Pope: A Journey to Witness to the Joy of the Gospel

“I want to be a witness to the joy of the Gospel and bring the tenderness and love of God.” This is the stated purpose of Pope Francis for his forthcoming trip to Latin America (5 to 13 July) when he will visit Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay.

This is the ninth international trip that Jorge Mario Bergoglio will make as Pope. He will stay for two days and make two stops in each country. It is worth noting the size and geographical diversity of this trip, between the Andes, the Pacific Ocean and the Rio Paraguay. There will be significant changes of altitude and temperature in just seven days, ranging from an altitude of 4,000 metres in Bolivia to sea level in Paraguay. A “challenging programme”, says Fr Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican Press Office, reiterating that this trip – like previous ones by Pope Francis – will focus on bringing the joy of the Gospel message to “the peripheries”.

Pope Francis will land in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, in the early afternoon of Sunday 5 July, local time, and there he will deliver his first speech. The next morning he will go by plane to Guayaquil to preside over Mass at the Shrine of Divine Mercy, then back to Quito for a courtesy visit to the President of the Republic. On the Tuesday he will meet with the Bishops of Ecuador and representatives of school, university and civil society. Finally, on 8 July he will visit the elderly in the nursing home of the Missionaries of Charity and will have a meeting with the clergy.

In the afternoon of 8 July the papal plane will land in La Paz, capital of Bolivia. After a meeting with the President and the authorities, the Pope will reach Santa Cruz de la Sierra where he will celebrate Mass the following morning. In the afternoon he will meet the clergy of Bolivia, and then end the day by taking part in the second World Meeting of popular movements. On the morning of 10 July the Pope will visit the rehabilitation centre at Santa Cruz-Palmasola and will have a meeting with the bishops of Bolivia.

His arrival in Asuncion, capital of Paraguay, is scheduled for the afternoon of 10 July. The Holy Father will pay a courtesy visit to the President of the Republic. On Saturday 11 July the Pope will visit the young patients at the Niños de Acosta Ñu hospital. Then he will preside at the Eucharist in the Marian Shrine of Caacupé and in the afternoon he will meet representatives of civil society.  He will recite Evening Prayer with the clergy and members of Catholic movements. The last day of travel will begin with a visit to Bañado Norte, the poor marshy neighbourhood of Asunción. He will celebrate Mass and hold a meeting with local bishops. The day will end with a meeting with the young people.

Source: Info ANS

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