Tag Archives: papal trip

Pope Francis bids farewell to Peru

Pope Francis offers Mass at Lima’s Las Palmas Airbase on 21 Jan 2018, his last day in Peru, bringing an end to his Jan 15-21 tour of South America, which also included a three-day visit to Chile.

LIMA, Peru – Pope Francis has departed Lima following a farewell ceremony at the city’s airport on 21 Jan 2018. The Pope’s plane took off at around 7:10 pm local time. Before boarding the Pope met with the President of Peru and his wife.

Following Mass earlier at the Las Palmas airbase in Lima, the Holy Father, in farewell greetings, thanked everyone who had made his journey possible (Jan 18-21).

He said, “I began my pilgrimage among you by speaking of Peru as a land of hope.  A land of hope because of its biodiversity and the beauty of its landscapes, which help us to discover the presence of God. A land of hope because of its rich traditions and customs, which have shaped the soul of this people.  A land of hope for its young people, who are not the future but the present of Peru.”

Pope Francis then urged the people of the country  “to discover in the wisdom of their grandparents and their elders, the DNA that guided their great saints.”

“Do not lose your roots,” he said.

The Pope also urged them, “not to be afraid to be the saints of the XXI century.”

The Holy Father invited the people of this land to “Protect your hope.”  “There is no better way, he added to protect your hope than to remain united, so that these reasons for hope may grow day by day in your hearts.”

Pope Francis’ visit to Peru was the final leg of his journey to Latin America which began in Chile earlier this week (Jan 15-17). The Pope is due to touch down in Rome on Monday afternoon Jan 22 at around 14:15 local time. – vatican news.com

Peru welcomes Pope Francis

LIMA, Peru – Pope Francis arrived in Peru’s capital city Lima on Thursday evening beginning the second leg of an apostolic visit that is also scheduled to take him to the Amazon city of Puerto Maldonado and  to the northern coastal city of Trujillo.

The Pope will be in Peru from 18-21 Jan 2018. This is the third papal journey to the nation after Saint Pope John Paul II who visited the nation twice, in 1985 and 1988.

The Amazon climate of Puerto Maldonado has impacted the usual protocol a papal visit is tied to with the official courtesy visit to Peru’s President taking place late Friday afternoon to allow him to travel to Puerto Maldonado in the morning thus avoiding tropical afternoon downpours.

Puerto Maldonado gateway to Peruvian Amazon

In Puerto Maldonado, the gateway to the Peruvian Amazon which makes up some 60% of the nation’s territory, Pope Francis will hold a highly anticipated meeting with some 4000 representatives of different indigenous peoples.

During the meeting – which takes place within the “Laudato Sì” framework, Francis’s encyclical “on the care of our common home” will be presented in some of the indigenous languages.

Columban Fr Peter Hughes, a member of the Executive Committee of the Pan-Amazonian Church Network – REPAM – spoke to Cristiane Murray, the Vatican News correspondent in Puerto Maldonado about the significance of  Pope Francis’ visit to Peru.

Two main themes

Father Hughes reflected on the importance and on the meaning of this visit for the nation and for the world pinpointing two themes in particular: the Pope’s closeness to the marginalised and to the poor, and the fact that he will be meeting with representatives of many indigenous groups in the Amazon region highlighting his concern for the rights of indigenous peoples and for the plight of the rainforest and the need to care for “our common home”.

Peru, Hughes explained, is suffering from huge problems of poverty and marginalisation. It’s a multicultural multiethnic society, there are 42 languages spoken in the country (many in the Amazon region) as well as two major indigenous languages, and many components of its society do not have access even to basic services.

Pope’s affinity to major Peruvian concerns

“I think the Pope has a particular affinity with a county like Peru, not only because he is Latin American but because he is a Latin American Pope who has been deeply involved with the whole process of reform fueled by the Conference of Medellin after Vatican II,” he said.

Hughes said Francis is a very good expression and exponent of the whole reform period in the Latin American Church, having been himself an important agent in the Church in this period (Bergoglio played a major role in drawing up the Aparecida document).

“He shares a particularly profound insight from the heart of the Gospel that God’s wish for people is that they are included in life and that they are not supposed to be marginalised for political, economic or cultural reasons,” he said.

He said his affinity with the plight of the poor gives him a strong connection to the desperateness of the current situation.

“Peruvians are waiting for him for very deep spiritual reasons,” he said.

Indigenous peoples, the Amazon and ‘Laudato Sì’

The second reason this visit is so significant, Hughes continues, is to do with the fact that Francis is arriving in the Amazon region and he will be meeting representatives of many indigenous groups in the town of Maldonado.

“Here,” Fr Hughes said, “there is a direct connection between his visit and his encyclical Laudato Sì.”

Hughes described the Amazon as the place where the common home of humanity and of the world is perhaps best expressed.

He said the destruction and the depredation of the Amazon are terrible and are taking place at an increasingly accelerated rate.

The tragic poignancy of Puerto Maldonado

He explained that in the town of Puerto Maldonado the great trans-oceanic highway that connects the Amazon to the Pacific coast passes through and that this is the subject of much debate because of all the scandals and corruption connected to its construction.

“A major highway is always considered as progress,” he said, but it must not be ignored that it also brings with it a lot of problems: “There are human, social and political considerations to be made”.

Puerto Maldonado, he continued, is also a centre of major drug-trafficking and human trafficking of young women for prostitution; it’s where small boys are exploited as workers in the gold mines with no consideration for their rights or their health; it’s where the major problems of the Amazon take place like deforestation and the destruction of land because of how the extractive industries operate.”

He spoke of the taking of lands and livelihoods from the indigenous peoples who have been connected to this land for millennia and of how they are being used for multinational agri-business for production with no regard for the consequences this will have on biodiversity, water access, and the rotation that the lands need.

Hughes pointed out that the question of climate is ‘in question’ in the Amazon: “if the Amazon and the Congo, the two major river basins of the world continue to be destroyed, 20% of drinking water that is available to people in the world will be gone; 20% of the oxygen that people in the world need to breathe will be gone. These are huge levels of destruction that we don’t hear about every day and these are exactly the concerns Francis has been writing about in Laudato Sì.”

Francis will be speaking to the whole human family

So, Hughes concluded,  he won’t be speaking just to the people of the Amazon but to the world, to the human family across the globe, to Christians, Catholics, believers and non-believers and he will be “drawing a line and shining a light to alert us all about the need to change, on every level; that life on earth has to be respected and that we have to become serious about the Paris Climate Treaty and about how to defend the world, its beauty, its resources and its climate from destruction”. – Linda Bordoni, vatican news

Pope begins seven-day pilgrimage to Chile, Peru

Pope Francis arrives at the international airport in Santiago, Chile, 15 Jan 2018. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

SANTIAGO, Chile – Pope Francis arrived in Santiago, the first stop on a seven-day, six-city visit to Peru and Chile, where he will take his message of hope to people on the margins of society.

Arriving in Santiago after more than 15 hours in the air on 15 Jan 2018, Pope Francis was greeted by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and a young Chilean girl. He told the crowd he was happy to be in Chile, and he blessed the workers at the airport before being transported to the papal nunciature, where he will stay the three nights he is in Chile.

On Jan 17, the pope will travel to Temuco and meet with residents of the Mapuche indigenous community. Members of the Mapuche have called for the government to return lands confiscated prior to the country’s return to democracy in the late 1980s.

“Chile won’t be too difficult for me because I studied there for a year and I have many friends there and I know it well, or rather, well enough. Peru, however, I know less. I have gone maybe two, three times for conferences and meetings,” the pope told journalists aboard the papal flight.

There was no mention of increased security for the Chilean visit. Three days earlier, several Chilean churches were firebombed, and police found other, unexploded devices at two other churches in Santiago. Some of the pamphlets included the phrase, “The next bombs will be in your cassock” and spoke of the Mapuche cause.

Before flying to Peru Jan 18, Pope Francis will visit Iquique, where he will celebrate Mass on Lobito beach.

In Peru Jan 18-21, he will visit Lima, Puerto Maldonado and Trujillo.

He will also meet with the indigenous people of the Amazon during his visit to Puerto Maldonado. The Amazon rainforest includes territory belonging to nine countries in South America and has experienced significant deforestation, negatively impacting the indigenous populations in the area and leading to a loss of biodiversity.

In both countries, he will work to restore trust and encourage healing after scandals left many wounded and angry at the Catholic Church.

Shortly after take-off from Rome, Greg Burke, Vatican spokesman, distributed a photo card the pope wished to share with journalists aboard his flight from Rome.

The photo depicted a young Japanese boy shortly after the bombing in Nagasaki, waiting in line, carrying his dead baby brother on his back to the crematorium. On the back of the card, the words “The fruit of war” were written along with Pope Francis’ signature.

Before greeting each of the 70 journalists, the pope said that he found the photo “by chance” and “was very moved when I saw this.”

“I could only write ‘the fruit of war.’ I wanted to print it and give it to you because such an image is more moving than a thousand words,” he said.

Responding to a journalist’s question about nuclear war, Pope Francis said: “I think we are at the very limit. I am really afraid of this. One accident is enough to precipitate things.”

The Peru-Chile trip is Pope Francis’ fourth to South America. In July 2013, he visited Brazil for World Youth Day. In July 2015, he traveled to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. His trip to Colombia in September was his third visit to the continent as pope. – Junno Arocho Esteves, CNS

Pope Francis challenges Colombians to build peaceful future

Cities visited by Pope Francis in his trip to Colombia 6-11 Sept 2017.

VATICAN CITY  – Pope Francis has concluded his visit to Colombia where he spent five days (6-11 Sept 2017) meeting victims of the country’s civil war and urging all people to work together for peace and national reconciliation.

But as the spotlight fades and organisers dismantle the Mass venues, what effect will the pope’s words have on the politicians, religious leaders and Colombians from all walks of life who flocked to see and hear him speak in Cartagena, Medellin, Villavicencio and the capital, Bogotà?

Beatrice Canal, a professional translator and mother of two grown up children, shared her own reactions to the papal visit with Linda Bordoni, Vatican Radio correspondent in Bogota, on Sept 11.

Canal said she was “pleasantly surprised” and deeply moved to see so many people welcoming the pope “with happiness in their eyes.”

The visit, she said, “has brought us together” and “touched the hearts of every Colombian” who had the chance to see him at the main events or simply line the streets as he drove by.

She said she was happy to see that the trip was “completely unpolitical,” but as an overwhelmingly Catholic nation (over 80 percent of the population) “we were very touched by the visit.”

In particular, Canal said, Colombians are “all very happy that he is the first Latin American pope and “we see him as one of our own.”

Asked what impact the papal visit may have on the future of her country, Canal noted the pope spoke extensively “about peace and reaching out to others.”  She added: “I hope he leaves behind the desire in every Colombian to again feel and share that brotherly and fraternal love he’s been speaking so much about.”

While she acknowledged that the implementation of the peace agreements remains fraught with difficulties, the translator insisted that “every Colombian is hopeful to live in a country in peace.”

She noted that her own children, aged 30 and 35, have never lived in a country in peace, and that she was “a little girl when the violence broke out.”  She said: “I know that the signing of a paper does not translate immediately into peace, now comes the most difficult part where every Colombian has to chip into the process and to open our hearts and be accepting of the former insurgents.”

The victims, Canal concluded, need to “find a place in their hearts to want to forgive” and to be able to live, free of the fear that has caused so much suffering for those living the countryside. – vatican radio

Pope begins trip to Colombia

This is the official logo for Pope Francis’ upcoming trip to Colombia in September. (CNS)

Pope Francis left Rome on Wednesday morning, 6 Sept 2017, to begin the 20th foreign trip of his pontificate: a visit to Colombia.

The Pontiff is scheduled to arrive in Bogota at 4:30 in the afternoon, local time. Apart from an airport welcoming ceremony, no public events have been scheduled for the first day of the trip, giving the Holy Father time to rest and recover after the long plane trip.

On Thursday the Pope will begin a busy schedule of events, with a courtesy call at the presidential palace, a visit to the city’s cathedral, a meeting with members of the Latin American bishops’ conference CELAM, and an outdoor Mass at Simon Bolivar Park. In the following days he will visit the cities of Villavicencio, Medellin, and Cartagena before returning to Rome on September 11.

Although the apostolic nuncio in Colombia, Archbishop Ettore Balestrero, has stressed that the Pope’s papal visit will be primarily pastoral rather than political, the main focus of public attention will be the peace accord recently signed by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the country’s government. Although that peace agreement is not universally popular, its signing marked an end to decades of fighting and paved the way for the visit by Pope Francis—who had earlier indicated that he wanted to visit Colombia when an accord was in place.

(Another smaller rebel group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), announced a ceasefire just before the Pope’s arrival; hopes are high for a separate agreement ending the ELN’s guerrilla war as well.)

Before he boarded his flight from Rome on Wednesday morning, the Pope sent out a Twitter message underlining the importance of the peace agreement. He asked for prayers for his trip, noting that he was embarking on “a journey dedicated to reconciliation and peace.” The theme chosen for the papal voyage echoes the same message: “Let’s Take the First Step.”

While he preaches a message of reconciliation in Colombia, Pope Francis will also be facing questions about the mounting unrest in neighboring Venezuela. The tensions and shortages in that country have prompted hundreds of Venezuelan citizens to seek refuge in Colombia, and outbreaks of violence have heightened fears of an even greater exodus. Pope Francis—who to date has avoided directed criticism of Venezuela’s authoritarian leader, President Nicolas Maduro—will be under greater pressure to address the crisis directly while he is in Colombia.

In fact, he will face a delicate diplomatic test on that score even before he reaches Bogota. Traditionally the Pontiff sends a telegram of greeting to every country he flies over during an apostolic voyage. So Pope Francis will be expected to send a message to Maduro; the content of that message will be scrutinized for any signal of papal disapproval.

The Pope’s visit to South America will also bring up new questions about why he has not yet scheduled a trip to his native Argentina. As he prepared for his flight on September 6, the Pope was asked that question. He replied: “I don’t know. I still don’t know.”

As is his custom, the Pope dropped into the Roman basilica of St. Mary Major on Tuesday evening to pray before the image of the Virgin Mary, Salus Populi Romani, on the eve of his trip. – CWN

Logo, motto for papal trip to Chile in January 2018 released

VATICAN CITY –  The Vatican released on 21 Aug 2017 the official logo and motto for Pope Francis’ Apostolic Journey to Chile, which takes place on 15-18 January 2018.

The Pope visits Chile ahead of his trip to Peru on 18-21 January.

“My peace I give you” is the motto for his visit to Chile, taken from the Gospel of John 14:27.

A communique from the National Commission for the Apostolic Journey says the motto is “recognisable by all, Catholics and non-Catholics.”

“The Pope with this visit exhorts all to a ‘culture of encounter,’  favouring a climate of unity for the Chilean people,” it reads.

The logo contains the three central elements of the Apostolic Journey: the Cross, the Pope’s signature, and the map of Chile.

White and red colours recall the Vatican flag, while “Chile 2018” is coloured red and blue following the country’s flag. – Vatican Radio

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