Papal visits by Pope Francis since assuming office in 2013
Brazil: July 22 – 29, 2013
He was officially welcomed to Brazil during a ceremony at Guanabara palace and met with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. Throughout the celebrations, Pope Francis gathered up to 3.5 million pilgrims to celebrate mass at Copacabana Beach.
During his vigil address, he urged the pilgrims not to be “part-time Christians”, but to lead full, meaningful lives. The trip was previously scheduled for his predecessor, Benedict XVI, before his resignation.
Pope Francis visited Amman, Bethlehem and Jerusalem during his three-day trip to the region from 24 to 26 May. He arrived in Jordan on May 24thand after meeting with King Abdullah II, celebrated mass at Amman International Stadium.
During his trip, Francis prayed at the Israeli West Bank barrier and also visited the Victims of Acts of Terror Memorial with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He concluded his tour by meeting with Patriarch Bartholomew I to continue inter-faith dialogue with the Orthodox Church.
South Korea: August 14 – 18, 2014
Pope Francis arrived in Seoul Air Base on August 14thto start his five-day visit to South Korea on the occasion of the Sixth Asian Youth Day. Upon arrival, Francis was greeted by South Korean President Park Geun-hye.
Afterwards, he held a private meeting with the families of victims of the MV Sewol ferry disaster.He later made a speech in English, his first as Pope and held the first public mass of his trip on August 15thin front of a 50,000 strong crowd at Daejeon World Cup Stadium where he asked Koreans to “reject inhumane economic models which create new forms of poverty and marginalize workers.”
He beatified the first generation of 124 Korean Martyrs in Gwangwhamun Square on front of an estimated crowd of 800,000 people on August 16th. He concluded his five-day visit with a Mass for peace and reconciliation of the divided Korean peninsula in Seoul’s Myeongdong Cathedral.
Albania: September 21, 2014
Pope Francis announced in his Angelus address on June 15th, 2014 that he would make a one-day visit to the city of Tirana in Albania. Security concerns were raised in the days before the visit after Iraqi governmental officials warned they had received intelligence reports suggesting Islamic fundamentalists may be planning an attempt on the Pope’s life while in Albania.
The 11-hour visit was the first European trip made by Francis. He said in August that he had chosen Albania as the first destination because it has set a model for harmony between the various religions by establishing a national unity government that includes Muslims, Orthodox, and Catholic Christians.
During his stay, he met Albanian President BujarNishani, celebrated mass in Mother Teresa square in Tirana, and met with religious leaders, including those of the Muslim, Orthodox, Bektashi, Jewish and Protestant faiths.
He also honored those persecuted under the rule of former communist dictator EnverHoxha. Some 130 Christian clergy died in detention or were executed during the 1944-1985 dictatorship of Hoxha, who declared Albania the world’s first atheist state in 1967.
Pictures of some of the priests persecuted or executed during the period were hung in Tirana’s main Martyrs of the Nation Boulevard ahead of the Pope’s visit. Albania has since seen a revival of Catholicism partly owing to the popularity of Mother Teresa, who had Albanian origins despite being born in what is now Macedonia.
France: November 25th, 2014
Pope Francis made a four-hour visit, the shortest made by any Pope abroad, to Strasbourg on November 25th, 2014, where he addressed the European Parliament and the Council of Europe raising issues such as the dignified treatment of immigrants arriving illegally in Europe and better conditions for workers.
Turkey: 28 to 30 November, 2014
Pope Francis accepted an invitation to visit Turkey at the behest of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in September 2014. This invitation also came from Patriarch Bartholomew I in order to commemorate the feast day of Saint Andrew. Francis arrived at Esenboga International Airport on November 28th where he was met by Turkish dignitaries before he traveled to Anıtkabir, laying a wreath in memory of the Turkish republic’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
He then traveled to the Presidential Palace where he met with President Erdogan and gave a speech urging interfaith dialogue to counter fanaticism and fundamentalism and called for a renewed Middle-East peace push, saying the region had “for too long been a theatre of wars”.
The following day, Pope Francis visited the Blue Mosque where he prayed silently alongside senior Islamic clerics.
He concluded his visit with a liturgy in the Church of St. George alongside Bartholomew I, asking for his blessing “for me and the Church of Rome” and also urging the re-unification between the two Churches, telling the Orthodox faithful gathered in St. George’s that “I want to assure each one of you gathered here that, to reach the desired goal of full unity, the Catholic Church does not intend to impose any conditions except that of the shared profession of faith”.
Sri Lanka and Philippines: January 13- 19, 2015
Pope Francis’ visit to Philippines was the fourth papal visit to the island nation. Blessed Paul VI visited Philippines in 1970 and St. John Paul II came in 1981 for the beatifications of then Blessed Lorenzo Ruiz and then Blessed Domingo Ibáñez de Erquicia and returned in 1995 for the celebration of the World Youth Day.
Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines in January 2015 had become the largest papal event in history with around 6 to 7 million attending his final mass at Manila surpassing the then largest papal event at World Youth Day 1995 in the same venue 20 years earlier.
Bosnia and Herzegovina: June 6, 2015
Pope Francis announced on February 1st, 2015 that he intended to visit Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 6th June 2015. His visit placed importance on ecumenical dialogue (official theological talks and discussions between two or more churches either branches of the same church or different churches altogether aimed at overcoming the inherited divergences/differences, often doctrinal and church order and principles that separate them).
It is estimated that 67,000 people attended the event.
It was announced by the Holy See in May 2015 that Pope Francis would visit Bolivia in July 2015, as well as two other South American countries, Ecuador and Paraguay.
Prior to the visit, Bolivian President Evo Morales had confirmed that Pope Francis would meet with indigenous organizations on the sidelines of official functions. The schedule released indicated that the Pope would be in Ecuador from 5 – 8th, July and Bolivia from 8–10 July.
In the course of his visit to Ecuador, Pope Francis met President Rafael Correa, visited with priests and seminarians, paid a private visit to a Jesuit priest friend and visited a home for the elderly in Quito.
In his speech after arrival the pope said among other: “Bolivia is making important steps towards including broad sectors in the country’s economic, social and political life. Your constitution recognizes the rights of individuals, minorities and the natural environment, and provides for institutions to promote them.”
Later during the meeting in Government palace Morales awarded Pope Francis with the highest Bolivian state decoration, the Grand Cross of the Order of the Condor of the Andes and with the State decoration of Luis Espinal Camps, named after a Jesuit priest and activist known for his commitment to the disadvantaged people of the country, who was murdered by paramilitary forces in March 1980 for his defense of them.
He also presented the pope with a crucifix in form of a hammer and sickle, which form the symbol of the Communist Party, which he explained had been a form created by Espinal himself in his efforts to identify with the oppressed poor of that country.
The pope also prayed in the place near La Paz where the body of this murdered Jesuit priest was found and by this occasion he highlighted his preaching of the Gospel. Pope Francis also visited the Cathedral of La Paz and after leaving La Paz he traveled to Santa Cruz de la Sierra in the eastern part of Bolivia.
On 9th July Pope Francis celebrated Mass in Santa Cruz de la Sierra connected with the opening of the Fifth National Eucharistic Congress. He also attended the World Meeting of Popular Movements, taking place in Santa Cruz de la Sierra.
This event brought together delegates from popular movements from around the world and there also participated President of Bolivia Evo Morales. Pope Francis expressed in his speech on this event his solidarity with gathered popular movements and their efforts.
Cuba and United States: September 19 – 27, 2015
On September 19th, 2015 Pope Francis departed aboard an AlitaliaA330 (Shepherd One) from Rome’s Fiumicino International Airport, to Havana’s José Martí International Airport where he arrived to an official Welcoming Ceremony.
The next day, he was the principal celebrant at a Papal Mass at the Plaza de la Revolución in Havana, before he paid a courtesy visit to the President of the Council of State and of the Council of Ministers of the Republic at Palacio de la Revolución in Havana.
His day ended with celebrations of Vespers with priests, men and women religious, and seminarians, at the Cathedral of Havana, and a greeting to the young people of the “Centro Cultural Padre Félix Varela” in Havana during the early evening.
On September 21st, he left Havana for Holguín, to preside at a Papal Mass at Plaza de la Revolución. Before departing for Santiago de Cuba, he gave a blessing to the city, from Loma de la Cruz, in Holguín.
Having arrived in Santiago, he met with the Bishops of Cuba at St. Basil the Great Seminary, and say a prayer to the Virgen de la Caridad, with the Bishops and the Papal Entourage, at the Minor Basilica of the Shrine “Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre” in Santiago.
The next day he celebrated a Papal Mass at the Minor Basilica of the Shrine “Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre” in Santiago in the morning and later had a meeting with families at Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral in Santiago.
After a blessing of the city of Santiago from the square in front of the Cathedral of Santiago, he left with a farewell ceremony from Santiago Airport, en route to Washington, D.C., where he arrived at Joint Base Andrews during evening of September 22nd, 2015.
On Wednesday, September 23rd, the Pope met with President Barack Obama at the White House.
Later that day, he celebrated Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, near the Catholic University of America. During the Mass, he canonized (declared to be a Saint) Blessed Father Junípero Serra, a Spanish Franciscan friar who founded a mission in Baja California, and the first nine of 21 Spanish missions in California.
On Thursday, September 24th, Pope Francis gave an address to a Joint session of the United States Congress, the first Supreme Pontiff to do so. He followed that with a visit to St. Patrick’s Church, the oldest parish church in Washington founded in 1794.
He also visited the Washington D.C. local Catholic Charities office. He then flew from Washington, to New York City. After arriving at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, he took part with New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan in Evening Vespers (part of the Liturgy of the Hours), at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
On Friday, September 25th, Pope Francis addressed the United Nations General Assembly. It was the fifth address by a Pope to the U.N. General Assembly, following appearances by Pope Paul VI in October 1965, Pope John Paul II in October 1979 and October 1995, and Pope Benedict XVI in April 2008.
Following the address to the UN, he participated in an ecumenical service at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, at the former World Trade Center site. In the afternoon, he visited a school in East Harlem and then celebrated a Papal Mass at Madison Square Garden.
On Saturday, September 26th, Pope Francis traveled from New York to Philadelphia, where he was welcomed by city and state leaders and Philadelphia’s Archbishop Charles J. Chaput. He celebrated a Papal Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.
He visited Independence Mall in the afternoon and the Festival of Families of the 2015 World Meeting of Familiesin the early evening.
The Pope’s visit concluded on Sunday, September 27th with a Papal Mass in the afternoon. After a departure ceremony, he departed on a jet for Rome and the Vatican.
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