Updated: “Apostolic Journey” by Pope Francis to Hungary in April

  • 13 Apr 2023 4:57 PM
Updated: “Apostolic Journey” by Pope Francis to Hungary in April
Pope Francis will visit Hungary between April 28 and 30, the Holy See said on Monday. “I was happy to hear that Pope Francis accepted my invitation and will visit Hungary,” the Sándor Palace cited President Katalin Novák as saying in a statement.

The three-day “apostolic journey”, the pontiff’s 41st visit abroad since he was elected in 2013, will include meetings with Hungary’s heads of state and government on Friday, the Vatican said. According to the programme of the visit published on katolikus.hu,

Francis will also address state dignitaries in the prime minister’s offices in the Buda Castle. He will meet bishops, priests, monks, seminarists and other religious officials in Budapest’s St Stephen’s Basilica on the same day.

On Saturday, the pontiff is scheduled to meet young people in the Papp Laszlo Arena, and people in need and refugees in a downtown church. He will celebrate mass on Kossuth Square on Sunday.

Cardinal Péter Erdő, the Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, welcomed that the visit would take place in Budapest, adding “we will be happy to receive priests, congregations and pilgrims from Hungary and beyond the borders.”

Hopefully, the meeting “will be an important step on the road we travel together towards Christ”, Erdő said.

The Government Communications Centre welcomed the announcement of the papal visit.

“The Holy Father is an envoy of peace, which the peoples of central and eastern Europe are in great need of,” the centre said in a statement. The government will provide all the assistance necessary for the preparations for state and religious programmes during the visit, the statement added.

Pope's detailed program:

On Friday, April 28, upon his arrival in his capacity as Head of State, the Pope will first meet with the President of the Republic and then with the Prime Minister at the Sándor Palace. On Friday afternoon at 5 pm, the Pope will meet with bishops, priests, deacons, monks, seminarians, and pastoral workers at the St. Stephen's Basilica in Budapest.

Only those with admission tickets will be able to enter the basilica, and participation will be coordinated by dioceses and religious communities. However, the catechists, religious educators, and anyone interested are expected to gather in the square in front of the basilica, where the meeting will also be broadcast on a screen, according to the plans.

On Saturday, April 29, Pope Francis will make a private visit to the Blind Batthyány László Roman Catholic Children's Home founded by Sister Anna Fehér in 1982. The institution provides care for children and students with multiple disabilities and visually impaired children living in state care across the country.

After that, the Pope will meet with the poor and refugees in the St. Elizabeth Church on Rózsák tere in Budapest, organized by the Hungarian Catholic Bishops' Conference, as well as Catholic charitable and social organizations.

On Saturday afternoon, a youth meeting will be held at the Papp László Sports Arena, with the Pope's visit at 4:30 pm as the highlight. The meeting will mainly be attended by Catholic high school and university students, whose registration and participation will be coordinated by dioceses.

On Saturday evening, the Pope will meet with members of the Society of Jesus, that is, Jesuit monks, at the Apostolic Nunciature building.

The hightlight of Pope Francis' visit will be the Holy Mass starting at half past nine on Sunday, April 30, to which the members of the Episcopal body are inviting everyone from Hungary and neighboring countries as well. Sectors will be arranged on Kossuth Square, and the participation in the Holy Mass will be facilitated by projectors placed around the square and nearby areas.

On Sunday afternoon, before his departure, the Pope will visit Pázmány Péter Catholic University. Through the Faculty of Theology, the institution has nearly four centuries of history, but in its current form, it celebrates its 30th anniversary as Hungary's only Catholic university founded by the Holy See in this academic year.

Pope Francis will meet with representatives of the university at the building of the Faculty of Information Technology and Bionics on the occasion of the anniversary, but the leaders of the Catholic universities of Eger and Szeged, as well as the rectors of Catholic colleges, will also be present.

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