VATICAN Pope’s trip to Budapest and Slovakia begins tomorrow

It will be a visit to cities that “have suffered a regime of repression of faith and religious freedom”. A journey of a spiritual nature in countries with policies far removed from the ideas of Francis, particularly in terms of hospitality. In the Hungarian capital, the closing of the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress, whose theme is “All my sources are in you”.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – A journey among peoples “who suffered a repressive regime of faith and religious freedom”, a visit of a spiritual nature “which should not be mixed with other types of reading”. During the presentation of the 34th international trip of Pope Francis – who will visit Budapest and Slovakia between tomorrow and Wednesday – the director of the Vatican Press Office, Matteo Bruni, tried to distance political visions concerning the presence of Francisco in countries that are part of the “Visegrad group”. These nations promote policies far removed from the ideas of the pope, particularly in the area of ​​hospitality, as well as those of the European Community. It will be “a spiritual journey”, which will begin with the Eucharist and will end in the National Sanctuary of Šaštín, built 250 years ago and dedicated to the Virgin to whom popular tradition attributes the title of “Our Lady of Seven Sorrows “, patron of Slovakia.

A trip to countries with a Catholic tradition, where bishops, priests and lay people were persecuted, imprisoned and killed under the communist regime, but who nevertheless resisted in what was “the Church of silence”, between secret ordinations and police espionage . In both Hungary and Slovakia, meetings are also planned with Jewish groups badly affected by the Nazi persecution in both countries, which reduced a community almost seven times larger to around 20,000 people.

The first stage, tomorrow, will be in Budapest, for the closing of the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress, whose theme is “All my sources are in you“. The visit will focus on Budapest and not on Hungary. The Pope will stay there for less than seven hours – from 7:45 a.m. to 2:40 p.m. – and the central moment will be the celebration of the closing mass of the Congress. On the program, meetings with bishops, representatives of the Ecumenical Council of the Church and of the Jewish communities Bergoglian vision, which advocates welcoming It is significant that both take part in the meeting, and that no speeches are planned.

This is the second time that the Eucharistic Congress has been celebrated in Hungary. The first took place in 1938, but was vetoed by Hitler, who forbade the participation of German Catholics. The current Congress is being held while witnessing a process of Catholic cultural renewal, witnessed by the success of the country’s Catholic schools, such as Mons. Csaba Ternyak, Archbishop of Eger.

Tomorrow afternoon the Pope will arrive in Bratislava, where he will be received by the Head of State, Ms. Zuzana Čaputová. After his passage to the nunciature, he will hold an ecumenical meeting, in addition to the already traditional one with the Jesuits of the country.

On Monday 13, in Bratislava, there will be an official welcome and meetings with the authorities, the diplomatic corps and representatives of civil society in the garden of the Presidential Palace. Then there will be meetings with bishops, priests, men and women religious, seminarians and catechists in the Cathedral of San Martín. In the afternoon, you will visit the “Centro de Belén” of the Missionaries of Charity. Immediately afterwards, he will meet the Jewish community in Rybné námestie Square. There was the Neolog Synagogue, which was demolished in 1969 by the Communist government, and the whole ghetto. Currently, a black wall with the image of the synagogue and a monument to the Shoah (the Holocaust) stand in the square in memory of the 105,000 murdered Jews of Slovakia.

In the afternoon, the Pope will stay at the Nunciature, where he will receive the President of Parliament, Boris Kollár, and Prime Minister Eduard Heger.

Tuesday will be devoted to visits to Košice and Prešov, where he will celebrate the Byzantine Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom. In Košice, he will visit the major seminary of Saint-Charles Borromeo, which currently hosts about fifty theology students.

In the afternoon, Francis will go to the Luník IX district. For thirty years, this place has concentrated the largest Roma population in Slovakia, living in precarious conditions. A Salesian mission is present there. The last meeting will be with the young people, at the Lokomotiva stadium. At the end of the meeting, the pontiff will return to Bratislava.

On Wednesday, the last day of the trip, the pope will travel 71 kilometers to the national sanctuary of Šaštín, dedicated to “Our Lady of Seven Sorrows”, where he will celebrate a mass. At 1:30 p.m. there will be a farewell ceremony at Bratislava airport, and it is estimated that the pope will land at Ciampino airport around 3:30 p.m. This will conclude Francisco’s first trip after his colon operation. No “special health measures” will be observed, as Matteo Bruni commented during the briefing. “The sanitary measures are already quite strict. There is always a doctor and nurses on board, but there are no special measures.” Answering the question of whether the nurse who saved the life of the Pope will be on board – like the Pontiff -even commented on it in an interview with radioBruni replied that “the presence is the usual one”.

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