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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

General Audience on Christian witness

This morning's General Audience began at 9:25am (3:25am EDT) in Saint Peter's Square, where the Holy Father, Pope Francis met with groups of pilgrims and the faithful from Italy and from every corner of the world, including a group of 35 Canadian pilgrims who were completing a Marian pilgrimage through Europe.

In his speech, the Pope began a new cycle of catechesis on the Sacrament of Confirmation, focusing his meditation on Christian witness (The biblical passage that was read aloud before His Holiness' catechesis was taken from the gospel of Saint Luke 4:16-18).

After having summarized his catechesis in various languages, the Holy Father offered particular greetings to each group of the faithful in attendance.  He then issued a call, inviting all people to pray for the Catholics in China.

The General Audience concluded with the chanting of the Pater Noster and the Apostolic blessing.

Catechesis of the Holy Father, Pope Francis
for the General Audience

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

After the catecheses on Baptism, these days that follow the Solemnity of Pentecost invite us to reflect on the witness that the Spirit awakens in the baptized, putting their lives in motion and opening their lives to the good of others.  Jesus entrusted a great mission to his disciples: You are the salt of the earth, you are the light of the world (cf Mt 5:13-16).  These are images that make us think about our behaviour because both too little salt and too much salt make food unpalatable, just as a lack of light or excessive light can hinder us from seeing.  Who can truly help us to add just enough salt to make our faith flavourful and to preserve us from corruption, and who can help us to add just enough light so that we can enlighten the world?  Only the Spirit of Christ!  And this is the gift we receive in the Sacrament of Confirmation or Chrism.  I want to stop for a moment to reflect with you about this Sacrament.  It is called Confirmation because it confirms our Baptism and strengthens its graces (cf Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1289); it is also referred to as the Sacrament of Chrism, because of the fact that we receive the Spirit through the anointing with chrism - oil that has been mixed with perfume and consecrated by the Bishop - a term that refers to Christ, the One who has been Anointed by the Spirit.

Being reborn to divine life in Baptism is the first step; it happens and then we must behave as children of God, conforming ourselves to Christ who is at work in the Church by involving ourselves in his mission in the world.  This is what the anointing with the Holy Spirit provides: without his strength, nothing exists within us (cf Pentecost Sequence).  Without the strength of the Holy Spirit we cannot do anything: it is the Spirit that gives us the strength to go on.  Just as the life of Jesus was enlivened by the Spirit, so too, the life of the Church and of every one of her members is guided by this same Spirit.

Conceived by the Virgin through the work of the Holy Spirit, Jesus undertook his mission after having come out of the waters of the Jordan.  He was consecrated by the Spirit, who descended and remained upon Him (cf Mk 1:10; Jn 1:32).  He explicitly declared this truth in the Synagogue in Nazareth: it is beautiful how Jesus presents himself, the identity card that Jesus presents in the synagogue in Nazareth!  Let us listen to how he does it: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; he has consecrated me with an anointing and has sent me to bring good news to the poor (Lk 4:18).  Jesus presented himself in the synagogue in his own village as the Anointed One, the One who was anointed by the Spirit.

Jesus is filled with the Holy Spirit; he is the font of the Spirit promised by the Father (cf Jn 15:26; Lk 24:49; Acts 1:8; 2:33).  In reality, on the evening of Easter Sunday, the Risen One breathed upon his disciples and said to them: Receive the Holy Spirit (Jn 20:22); and on the day of Pentecost, the strength of the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles in an extraordinary way (cf Acts 2:1-4), as we know.

The Breath of the Risen Christ fills the lungs of the Church with life; and indeed the mouths of the disciples, filled with the Holy Spirit, were opened to proclaim the great works of God to all people (cf Acts 2:1-11).

Pentecost - which we celebrated last Sunday - is for the Church the anointing which Jesus received at the Jordan river, which is to say that Pentecost is the missionary motivation for us to give our entire lives for the sanctification of mankind, to the glory of God.  If the Spirit is at work in every sacrament, it is especially at work in a specific way in Confirmation which the faithful receive as a Gift from the Holy Spirit (Paul VI, Divinae consortium naturae).  And at the moment of the anointing, the Bishop says these words: Receive the Holy Spirit who is given to you as a gift: this is the great gift of the Lord, the Holy Spirit.  And we all have the Spirit within us.  The Spirit is in our hearts, in our souls.  The Spirit guides us in life so that we can become salt and light for mankind.

If in Baptism, it is the Holy Spirit who immerses us in Christ, in Confirmation, it is Christ who fills us with his spirit, consecrating us as his witnesses, partakers with him in the same principle of life and the same mission, according to he plan of our heavenly Father.  The testimony given by those who have been Confirmed demonstrates the fact that we have received the Holy Spirit and that we are docile to his creative inspiration.  I wonder: how can we be sure that we have received the Gift of the Spirit?  If we perform the works of the Spirit, if we speak words that we have learned from the Spirit (cf 1 Cor 2:13).  Christian witness consists in doing all that, and only that which the Spirit of Christ asks of us, while He himself grants us the strength we need to do what he asks of us.

The Holy Father's catechesis was then summarized in French, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Polish and Ukrainian.  To English-speaking pilgrims present at this week's General Audience, he said:

Sintesi della catechesi e saluti nelle diverse lingue

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly those from England, Wales, Ireland, India, Philippines, Russia, Vietnam, Canada and the United States of America.

In the continuing joy of our celebration of Pentecost, I invoke upon you and your families a rich outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. May the Lord bless you all!

At the conclusion of the General Audience, the Holy Father said the following:

Tomorrow, 24 May, is the annual feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary Help of Christians, who is particularly venerated in the Shrine at Sheshan, near Shanghai in China.

This anniversary invites us to be spiritually united with all the Catholic faithful who are living in China.  We pray to Our Lady for them, so that they may live their faith with generosity and sincerity, and so that they may be able to carry out concrete gestures of fraternity, concord and reconciliation in full communion with the Successor of Peter.

Beloved disciples of the Lord in China, the universal Church is praying with you and for you, that even in the midst of difficulties, you may continue to entrust yourselves to God's will.  May Our Lady never fail to help you and to care for you with her motherly love.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

General Audience on rebirth in Baptism

This morning's General Audience began at 9:20am local time (3:20am EDT) in Saint Peter's Basilica where the Holy Father, Pope Francis met with groups of pilgrims and the faithful from Italy and from all corners of the world.

In his speech, the Pope added his meditation on Baptism 5: Re-creation (Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans 6:4).

After summarizing his catechesis in various languages, the Holy Father offered greetings to each group of the faithful in attendance.

The General Audience concluded with the chanting of the Pater Noster and the Apostolic blessing.

Catechesis of the Holy Father, Pope Francis
for the General Audience

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

The catechesis about the sacrament of Baptism leads us to speak today about the holy lavacro (washing) accompanied by the invocation of the Holy Trinity, which is the central rite that specifically baptizes - which is to say immerses us - in the Paschal mystery of Christ (cf Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1239).  Saint Paul reminds the Christians in Rome about the meaning of this gesture; he begins by asking: Do you not know that when we were baptized, we were buried together with him in death so that, as Christ was raised from the dead, we too can walk in a newness of life (Rom 6:4).  Baptism opens the door to a life of resurrection, not to a worldly life.  A life according to Jesus.

The baptismal font is the place where we celebrate Easter with Christ!  The old man is buried, with his deceitful passions (cf Eph 4:22), so that a new creature can be born; truly, old things have passed and new things are born (cf 2 Cor 5:17).  In the Catechesis attributed to Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, the newly-baptized receive explanations about what happened to them in the waters of Baptism.  Saint Cyril's explanation is beautiful: At the same instant you died and were born, and the same wave of greeting became for you both a tomb and a mother (n. 20, Mystagogia, 2, 4-6; PG 33, 1079-1082).  The rebirth of the new man demands that the man who is corrupted by sin be reduced to dust.  The images of the tom and of te maternal womb used to describe the font are in fact very incisive to express great truths that take place through the simple gestures of Baptism.  I like to cite the inscription that is found in the ancient Roman Baptistry at the Lateran, in which we read, in Latin, an expression attributed to Pope Sixtus III: The Mother Church gives birth to virginity and conceives of her children through the breath of God.  Those who have been born again from this font now look forward to the kingdom of heaven (Virgineo fetu genitrix Ecclesia natos / quos spirante Deo concipit amne parit. / Caelorum regnum sperate hoc fonte renati).  This is beautiful: the Church which brings us to birth, the Church that is a womb, is our mother through Baptism.

If our parents have given us earthly life, the Church has granted us rebirth into eternal life through Baptism.  We have become children in his Son Jesus (cf Rom 8:15; Gal 4:5-7).  Over all of us too, who have been reborn in water and the Holy Spirit, our heavenly Father's voice resounds with infinite love, saying: You are my beloved son (cf Mt 3:17).  This paternal voice, which is imperceptible to our ears but audible to the hearts of those who believe, accompanies us throughout our entire lives; it never abandons us.  Throughout our entire lives, the Father says to us: You are my beloved son, you are my beloved daughter.  God loves us so much, like a Father, and he never leaves us alone.  This is true from the moment of our Baptism.  Reborn as children of God, we are his children forever!  In fact, Baptism is never repeated, because we have been marked with an indelible spiritual seal: This seal can never be wiped out by any sin, although sin prevents Baptism from bringing forth the fruits of salvation (Catechism, 1272).  The seal of Baptism can never be lost!  But father, if a person becomes a criminal, even a notorious one, who kills people, who brings about injustice, can the seal be broken?  No.  It is to his own shame that the son of God who is that man carries out such acts, but the seal never goes away.  He continues in perpetuity to be a son of God, who goes against God but who God will never renounce, for God never denies his children.  Have you understood this last part?  God will never deny his children.  Can we repeat this together? God will never deny his children.  A little bit louder, so that I - I am a bit deaf - can hear you (they repeat more loudly) God will never deny his children.  There, very good.

Made one in Christ through Baptism, those who are baptized are therefore conformed to Him: the first-born among many (Rom 8:29).  Through the action of the Holy Spirit, Baptism purifies, sanctifies, justifies, in order to form in Christ, one body out of many (cf 1 Cor 6:11-13).  This is expressed in the anointing with the Oil of Chrism: a sign of the royal priesthood of the baptized and of the inclusion of the newly baptized into the community of the people of God (Rite of Baptism of Children, Introduction, n. 18, 3).  Therefore, using the sacred Chrism, the priest anoints the head of the person who is baptized, after having spoken the words that explain its significance: God himself consecrates you with the chrism of salvation, so that as a part of Christ, the priest, prophet and king, you may be a member of his body for eternal life (Rite of Baptism of Children, n. 71).

Brothers and sisters, the Christian vocation is entirely here present: life united to Christ in the holy Church, participating in the same consecration in order to carry out the same mission, in this world, bearing fruit that will last forever.  In fact, enlivened by the same Spirit, the entire People of God participate in the work of Jesus Christ, Priest, Prophet and King, and bear the responsibility for the mission and service that derive from them (cf Catechism, 783-786).  What does it mean to participate in the royal and prophetic priesthood of Christ?  It means making ourselves a pleasing offering to God (cf Rom 12:1), testifying to him through a life of faith and charity (cf Lumen gentium, 12), placing ourselves at the service of others, following the example of the Lord Jesus (cf Mt 20:25-28; Jn 13:13-17).  Thank you.

The Holy Father's catechesis was then summarized in various languages and he offered greetings to each group of the faithful in attendance.  To the English-speaking pilgrims, he said:

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly those from England, Finland, Indonesia, the Philippines, Canada and the United States of America. In a special way, I greet the “small farmers” from various countries meeting in Italy, with gratitude for their contribution to feeding our world. In the joy of the Risen Christ, I invoke upon you and your families the loving mercy of God our Father. May the Lord bless you all!

Synod of Bishops at work

Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri
From 7 to 8 May 2018, the fourth meeting of the XIV Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops took place, presided over by the Holy Father, Pope Francis.

The work began with a presentation by the Secretary General of the Synod, His Eminence, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri.  In his greetings, His Eminence thanked His Holiness for his presence and retraced the journey that has been undertaken in preparation for the XV Ordinary General Assembly.  In particular, the Secretary General focused on the preparation of the draft copy of the Instrumentum laboris, which was developed in collaboration with a group of experts who gathered material which was offered from five sources: responses to the Questionnaire at the end of the Preparatory Document by those Organizations who had the right to submit their answers; responses to the Questionnaire which were received online from youth; the proceedings from the International Seminar on the situation of young people held in September 2017; the observations that were freely submitted by individuals and groups; and the final Document from the Pre-synodal Meeting which was held from 19 to 24 March 2018.  Cardinal Baldisseri referred to this event, pointing out the lively participation of the young people who had come from many parts of the world to represent various ecclesial and extra-ecclesial realities.

Following the Secretary General's remarks, the draft of the Instrumentum laboris was presented; this was the main focus of the meeting.  The text generated an interesting exchange of opinions in the form of suggestions and observations which were incorporated in the document, in order to furnish the Synod Fathers with a more adequate instrument for their discussions in the Synod Hall.  The amended text was approved by all the participants.

The members of the Ordinary Council discussed some organizational matters and criteria for the Synod of Bishops and for the upcoming Ordinary General Assembly.  A presentation on these matters, which was made by His Excellency, Fabio Fabene, Under-secretary of the Synod of Bishops was followed by a fruitful exchange of opinions.

Finally, the Holy Father thanked the members of the Council and the participants for their contributions and for the spirit of fraternal communion in which the meeting had taken place.

A special visit

On Friday of this week (11 May), Metropolitan Rastislav, Archbishop of Prešov, Primate of the Orthodox Church of the Czech territory and of Slovakia will visit the Holy Father at the Vatican.  This is the first time that this Metropolitan will visit with Pope Francis since his election in January 2014.

During his stay in Rome, from 9 to 12 May, the Metropolitan will meet with His Eminence, Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.  The Metropolitan will also celebrate the Divine Liturgy at the tomb of Saint Cyril inside the Basilica of San Clemente.

The Orthodox Church of the Czech territory and of Slovakia is one of the 14 independent Orthodox Churches who belong to the Byzantine tradition, which traces its roots to the great evangelization of Greater Moravia by Saints Cyril and Methodius.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Video Message to Buenos Aires

The Holy Father, Pope Francis has sent a video message to those who are participating in the second International Forum on Modern Slavery, organized by the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew I, Archbishop of Constantinople in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires (Argentina) and with the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodov Institute in Berkeley (California, USA).  The Forum, which is focused on the theme: Old problems in the new world, is taking place from 5 to 8 May at the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Buenos Aires.

Video Message of His Holiness, Pope Francis
addressed to participants taking part in the
International Forum on Modern Slavery

Dear brothers and sisters,

I welcomed your invitation to send a greeting to you who are participating in this Forum on the modern forms of slavery: Old problems in the new world, organized by the Orthodox Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, which is guided by the beloved Metropolitan Tarasios, and by the Orthodox Atenágoras Patriarchate of Berkeley (California) under the patronage of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.  First of all, I express my heartfelt gratitude to the Ecumenical Patriarch, His Holiness, Bartholomew I, and to the Archbishop of Canterbury, His Grace, Justin Welby who inaugurated this Forum last year.  It comforts me to know that we share the same preoccupation for the victims of modern slavery.

Slavery is not a phenomenon that belongs to former times.  It is a practice that has deep roots, one that is still practiced today in many various forms: trafficking of human beings, exploitation of work through debt, exploitation of children, sexual exploitation and forced domestic work are some of the many forms.  Each one is more serious and inhuman than the others.  Despite the lack of information available to us from some regions of the world, the figures are dramatically elevated and, most likely, underestimated.  According to some recent statistics, there are more than 40 million people, men, but above all women and children, who suffer from slavery.  Simply to give us an idea, we can think that if all those people lived in a single city, it would be the largest metropolis on our planet and it would contain - more or less - four times the population of the entire urban area of Buenos Ares including greater Buenos Aires.

Faced with this tragic reality, none of us can wash our hands if we do not want to be seen, in some way or another, as an accomplice to this crime against humanity.  The first task that is imposed is that of putting into action a strategy that will allow for the spreading of greater knowledge about the subject, tearing the veil of indifference that seems to cover the fate of this portion of humanity that suffers, that is suffering.  It seems that many do not wish to understand the extent of the problem.  There are some who, since they are directly involved in criminal organizations, do not want to be spoken about, simply because they derive high levels of profit from these new forms of slavery.  There are also some who, even though they know the problem, do not wish to speak because that is where the chain of consumption ends, as a consumer of the services offered by men, women and children who have been turned into slaves.  We cannot afford to be distracted: we are all being called to move away from any form of hypocrisy and to face the reality that we are part of the problem.  The problem is not in the opposing lane: it involves me.  We are not allowed to look away and to declare your ignorance or our innocence.

A second great task is to act in favour of those who are converted into slaves:  to defend their rights, to prevent those who are corrupt and criminals alike from escaping justice and from having the final word about exploited persons.  It is not enough for just some States and International Organizations to adopt a particularly harsh policy in order to punish the exploitation of human beings, if afterwards, the root causes are not addressed, the deepest roots of the problem.  When countries suffer extreme poverty, suffer violence and corruption, neither the economy nor the legislative framework nor the most basic of infrastructures are effective; they fail to guarantee essential security, assets or rights.  In this way, it is much easier for the perpetrators of these crimes to continue acting with total impunity.  In addition, there is a sociological fact: proponents of organized crime and illegal trafficking of human beings choose their victims from among persons who have little means of subsistence and even less hope for the future.  To be even clearer: they are among those who are the poorest, the most neglected, the most discarded.  The basic response lies in creating opportunities for integral human development, starting with quality education: this is the key point, quality education from early childhood, in order to continue creating new opportunities for growth through employment.  Education and employment.

This is immense work, which requires courage, patience and perseverance; it requires a common and global effort on the part of the different actors who contribute to society.  The Churches must also take up their part in this effort. While individuals and groups speculate shamefully about slavery, we Christians, working together, are called to develop more and more collaboration, in order to overcome all kinds of inequality, all kinds of discrimination, which are precisely the factors that make it possible for one man to make another man a slave.  A common compromise in order to face this challenge will be a valuable aid toward creating a renewed society oriented toward freedom, justice and peace.

I hope that this Forum will be successful; I ask the Lord to bless you and to bless the work that you are doing.  And, please, do not forget to pray for me.  Thank you.

In defence of all human life

Being pro-life is one of the deepest expressions of our baptism: we stand up as sons and daughters of the light, clothed in humility and charity, filled with conviction, speaking the truth to power with firmness, conviction and determination, and never losing joy and hope. Being Pro-Life is not an activity for a political party or a particular side of the spectrum. It is an obligation for everyone: left, right and centre! If we are Pro-Life, we must engage the culture around us, and not curse it. We must see others as Jesus does, and we must love them to life, even those who are opposed to us. To March for Life in Ottawa, Washington and in many other cities of the world means that we stand up for all human life, and we do not have a myopic view of the cause of life. Being pro-life in this day and age is truly prophetic, and it will bring about authentic development and enduring peace in our world.

The burning issues of the promotion of human life, from conception to natural death, must be high on the agenda of every human being on every side of the political spectrum. They are not only the concern of the far right of the political spectrum. Many people, blinded by their own zeal and goodness, have ended up defeating the very cause for which we must all defend with every ounce of energy in our flesh and bones. What is wrong with abortion, euthanasia, embryo selection, and embryonic research is not the motives of those who carry them out. So often, those motives are, on the surface, compassionate: to protect a child from being unwanted, to end pain and suffering, to help a child with a life-threatening disease. But in all these cases, the terrible truth is that it is the strong who decide the fate of the weak; human beings therefore become instruments in the hands of other human beings.

Today we live in the midst of a culture that denies human solidarity and takes the form of a veritable culture of death. This culture is actively fostered by powerful cultural, economic and political currents that encourage an idea of society exclusively concerned with efficiency. It is a war of the powerful against the weak. There is no room in the world for anyone who, like the unborn or the dying, is a weak element in the social structure or anyone who appears completely at the mercy of others and radically dependent on them and can only communicate through the silent language of profound sharing of affection. Human life has a sacred and religious value, but in no way is that value a concern only of believers. There is no question that abortion is the most serious wound inflicted not only on individuals and their families who should provide the sanctuary for life, but inflicted as well on society and its culture, by the very people who ought to be society’s promoters and defenders. But immigration issues are also critical pro-life issues in our day. The lives of 800,000 Dreamers in America are pro-life issues. The separation of families at US borders is a pro-life issue. Wrongful incarceration of thousands of young people in holding facilities along the southern US border with Mexico is a pro-life issue. Care of the environment is also a critical pro-life issue for the world.

In Pope Francis’ recent Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate (On the Call to Holiness), he challenges each of us who consider ourselves to be Pro-Life. He speaks of dangerous ideologies which may at times misguide us in our efforts to march for life (GE, 101):
The other harmful ideological error is found in those who find suspect the social engagement of others, seeing it as superficial, worldly, secular, materialist, communist or populist. Or they relativize it, as if there are other more important matters, or the only thing that counts is one particular ethical issue or cause that they themselves defend. Our defence of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred and demands love for each person, regardless of his or her stage of development. Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned and the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to covert euthanasia, the victims of human trafficking, new forms of slavery, and every form of rejection. We cannot uphold an ideal of holiness that would ignore injustice in a world where some revel, spend with abandon and live only for the latest consumer goods, even as others look on from afar, living their entire lives in abject poverty.
In the coming days, tens of thousands of people – many of them young men and women – will descend upon Ottawa to March for Life on May 10, 2018. Let us never forget to reflect upon what we do as individuals and as a community as we stand up for life – ALL human life. Building a culture of life and ending abortion is the duty and obligation of each and every person. But the litmus test for being pro-life is not only attending rallies or marches during the year in major cities of the world. The real test is what we do for life the remaining 364 days of the year, and what efforts, great and small, do we embrace to consistently and systematically oppose any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia or willful self-destruction, violations of human dignity, and coercions of the will. How do we advocate for those who endure subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, human trafficking and disgraceful working conditions and wrongful, unjust immigration policies? All of these things and more poison human society. We must strive for a strong, consistent ethic for life.

Our common home has become a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion.  During his brief pastoral visit to Sweden in October 2016, Pope Francis proposed six new beatitudes for the modern era on the Feast of All Saints:

Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others, and forgive them from their heart;

Blessed are those who look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalized, and show them their closeness;

Blessed are those who see God in every person, and strive to make others also discover him;

Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home;

Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others;

Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians.

May these powerful words of Pope Francis be a guiding light and source of instruction, inspiration, consolation and hope to the people of our country as we march for life and defend human life – from conception to natural death – from womb to tomb. May the beatitudes compel us to move forward with boldness and courage, as we welcome, love and protect the poorest, weakest and most vulnerable among us.
(Written by Rev. Thomas Rosica, CSB)
(Texte en français)

Ecumenical pilgrimage to Switzerland

Next month, the Holy Father pay an Ecumenical Pilgrimage to Geneva (Switzerland).  The Holy See Press Centre issued the programme for the one-day visit this morning:

Pope Francis at prayer in the Lund Cathedral
October 31, 2016
Itinerary for the Ecumenical pilgrimage of His Holiness, Pope Francis
to Geneva (Switzerland)

21 June 2018
Departure of the aircraft from Rome's Fumicino International Airport

Arrival at the International Airport in Geneva (Switzerland)

Welcoming cermony
Private Meeting with the President of the Swiss Confederation
in a room at the airport

Ecumenical Prayer in the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Centre
Homily by the Holy Father
Lunch with the Leadership of the WCC at the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey

Ecumenical Meeting at the WCC Ecumenical Centre
Speech by the Holy Father

Holy Mass at the Palexpo
Homily by the Holy Father

Official departure

Departure of the aircraft from Geneva

Arrival at Rome's Ciampino International Airport