The Holy See press office has just announced the schedule for Pope Francis’ Apostolic Voyage to Albania, set for September 21st of this year. This will be the second visit of a Pope to that country after St. Pope John Paul II’s visit back in 1993 after the fall of Communism in Albania the year before.
The Pope wanted his first trip to a European country to be a tribute to those who suffered under communism, and to a "country on the margins" with a past of social and religious persecution and continuing poverty. Pope Francis said he wanted to make the trip to "encourage a country that has long suffered from the consequences of the ideologies of the past".
Here is the pope's itinerary as released by the Vatican. Times listed are local, with Eastern Daylight Time in parenthesis.
Sunday, Sept. 21 (Rome, Tirana, Rome)
-- 7:30 a.m. (1:30 a.m.) Departure from Rome's Fiumicino airport for Tirana.
-- 9 a.m. (3 a.m.) Arrival at Mother Teresa International Airport in Tirana.
-- 9:30 a.m. (3:30 a.m.) Welcoming ceremony at the presidential palace, courtesy visit with the president.
-- 10 a.m. (4 a.m.) Meeting with government authorities at the presidential palace. Speech by pope.
-- 11 a.m. (5 a.m.) Mass in Mother Teresa Square. Homily by pope. Recitation of the Angelus prayer. Remarks by pope.
-- 1:30 p.m. (7:30 a.m.) Lunch with the bishops of Albania and the papal entourage in the apostolic nunciature.
-- 4 p.m. (10 a.m.) Meeting with leaders of other religions and other Christian denominations at the Catholic University of Our Lady of Good Counsel. Speech by pope.
-- 5 p.m. (11 a.m.) Celebration of vespers with priests, men and women religious, seminarians and members of lay movements in the Tirana cathedral. Speech by pope.
-- 6:30 p.m. (12:30 p.m.) Meeting with children assisted by the Bethany Center and with representatives of those assisted by other charitable centers in the church at the Bethany Center. Speech by pope.
-- 7:45 p.m. (1:45 p.m.) Farewell ceremony at the Mother Teresa International Airport.
-- 8 p.m. (2 p.m.) Departure from Tirana to Rome.
-- 9:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m.) Arrival at Rome's Ciampino airport.
Also this week, The Vatican published the highlights of Pope Francis’s activities for the past six months During the first half of the year our Pontiff logged over 131 public appearances and has received heads of State and dignitaries from all over the world including President of the United States Barack Obama in March and hosted both Presidents Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas in June for an Invocation for Peace in the Holy Land at the Vatican Gardens. In addition to His many pastoral visits, Pope Francis also met with many of the bishops conferences from around the world.
Starting this Tuesday Aug 5th, Salt and Light TV will bring you coverage of the 132nd Knights of Columbus Supreme annual convention live from Orlando Florida. The live coverage will include the official opening of the convention, the much anticipated state dinner, exclusive interviews and of course the daily mass from the convention center.