Pope Francis will visit Florence for the meeting of Mediterranean’s Bishops and Mayors, confirmed Cardinal Gualtiero Bessetti, Archbishop of Perugia and President of the Italian Episcopal Conference. The meeting is scheduled for February 27, 2022.
The general program is already defined. The Pope will land in private in Florence’s “Luigi Ridolfi” Athletic Stadium at 8:00 am. At 8:30 am he will meet with the Bishops and Mayors in the Palazzo Vecchio’s Sixteenth-Century Hall, where he will give an address. Then he will greet several Mayors in the Leo X Hall. At 9:30 am he will meet with the families of refugees and the displaced in the Arms Room. Finally, at 10:30 am he will celebrate Holy Mass in the Basilica of the Holy Cross. At the end, he will pray the Angelus in the Basilica’s Square, before leaving Florence to return to the Vatican.
In the Wake of Bari
“I express my profound gratitude for this gesture of attention to the initiative, which involves the ecclesial and civil communities of the Mediterranean. As in the previous meeting, which took place in Bari in 2020, the Pope not only blesses the initiative but puts his seal on it, assuring his participation on the final day,” said the Cardinal President.
The Florence meeting will be an opportunity to continue reflecting on the commitments the Holy Father gave us in Bari: to rebuild broken ties, to raise the cities destroyed by violence, to have a garden flower where today there are dry fields, to infuse hope in those that have lost it and to exhort those closed-in on themselves not to fear their brother.” And to look at this, which has already become a cemetery, as a place of future resurrection for the whole area.”
The challenges we are called to address “are a stimulus to overcome the barriers that mark the Mediterranean and to intensify encounter and communion between the sister Churches,” concluded Cardinal Bassetti. “Only by weaving fraternal relations is it possible to promote the integration process. Let’s start again from Florence so that the shores of the Mediterranean are again a symbol of unity and not of borders,” he added.
Translation by Virginia M. Forrester
Full Program for Florence
Departure from the Vatican by helicopter
Arrival at the “Luigi Ridolfi” Athletics Stadium, in private
Palazzo Vecchio- Salone dei Cinquecento: Meeting with the Bishops and the Mayors- Greeting from the Mayor of Florence
– Greeting from the Cardinal President of the Italian Episcopal Conference
– Greeting from the Mayor of a capital city- Address of the Holy Father
Sala d’Arme: Meeting with refugee families (50 people)
Basilica di Santa Croce: Holy Mass At the end, at the entrance to the Basilica in Piazza Santa Croce: Angelus
Departure by helicopter from the “Luigi Ridolfi” Athletics Stadium