The Vatican is expected to officially announce a visit by Pope Francis to Canada in July on Friday, CBC News learned.
The announcement will confirm the Pope’s trip to Edmonton, Quebec City and Iqaluit during the last week of July, according to confidential sources the CBC is not identifying because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
The CBC previously reported that the three cities were under strong consideration for the papal visit.
More locations near the venues and specific itinerary details will be announced at a later date.
The pontiff initially announced his plan to visit Canada during an April 1 meeting with delegates from the First Nations, Inuit and Métis, who traveled to the Vatican to meet him.
Pope Francis also offered an initial apology for the actions of individual members of the Roman Catholic Church in Canada’s residential schools.
The delegates, who traveled to Rome, want the Pope to issue an apology in Canada for the role the Roman Catholic Church has played in operating most residential schools, which would fulfill a fundamental request from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
“You have brought here to Rome a living sense of your communities,” the Pope told delegates on April 1.
“I would be happy to benefit again from meeting you when I visit your native lands where your families live.”
Lebanon trip postponed
Earlier this week, the Pope postponed his planned trip to Lebanon next month because of health problems.
The 85-year-old has a chronic nerve condition called sciatica, which causes pain from his lower back down to his legs.
He has a pronounced limp and has difficulty using stairs, so accessibility is a key factor for any location he visits in Canada.
“Given the Holy Father’s advanced age and the size of Canada, we know the visit will take place in a specific group of communities,” a spokesperson for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops previously told the CBC.
Before traveling to Rome, the Pope will visit South Sudan with the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Justin Welby issued a residential school apology in Canada last month on behalf of the Church of England and the Anglican Church worldwide.
“I will have the opportunity to discuss what I learned with him,” Welby said.