(Vatican Radio) The Holy See has announced the schedule for Pope Francis’ Apostolic Voyage to Albania, set for 21 September 2014. It will be the second visit of a Pope to Albania, after Pope St John Paul II’s visit to the country in 1993.
Pope Francis trip will begin with a welcoming ceremony at Tirana’s “Mother Teresa” international airport, where he will be greeted by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama. From the airport the Pope will travel to the Presidential Palace where he will pay a courtesy visit to the President, Bujar Nishani. Afterwards he will address representatives of the civil authorities.
The high point of the Voyage will be the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in Mother Teresa Square, followed by the recitation of the Angelus. After Mass, the Holy Father will meet with the Bishops of Albania for lunch at the Apostolic Nunciature.
In the afternoon, Pope Francis will meet with leaders of other religions and other Christian denominations at the Catholic University “Our Lady of Good Counsel.”
The Holy Father will travel to the Cathedral of St Paul in the evening to celebrate Vespers with priests, religious sisters and brothers, seminarians, and members of various lay movements.
The final event on a busy schedule will be a meeting with children of the “Centro Betania,” along with representatives from other charitable institutions of Albania.
Although Pope Francis’ Apostolic Voyage will be only the second visit by a reigning Pope, four other Roman Pontiffs have ties to the country: Pope St Eleutherius, Pope St Caius, and Pope John IV were all born in what is now Albania, while the ancestors of Pope Clement XI also hailed from the country.