The pope said that his visit to Canada was "a different journey” from the other international trips of his pontificate.
Pope Francis has agreed with the view that the forced removal of Indigenous children and their treatment in Canada’s residential school system was a form of “cultural genocide.”
Some of those indigenous people assembled to listen to the pope had met with him at the Vatican in March.
The pope's next, and final stop, in Canada is Iqaluit, in the country's northernmost territory.
The pope spoke Thursday evening at the Cathedral Basilica of Notre-Dame de Québec to those engaged in pastoral ministry.
This “penitential pilgrimage” is dedicated to a real path of reconciliation with the Native American populations, and at the same time it is also an apostolic journey to a country with a rich and varied Catholic history.
Pope Francis asked for forgiveness for the harm done to indigenous Canadians by Catholics in a Wednesday address before top government officials and representatives of the indigenous peoples in Canada.
Developing a theme he introduced earlier in his "penitential pilgrimage," the pope reflected on the importance of presenting the faith to others in a loving way, rather than with proselytism.
Upon his arrival in Edmonton, the pope was greeted by representatives of Canada's indigenous peoples.
During his six-day trip, he’s expected to meet with and apologize to indigenous Canadians for abuses committed at Church-run residential schools.
The Vatican has released the itinerary for Pope Francis’ visit to Canada, during which he will meet with representatives of indigenous peoples, and with indigenous Catholics.
“I want to say to you with all my heart: I am very sorry,” Pope Francis said.