Many Mi'kmaq Maritimers hold high expectations for Pope's visit to Canada
Pope Francis's plane will touch down Sunday in Edmonton to begin what's expected to be a week long visit to seek forgiveness for wrongdoings that occurred at residential schools.
"I'm not going there to [be] angry or anything, because I was brought up as a Catholic," said Katy McEwan of Membertou First Nation, a survivor of the Shubenacadie Residential School.
McEwan, along with another survivor, will drive from Cape Breton to Quebec City for the Pope's visit next week.
While she holds no personal ill will, McEwan still wants to make the trip on behalf of other survivors she's helped for 25 years in her role as a community elder.
"I feel there should be some monetary giving," McEwan said. "Because we went through a lot with residential schools. We lost a lot."
Jeff Ward, manager of the Membertou Heritage Park, is also the son of a residential school survivor.
He says for the Pope's visit to have any lasting value, there needs to be something more tangible than just words.
"I believe it's the actions that follow the apology in regards to what is going to be done next," Ward said. "People got (sic) to understand that even the apology still is not enough for a lot of people. So it's that real action."
Father Bill Burke is the Catholic priest at St. Marguerite Bourgeoys parish in Sydney. He's also a pastor in Membertou.
Burke says it's imperative that the papal visit is not to be seen as any sort of conclusion, and that action be taken in what he refers to as the "traditional Catholic notion" of reconciliation.
"This is a serious moral responsibility for the church, and if we don't step up to this we will have sinned again," Burke said. "You have to do something to make restitution, and the restitution here involves money from the church that has to be paid. I [also] think the restitution has to go further, to genuine commitment to dialogue and respect for Indigenous nations and cultures."
McEwan says due to her Catholic upbringing, she'll be happy to see the Pope, but when it comes to his penance, she wants to get it in person.
“I want to receive the apology too."