Peace and justice
· Schedule presented for the visit to Sarajevo ·
Peace, reconciliation and dialogue will be the key words of the Holy Father’s visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina on Saturday, 6 June. This visit will be his eighth international visit and the 14th country that Francis has visited as Pope. Invited by the Archbishop, Cardinal Vinko Puljić, the Holy Father will spend less than 12 hours in the country. The extremely tight schedule was presented by Fr Federico Lombardi in the Holy See Press Office on Thursday, 28 May.
Following his visit to Albania, Francis has once again chosen to visit the outskirts of Europe, a place where ecumenical and interreligious dialogue is also important in the context of the peaceful and harmonious coexistence among peoples. Not surprisingly Cardinal Tauran and Cardinal Koch, presidents of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and for Promoting Christian Unity respectively, are also expected to attend.
There will be two central moments during the visit. The first of which will be a Mass at Koševo stadium: the same place where, on 13 April 1997, John Paul II celebrated Mass, encouraging “all peoples and nations torn apart by war” to “Forgive and ask for forgiveness”. Pope Francis’ Mass, according to Fr Lombardi, will be celebrated “for peace and justice” in a symbolic city in Europe, a city whose history recalls with dramatic vigour the suffering of the last century of the entire continent.
Another important moment will take place in the afternoon when, at the International Student Centre, the Pope will participate in an ecumenical and interreligious meeting which is to include representatives of the Catholic, Muslim and Jewish communities. The Director of the Press Office underlined that it will be an important occasion in which to underline a common commitment to overcoming the country’s tension which is often present among religions, and ethnic and political groups.
After the welcome ceremony at the airport, Francis will meet with political and religious authorities at the presidential palace. There will also be an informal dialogue with six local bishops at lunch in the see of the Apostolic Nunciature.
There will be two afternoon appointments: a meeting in the Cathedral with the clergy and men and women religious, and a meeting with youth at a diocesan centre named after John Paul II.
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