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Vatican presents Pope's trip to Albania

2014-09-15

Next Sunday, September 21st, Pope Francis will travel to Albania. The visit will be his fourth international trip but the first to a European country outside of Italy. 

The Pope is expected to arrive at 9:00am. From there he will travel to the Presidential palace for the opening ceremony where he will address civil authorities. 

In a briefing today, Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi said that the highlight of the trip will be at 10:30am, when he makes his way towards Mother Teresa Square and celebrate Mass.

FR. FEDERICO LOMBARDI 
Director, Holy See Press Office

"At 11am, the Holy Mass will be celebrated in Mother Teresa Square in Tirana. The Mass willbe open to the public, the Holy Father will deliver a homily and will close with the Sunday Angelus.” 

Fr. Lombardi also said that during the Mass, the second reading that will be read will be of special significance to the Albanian people. St. Paul recounts his visit to Illyria, an area that is now know as present day Albania. 

FR. FEDERICO LOMBARDI 
Director, Holy See Press Office

"Illyria is the exact region where Albania is found, right after Dalmatia. So, for the Albanian people, this text is a witness to the fact that their religious, Christian and Ecclesial tradition goes back to the times of the Apostles. And they consider St. Paul as the first evangelizer of their country.”

In the afternoon, he will meet with leaders from the 6 religions in the country. They include Muslim, Catholic, Orthodox, Evangelical, Jewish and Bektashi, a Suffi Islamic fraternity

In the evening, he will pray Vespers at the newly built Cathedral of St. Paul with priests, religious, seminarians and various lay movements. Fr. Lombardi said that two survivors of the religious persecutions that occurred in the 1940s will give their witness. 

FR. FEDERICO LOMBARDI 
Director, Holy See Press Office

"It will begin not only with the witness of the Archbishop of Tirana, but also of two very important witnesses. First, from an 80 year old priest and then an 80 year old nun who are living witnesses of the time of persecution and have much to say.”

The Pope will then visit the Betania Center, an organization that cares for abandoned children. From there, he will head to the airport and arrive in Rome at 9:30pm. 


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