canada, the Assembly of First Nations, the National Council of Métis, and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami have jointly decided to postpone the delegation that was to visit the Vatican in December 2021 at the earliest opportunity in 2022.

While heartbreaking, the decision to postpone was made after consultation with delegates, their families, community leaders, public health officials, and leaders from each of the three national Indigenous organizations. The risk of infection and the unpredictable development of the global situation poses too great a threat at this time, especially for elderly delegates and people living in remote communities.

We are comforted by the concern expressed by the Holy See that the safety of the delegation be taken into consideration before proceeding with the trip. It is also important to note that the delegation is postponed and not canceled.

Currently, global health experts are still studying the transmissibility of the Omicron variant. As more information becomes available, we will continue to assess the feasibility of the trip, closely following the advice of the Canadian government and relevant international authorities.

Our shared commitment to walk together towards healing and reconciliation remains firm. We understand that the Holy See is determined to postpone this visit into the New Year and we look forward to the opportunity for Indigenous Elders, Knowledge Keepers, Residential School Survivors, and Youth to participate in private gatherings. with Pope Francis.