Pope's visit: many Americans will be in Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré

The pope's visit to Quebec aroused interest beyond the borders because so many Americans wanted to see the Holy Father up close.

Pope's visit: many Americans will be in Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré

The pope's visit to Quebec aroused interest beyond the borders because so many Americans wanted to see the Holy Father up close.

• Read also: Apostolic journey: the pope will be at the basilica for the feast of Saint Anne

Although the date is still not confirmed for the pope's visit, we can already feel the excitement in Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, where the sovereign pontiff is expected on the occasion of the novena.

Already, before the pandemic, the religious holiday was losing momentum, according to the statements of speakers.

The novena is held from July 17 to 25 and is crowned by the feast of Saint Anne, which takes place on July 26.

We know that Pope Francis is to be in Canada from July 24 to 29, on the occasion of a historic visit focused on reconciliation with Indigenous nations.

The phone does not ring

Now that the pope is expected, the phone is not ringing in the hotels and motels in the region, which are full for the novena.

Owners of Motel Deblois since 2015, Helana Halim and her husband have 21 rooms for rent.

“Each year, the clients we welcome book for the following year before leaving,” she says.

“This year, we can see from the traffic on our website that there are a lot of visitors from the United States. I even got a call from a travel agent in the US looking for 350 rooms for two days. That's new, because most customers usually come alone, "said Ms. Halim.

Thousands of visitors

The latter maintains, according to the information it has, that the papal visit could attract nearly 25,000 visitors, to which must be added the participants in the novena.

It is said that the pope alone is traveling with a delegation of 500 people, a reliable source recently mentioned to the Journal.

Either way, the signs seem to be pointing to July 28. Claude Ménard, co-owner of Le Montagnais restaurant, was approached to provide 760 lunch boxes to the RCMP on that date.

“It is sure that it will generate big benefits for the region. [...] It happens after two difficult years in terms of tourism. The novena has all the same gone down over the past five or six years with everything that has happened, ”said Mr. Ménard.

Uncertainty in the air

One question remains. Does the pope have the health to undertake this journey?

“There is a real will on the part of the Vatican to be here. We feel sincere. The work is done. I have meetings on that this afternoon [yesterday]. The City is working, all the police authorities are working together to prepare things. The diocese is the same thing, ”said Bruno Marchand, mayor of Quebec.

“If it is a question of health, only the Holy Father and the Vatican can make the decision, but for the moment, there is no echo that it could be questioned”, he added. .

– With the collaboration of Catherine Bouchard and Jean-Luc Lavallée

"For people who want to book specifically for the Pope's visit, you have to do it fairly quickly"

— Jacques Bouchard, Mayor of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré

“Expectations are very high. [...] I think it will attract people, but not to say that we will receive ten times more people than the city is used to welcoming"

— Claude Ménard, co-owner of Le Montagnais restaurant

“We get a lot of calls”

— Carole Giguère and Michaël Lachance, owners of the Motel

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