The Vatican has released Pope Francis’ schedule for the first of his two day-trips to the Italian city of Caserta, where he will later meet an evangelical pastor and friend from his time in Buenos Aires.
According to a Catholic News Agency report, Pope Francis will travel by helicopter to the province of Caserta in the Campania region of Italy the afternoon of July 26, and will arrive to the NCO (Non-Commissioned Officers) School of the Air Force, in the Royal Palace of Caserta at 3:45 p.m.
After his arrival, the Roman Pontiff will hold a meeting with the diocese’s priests and seminarians at 4 p.m., and will celebrate Mass at the airport at 6 p.m.
Following the Mass, he will return to the Vatican by helicopter that evening so that he can recite the Angelus prayer with faithful in St. Peter’s Square Sunday, as he does every week.
On Monday, July 28, the bishop of Rome will return to Caserta to pay a private visit to his longtime friend, Evangelical pastor Giovanni Traettino, and his community.
Announced by the Vatican July 10, the pope’s Caserta visit was originally scheduled as a one-day event for the purpose of his private encounter with pastor Giovanni Traettino, however upon receiving an invitation from the diocese’s bishop, Giovanni D’Avise, the pontiff decided to add a day in order to meet with locals.
In the initial July 10 announcement of the visit, the Vatican revealed that the idea of making the trip to pastor Traettino’s church of the Reconciliation in Caserta originally sprang from an encounter Pope Francis had with a group of evangelical pastors in the Vatican last month, during which the pontiff expressed his desire to visit the pastor’s church.
The visit with pastor Traettino “will be a strictly private, simple and quick” encounter, the statement read.
Caserta lies in southern Italy and is a prominent agricultural, commercial and industrial commune. It is roughly a two-and-a-half hour drive from Vatican City.
See below for the pope’s full schedule:
Saturday, July 26
3 p.m. Depart by helicopter from the Vatican heliport
3:45 p.m. Land in the heliport of the NCO (Non-Commissioned Officers) School of the Air Force, in the Royal Palace of Caserta
4 p.m. Encounter with priests of the diocese in the Officers Club of the Air Force in the Royal Palace of Caserta
6 p.m. Holy Mass in the square in front of the Palace of Caserta
7:30 p.m. Depart by helicopter from the NCO (Non-Commissioned Officers) School of the Air Force, in the Royal Palace of Caserta
8:15 p.m. Arrive to the Vatican heliport