Pope’s three-day trip in September to Budapest and Slovakia
The visit includes the conclusion of the International Eucharistic Congress, a divine liturgy in memory of the Greek-Catholic martyrs, a meeting with a representative of the Roma community, as well as a tête-à-tête with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis will travel to Budapest and Slovakia between 12 and 15 September.
The three-day trip includes the conclusion of the International Eucharistic Congress, a divine liturgy in memory of Greek Catholic martyrs, and a meeting with Roma community leaders. Francis will also meet local Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Budapest.
The theme of the pontiff’s 34th trip – “With Mary and Joseph on the way to Jesus” – was chosen to express "the prayer that Pope Francis' visit to Slovakia may strengthen faith and renew the desire to follow in the footsteps of the Lord Jesus, who 'did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life’ (Mt 20:28)”.
The first stop will be Budapest, where the Pope will arrive at 7.45 am. This is not an official visit to Hungary. In the Hungarian capital, Francis will take part in the closing ceremony of the International Eucharistic Congress.
Before celebrating Mass in Heroes' Square, the pontiff will meet with Hungarian President János Áder and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at the Museum of Fine Arts. No speech is planned for this occasion.
Later, at the same venue, Francis will first address a meeting with Hungary’s bishops, then one with representatives of the Ecumenical Council of Churches and some Jewish communities in Hungary.
At 11.30, Francis will go to Heroes' Square to mark the end of the International Eucharistic Congress with a solemn Mass and the recitation of the Angelus, following which he will travel to the airport to depart for Bratislava, scheduled at 2.40 pm.
After arriving in the capital of Slovakia around 3.30 pm, the Pope will hold an ecumenical meeting in the nunciature followed – as is customary in every apostolic journey – by a meeting with members of the Society of Jesus.
The following day, Monday 13 September, there will be an official welcome ceremony at 9.15 am at the Presidential Palace and a courtesy visit to President Zuzana Čaputová, which will be followed by a meeting with government authorities, diplomatic corps and representatives of civil society groups.
Afterwards, Francis will travel to the Cathedral of Saint Martin to meet the country’s bishops, priests, men and women religious, seminarians and catechists.
In the afternoon, after a private visit to the Bethlehem Center in Bratislava, Francis will meet the Jewish community in Rybné Námestie Square, where the Neolog synagogue used to stand.
In the evening, he will meet with Parliamentary Speaker Boris Kollár and Prime Minister Eduard Heger.
On Tuesday 14 September Francis will be in Košice, Slovakia’s second largest city, on the eastern border, near Poland, Ukraine and Hungary, on the Horná River. He will then travel to Prešov, the country’s third largest city, a major cultural centre, on the Torysa River.
In Košice, land of Greek Catholic martyrs, he will lead the Divine Byzantine liturgy of St John Chrysostom. In the afternoon he will go to the Luník IX district, on the outskirts of the city where the Roma community has lived for over thirty years. At 5 pm, he will greet young people at the Lokomotiva Stadium. He will leave at 6.30 pm for Bratislava, arriving an hour later.
On his last day, Wednesday 15 September, Francis will be in Šaštin, Trnava region. Here, two events are scheduled. At 9.10 am, a moment of prayer will be held with the bishops at the National Shrine, dedicated 250 years ago to Our Lady, known according to local tradition as "Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows". This will be followed by the final Mass at 10 am.
At 1.30 pm, the Pope will depart Slovakia for Rome with arrival in Ciampino scheduled for 3.30 pm.