Pope Francis, in Iqaluit, condemns residential schools, calls on youth to ‘come to the light’ of Christ (Vatican Press Office)

On the last day of his apostolic journey to Canada, Pope Francis took a three-hour flight from Québec to Iqaluit, a town of 8,000 that is the capital of Nunavut territory (map).

“How evil it is to break the bonds uniting parents and children, to damage our closest relationships, to harm and scandalize the little ones,” the Pope said of the Canadian Indian residential school system. “Dear friends, we are here with the desire to pursue together a journey of healing and reconciliation that, with the help of the Creator, can help us shed light on what happened and move beyond the dark past.”

The Pope advised young people to “keep walking upwards, come to the light each day, and be part of a team! Do all this within your own culture and in the beautiful Inuktitut language.”

“Dear brother, dear sister, Jesus is close to you and he wants to light up your heart, to make you come to the light,” the Pope said. “He said of himself: ‘I am the light of the world’ (Jn 8:12), but he also told his disciples: ‘You are the light of the world’ (Mt 5:14). You too, then, are light for the world and you will shine all the brighter if you struggle to cast out the dark shadows of evil from your heart.”

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