Pope Francis celebrating the closing mass of the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest – Photo: MTI

Pope Francis to visit Hungary on April 28-30

Pope Francis will visit Hungary between April 28 and 30, the Holy See said on Monday. "I was happy to hear that Pope Francis accepted my invitation and will visit Hungary," the Sandor Palace cited President Katalin Novak as saying in a statement.

The three-day “apostolic journey”, the pontiff’s 41st visit abroad since he was elected in 2013, will include meetings with Hungary’s heads of state and government on Friday, the Vatican said.

According to the programme of the visit published on katolikus.hu, Francis will also address state dignitaries in the prime minister’s offices in the Buda Castle.

He will meet bishops, priests, monks, seminarists and other religious officials in Budapest’s St Stephen’s Basilica on the same day.

On Saturday, the pontiff is scheduled to meet young people in the Papp Laszlo Arena, and people in need and refugees in a downtown church.

He will celebrate mass on Kossuth Square on Sunday.

Cardinal Peter Erdo, the Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, welcomed that the visit would take place in Budapest, adding “we will be happy to receive priests, congregations and pilgrims from Hungary and beyond the borders.”

Hopefully, the meeting “will be an important step on the road we travel together towards Christ”, Erdo said.

The Government Communications Centre welcomed the announcement of the papal visit. “The Holy Father is an envoy of peace, which the peoples of central and eastern Europe are in great need of,” the centre said in a statement.

The government will provide all the assistance necessary for the preparations for state and religious programmes during the visit, the statement added.

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