Vatican City (Thursday, 08/01/2015, Gaudium Press) Pope Francis’ seventh Apostolic journey, between the 12th and 19th of January, has a fairly precise schedule, with two full days in Sri Lanka, and three full days in the Philippines, with a travel day in between. It will be his third trip to Asia after his visit to the Holy Land and South Korea.
At a press conference in the Vatican on Wednesday, Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, the head of the Holy See Press Office, spoke about the significance of Pope Francis’ upcoming Apostolic Voyage to Sri Lanka and the Philippines, and gave details of the trip.
“In what concerns the Philippines, we know that the Filipino bishops have insisted to welcome the Pope, also to comfort the country after the huge disaster of the typhoon a year ago, which caused immense damage. All of this naturally led to ask the Pope’s presence as a comfort, in compassion for a very suffered people. Also Sri Lanka had the desire to receive the Pope, the desire of the Canonization of Father Vaz, to make a contribution to the pacification of the country. In short, there are a whole series of reasons for the Pope’s trip, “said Father Lombardi.
In Sri Lanka, Pope Francis will stay there for two days (January 13 and 14), just after the presidential elections in that country, which will take place on Thursday the 8.
On the 14th will take place the Mass for the canonization of Fr. Joseph Vaz, a religious missionary who between the seventeenth and eighteenth century promoted an important work of evangelization in Sri Lanka and was beatified 20 years ago by Pope John Paul II. Shortly after, a Marian prayer will be held at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary in Madhu, considered the most well know shrine in the country.
After visiting the chapel of “Our Lady of Lanka” in Bolawalana, on the 15, the Pope will leave for the Philippines, where the faithful are preparing to celebrate 500 years of evangelization, to happen in 2021. In the following day he will participate in several meetings in Manila, including a meeting with Catholic families.
“We must also consider the importance that the family has in the Filipino culture, fundamental, very intense way to live the reality of the family” he pondered.
Later, Pope Francis will visit the areas affected by Typhoon Haiyan. On Saturday 17, in Tacloban City, he will celebrate a Mass. Finally, in Palo, he will be present at a luncheon with some survivors and he will bless the “Pope Francis Center”, who will serve the neediest. (LMI)