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A visit to Lampedusa

Pope Francis will go to Lampedusa next Monday, 8 July, to pray for the victims of immigration and to ensure that not only Europe but the whole world will at last open their eyes to this drama. While Fr Federico Lombardi, sj, Director of the Holy See Press Office, accompanied the information he gave to journalists with an expression of the Pontiff's deep sorrow about the wreck of a ship transporting migrants from Africa — the most recent in a whole series of such tragedies — the Prefecture of the Papal Household published the programme of a morning already laden with expectations. The Holy Father will depart from the Military Airport of Ciampino at 8:00 a.m. The aircraft will land on the Island after a flight of an hour and a half. The Pope will then be driven to Cala Pisana, from which he will go by boat to the port of Lampedusa. Sicilian fishermen will escort the Pope's vessel in their boats. Once he has put out to sea, Pope Francis will throw a wreath of flowers into the water in remembrance of the victims of the many wrecks. He will then arrive at the port of Punta Favarolo. He will find waiting for him here on the quayside a group of immigrants with whom he will have a few minutes of conversation before going by car to the Sports Arena in Salina, where he is to celebrate Mass with Archbishop Francesco Montenegro of Agrigento. The Holy Father will then pay a brief visit to the Parish of San Gerlando. At 12:45 p.m. he will depart on his return flight to the Vatican.

In the meantime the Prefecture of the Papal Household has announced that all the General Audiences in the month of August have been cancelled. They will be resumed as usual on Wednesday, 4 September. On Sundays in August the Holy Father will continue to lead the recitation of the Angelus in the Vatican. In addition, on Thursday, 15 August, the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary Most Holy, he will celebrate Mass in the Parish of Castel Gandolfo and will afterwards lead the Marian Prayer from the Papal Summer Residence.

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