S+L logo

Find out what Pope Francis' Trip to Egypt means

April 27, 2017
Cross in Egypt
CNS photo/Amr Abdallah Dalsh, Reuters
The Pope’s agenda this week includes his apostolic and symbolic visit to Egypt.
Greg Burke, Director of the Holy See Press Office, affirmed the Pope Francis' will to send out a positive message. "He is serene, and not naive, because he knows the situation in Egypt," Burke told Vatican Radio. "He knows what happened to the Copts in the past years. He will use a normal covered car, but there will be two moments when he will use the golf car: during the Final Saturday Mass and at the seminary."
Following the double attack to the Coptic churches of Alexandria and Tanta on Palm Sunday, killing more than forty people and leaving nearly a hundred wounded, there was concern surrounding the Pope's trip. The Holy Father, however, maintained his decision to go to Egypt and sent a clear message - the Pope desires to be close to his Christian brothers of the Eastern Church.
This visit has three purposes. First, it has a pastoral dimension. He will be going to encourage the small community of Catholics present in Egypt. Second, it will be an ecumenical one. He intends to meet the leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Tawadros II, and show that unity does exists between Christians. Finally it’s an interreligious trip, since he will be speaking at an international conference on peace and  will meet the Grand Imam of the Al-Azhar University.
Out of nearly 90 million inhabitants, 89% are Sunni Muslims, 10% are Christian Orthodox and less than 1 percent are Catholic, of varying rites. Pope Francis is therefore announcing himself as a messenger of peace.
At the same time, the presence of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I also hopes to bring Christians together and their testimony of unity as a sign for peace in the world.
The Papal Nuncio to Egypt, Msgr. Bruno Musarò spoke of the great enthusiasm of the Egyptians for this visit, including Orthodox and Muslims. Musarò added that some of the pontiff’s gestures, such as the washing of the feet of prisoners or disabled people on Holy Thursday, are very powerful actions that come to the heart of the people, especially if they belong to other religions as it just happened in Egypt recently.
It is his first visit to the country but his second one on the African continent. That trip took place in November 2015. This is also his fourth trip to a country whose population is mainly Muslim. He’s been to Jordan, Turkey and Azerbaijan.

For more on the Pope Francis' visit to Egypt, catch Vatican Connections Fridays at 8 pm ET!


Producer Matteo
Matteo Ciofi is a producer for Salt + Light's Italian-language Sale e Luce. Follow him on Twitter!
Related posts
Pope Francis’ Message for the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees
FacebookTwitter
(CNS photo/Christinne Muschi, Reuters) Welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating migrants and refugees Dear brothers and sisters! “You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the na ...read more
In today’s episode, the Director of the Vatican Observatory and Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno was in the United States for the total solar eclipse. The Vatican released Pope Francis’s mes ...read more
Feeling the Francis Effect
FacebookTwitter
Guest contributor, Elias Crim, is the founder and publisher of Solidarity Hall, a national group blog focused on community renewal and the common good. He also co-hosts Solidarity Hall’s new ...read more
Join us in prayer for the intentions entrusted to us by Pope Francis. For August 2017, we join the Holy Father in praying for: Artists – That artists of our time, through their ingenuity, may he ...read more
Canadians should remember that “everything is connected”
FacebookTwitter
(Among the millions of Canadians who oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada are Roman Catholics, some of whom rallied on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario in June of 2016. CNS photo/Art Bab ...read more