On this day when the Church celebrates Saint Joachim and Saint Anne, Pope Francis presides over a Mass in Edmonton and participates in the pilgrimage and the Liturgy of the Word on Lake Santa Ana.
After penitential encounters with Indigenous peoples in Maskwacis and Edmonton on Monday 25, Pope Francis is dedicating today, in which St. Commonwealth Stadium and the pilgrimage and liturgy of the Word on Lake Santa Ana. (Both events will air on Vatican News with commentary in Portuguese beginning at 1:15 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. PT, respectively.)
At 9 a.m. Edmonton time, the Holy Father goes to Commonwealth Stadium – 4.7 km from the Seminary of São José, where he is staying -, to preside over the mass that will be celebrated in Latin and English, not before passing by popemobile among those present also in the neighbor Clarke Stadium. At the end of the celebration, Francisco returns to the São José Seminary for lunch.
The Commonwealth Stadium
O Commonwealth Stadium, a 40-acre complex located minutes from downtown Edmonton, specifically in the McCauley neighborhood, is a multi-purpose outdoor sports facility. Mainly hosts local football team matches Edmonton Elksmajor sporting and international events and concerts.
Its construction began in 1975, next to the old Clarke stadium, and was completed in 1978, on the occasion of the Commonwealth Games, which gave its name to the stadium, with a capacity of 42,500 spectators. The structure, over the years, has undergone several renovations and modernizations. Today, with a capacity of 56,302 places, the Commonwealth Stadium it is the largest outdoor stadium in Canada.
Pilgrimage and Liturgy of the Word
After a brief rest, Francis goes at 4 p.m. to Lake Santa Ana, 83 kilometers away, for the pilgrimage and the liturgy of the Word.
The pope is received in front of the parish church by the parish priest, the priest in charge of pilgrimages and some faithful. Then he heads to the lake in a golf cart, passing the statue of Santa Ana, accompanied by the traditional sounds of the drum. Arrived at the lake, the Holy Father makes the sign of the cross towards the 4 cardinal points, according to the native custom, and blesses the water of the lake. Finally, he goes to the stage in a golf cart, always blessing the congregants with water from the lake.
Then come the greeting and the liturgical prayer, the readings in English, the homily of Francis followed by the prayer of the faithful and the Our Father. Prayer and final blessing follow. In the popemobile, Francis returns to the parish church, where the procession is. Along the way, he blesses the image of Our Lady Unties the Knots. Finally, the Holy Father returns to the São José Seminary, concluding his public activities this Tuesday.
Santa Ana Lake, place of healing and blessing
Lake Santa Ana (“Lake Ste. Anne”) is located in north-central Alberta, approximately 72 km west of Edmonton, and has been a Catholic pilgrimage destination since the late 19th century. Thousands of pilgrims, mostly from Canada and the northwestern United States, come to the lake every year to bathe in its sacred waters and pray. Called by the Nakota Sioux of Wakamne, “Lake of God”, and “Lake of the Spirit” by the Crees, it was named “Lac Sainte-Anne” by Father Jean-Baptiste Thibault.
The missionary was the first priest to establish a permanent Catholic mission, in 1842, in Alberta, in this place already considered sacred for generations and known by the natives as a place of healing. The first church was built in 1844 and in 1852 Father Albert Lacombe and Father René Remas began the service of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Since then, missionaries have ministered continuously in this area.
The first annual pilgrimage was organized by the Oblates in July 1889, with the participation of 400 people. Then it continued each year in the week of July 26, the feast of Saint Anne, mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary and grandmother of Jesus, venerated in many Canadian Aboriginal communities, and became one of the most important spiritual appointments for pilgrims to America. of the North and particularly dear to First Nations populations, who continue to participate annually.
The church, which was completely destroyed by fire in 1928, was rebuilt in 2009. The new structure was officially blessed by Archbishop Richard Smith on August 7, 2010. In addition to the holy building, the site houses also a canon, a confessional, the Via Sacra, a cemetery, and facilities for pilgrims including a shop, food stand, and restrooms. This place was declared a National Historic Landmark by the Canadian government in 2004.
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