Let's begin today in Rome where late last week, the Pope released his monthly prayer intention video. For the month of September, the Pope is asking that we join him in praying for parishes, so that they may continue in the service of others and in the transmission of the faith.
Tomorrow is a big day for the people of Colombia as they prepare to greet the Pope during the long-anticipated papal journey to that country. The Pope's mission to Colombia is to promote peace and cement a peace accord that ended a 50-year old civil conflict that claimed the lives of over 220,000 people since 1948.
The five day trip will begin in the Capital of Bogota where on Wednesday and Thursday, the Pope will address civil and ecclesiastical authorities including a meeting with the bishops. The Pope is scheduled to arrive at 4:30 pm at Bogota Airport, attend the official welcoming ceremony, followed by a visit to the cathedral and a blessing of the faithful from the balcony of the Cardinal's Palace.
On Friday, Pope Francis will visit the city of Villavicencio, one of the regions most affected by the war against drug trafficking and also a place that suffered greatly because of the FARC rebels during the country's civil conflict. This place was chosen to host a prayer service for the reconciliation of the country at 3:40 pm.
After Villacvicencio, the Pope will travel to Medellin where he will visit a 100 year old orphanage. Mass will be celebrated at 10:15 am followed by meetings with religious and consecrated persons at La Macarena stadium, then back to Bogota at 5:30pm.
The last leg of the Pope's tour will be in Cartagena where the Pope will visit one of the poorest neighbourhoods in the city. There he will pray before the tomb of St.Peter Claver, a missionary defender of the rights of the indigenous people. Holy Mass is scheduled at 4:30 pm followed by the official farewell ceremony at 6:45 pm.
We will broadcast some of the events of this apostolic visit, so be sure to check our website listed here for the broadcast details and times.
In preparation for this journey, the Pope sent the people of Colombia a video message yesterday inviting them to "take the first step" towards peace, and here's what he said.
"Dear people of Colombia, in just a few days I will visit your country. I come as a pilgrim of hope and peace to celebrate with you the faith in our Lord and also to learn from your charity and perseverance in search of peace and harmony. I cordially greet and thank the President of the Republic and the bishops of the Episcopal Conference for the invitation to visit Colombia. I also thank each of you, who welcome me to your land and into your heart. I know that you have worked so very hard to prepare this encounter. My appreciation goes to all who have collaborated – and continue to – so that it may become a reality.
Let us take the first step is the theme of this Journey. It reminds us that a first step is always required for any activity or project. It also urges us to be the first to love, in order to build bridges and create solidarity. Taking the first step encourages us to reach out to our neighbor, to extend a helping-hand, and to offer a sign of peace. Peace is what Colombia has sought after for a long time, and she is working to achieve it: A stable and lasting peace, so that we see and treat each other as brothers and not as enemies. Peace reminds us that we are all children of the same Father, who loves and consoles us. I am honored to visit this land so rich in history, culture, and faith. [It is a land] of men and women who have labored with tenacity and perseverance to make it a place where harmony and solidarity reign, where the Gospel is known and loved, and where saying ‘brother and sister’ seems not out of place but a true treasure to protect and defend. Today’s world needs specialists in peace and dialogue. The Church also is called to the task of promoting reconciliation, both with the Lord and between brothers, as well as reconciliation with the environment, which is God’s Creation and which we are savagely exploiting.
My dear Colombian brothers and sisters, I yearn to live these days with you with a joyous spirit and with gratitude to the Lord. I warmly embrace you and ask the Lord to bless you, to protect your country, and to give you peace. And I ask our Mother, the Holy Virgin, to watch over you. And, please, don’t forget to pray for me. Thank you and see you soon."
Over the next few days, we will bring you updates and highlights from this historic journey right here on Perspectives Daily
That's all for today. Join us again tomorrow, when we bring you more news and stories from the Perspectives of a Catholic lens.
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