Pope Francis will visit Hungary and attend the mass concluding the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress on September 12, Cardinal Péter Erdő told MTI on Monday.
As we wrote before, the visit was pushed back from 2020 when the entire congress was postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The visit is “great joy for the conference and gives us hope and consolation in these hard times,” Erdő said. The “statio orbis” mass celebrated for the city and the world is the peak of the eucharistic congress, he said. “It is therefore fitting and customary” that the pope should attend it when taking part in the conference, he added.
Hungary will organise the event for the second time. The first occasion, the 34th congress held in 1938, ended with a holy mass that attracted half a million believers to Heroes’ Squares in Budapest.
The congress will be held between September 5 and 12, and will feature religious events, a conference, lectures and concerts.
According to Catholic News Agency,
Pope Francis said that his attendance at the Sept. 12 Mass in Hungary would not include a tour of the country. Budapest is a two-hour drive from the Slovakian capital, Bratislava/Pozsony, and raised the question of whether the trip should be combined with a visit there, he said.
During Pope John Paul II papacy, the pope paid two official visits to Hungary: first was in 1991, he visited in Esztergom, Máriapócs, Pécs, Budapest, Szombathely, and Debrecen. Five years later, in 1996, he additionally visited Győr and Pannonhalma Archabbey.
Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony welcomed the news and said it was a “joy and honour” to host the pope in the city. He cited on Facebook the pope’s latest Encyclical as promoting a “popularism enabling individual development and focusing on human dignity, and protecting work as the most important aspect of social life” over populism, which “abuses its mandate to serve its own interests and to enrich itself”.
Karácsony noted that
the pope had called for handling poverty locally, “through local councils and on a basis of solidarity and subsidiarity”.
The mayor noted he had been among those to issue an invitation to the pope to the original congress in 2020.
Pope Francis ended his historic tour of Iraq on Monday, departing by plane from Baghdad after visiting conflict-torn cities, meeting Muslim and Christian leaders and preaching peace and coexistence over war.
Francis waved one last time from before boarding a plane flying the Vatican and Iraqi flags from its cockpit windows. President Barham Salih accompanied the 84-year-old pontiff down a red carpet to his flight.
During Francis’s trip, the first ever papal visit to Iraq, he toured four cities, including Mosul, the former Islamic State stronghold where vast areas still lie in ruins, telling Iraqis that “peace is more powerful than war.”
Iraq would “always remain with me, in my heart”.
The pontiff, who walked with a limp during parts of the frantic tour, also made a historical first in meeting Iraq’s Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s top Shi’ite Muslim cleric.
Iraqis welcomed the pope and said it was a chance for the world to see their perpetually crisis-hit nation in a new light.
Iraq suffers from chronic mismanagement and corruption, and a steady level of violence often linked to the region’s U.S.-Iran rivalry 18 years after the United States invaded.