Pope's global schedule
Pope Francis’ diary for the coming months shows a diverse schedule. It will include a visit to a former Balkan war-zone, a city in northern Italy and three countries in South America.
On 6 June, the Pope will meet with a number of different groups during a daytrip to Bosnia, on a visit which it is hoped will help to ease political and ethnic tensions after the country’s recent war. Announcing his visit to Sarajevo during a Sunday Angelus in February, he asked pilgrims to pray that the visit would be “one of encouragement for the Catholic faithful, [which] fosters seeds of good and contributes to the consolidation of fraternity and peace.” During the day, he will meet with Bosnia’s president and civic authorities as well as bishops, priests, religious and seminarians. He will also meet with various faith leaders before a final gathering with young Bosnians.
On 21 and 22 June, Pope Francis will spend two days in Turin. While there, he will commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of St John Bosco (pictured right), a 19th-century priest from the Turin region who was a pioneer in vocational education, worked with poor and abandoned children and founded the Salesians, a religious order that specialises in youth work. During his visit, the Pope will meet young people, workers, juvenile detainees, immigrants and the sick. He will also visit his Italian relatives from northern Italy and spend some time venerating the Shroud of Turin.
Pope Francis’ three-country tour of South America is scheduled for the beginning of July, according to reports, starting in Ecuador. He is expected to celebrate Mass on 7 July in the capital Quito, before meeting priests and seminarians the next day at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Presentation of El Quinche.
The trip will be the Pope’s second visit to South America since being elected in March 2013. It is also expected to include stops in Bolivia and Paraguay, two fast-growing countries in recent years, but still among the poorest on the continent. Italian news reports say Pope Francis is expected to fly to La Paz, Bolivia, on 8 July 8 where he would celebrate Mass in the neighbouring city of El Alto — situated at an elevation of more than 4,000 metres (13,000 feet). He would then spend 9 July in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, the country’s economic hub and located at a lower elevation, before moving on to Paraguay on 10 July.
Main photo: Pope Francis is welcomed in the Philippines, 2014 (Credit: Osservatore Romano)