The programme of the Holy Father’s visit to Assisi, Italy, to take place on 20 September, was published today. His visit will mark the occasion of the World Day of Prayer for Peace, on the theme “Thirst for peace: faiths and cultures in dialogue”.
He will leave the Vatican by helicopter at 10.30 a.m., arriving in the “Migaghelli” sports field at St. Mary of the Angels at 11.05 a.m., where he will be welcomed by Msgr. Domenico Sorrentino, archbishop-bishop of Assisi-Nocera Umbra-Gualdo Tadino; Catiuscia Marini, president of the Umbria Region; and Stefania Proietti, mayor of Assisi.
He will arrive at the Sacred Convent of Assisi at 11.30 a.m., where he will be welcomed by Fr. Mauro Gambetti, custos of the Sacred Convent; His Holiness Bartholomew I, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, a Muslim representative; His Grace Justin Welby, archbishop of Canterbury; His Holiness Aphrem II, Syro-Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch; a Jewish representative; and the supreme Head of the Tendai, Japan. They will proceed together to the Cloister of Sixtus IV, where they will be awaited by representatives of World Churches and religions, and the bishops of Umbria. The Pope will greet the representatives individually and they will then lunch together in the refectory of the Sacred Convent, along with a number of victims of war. The president of the Sant’Egidio Community, Marco Impagliazzo, will announce the 25th anniversary of the Patriarchate of His Holiness Bartholomew I.
After lunch, at 3.15 p.m., the Holy Father will meet individually with His Holiness Bartholomew I, the Muslim representative, His Grace Archbishop Justin Welby, His Holiness the Patriarch Aphrem II and the Jewish representative. The moment of prayer for peace will take place at 4 p.m. in various places. In the lower Basilica of St. Francis there will be an ecumenical prayer of Christians, after which all the participants will meet with the representatives of other religions, who prayed in other locations, and take their place on the stage in St. Francis’ Square for the closing ceremony. Following greetings from Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino, messages will be read by a victim of war, Patriarch Bartholomew I, a Muslim representative, a Jewish representative, the Japanese Buddhist Patriarch, and Professor Andrea Riccardi, founder of the Sant’Egidio Community. After an address by the Holy Father, an appeal for peace to the children of various nations will be read, and there will be a moment of silence in memory of the victims of war. An Appeal for Peace will be signed and two candles lit, followed by the exchange of a sign of peace.
The Pope will bid farewell to those present and, at 6.30 p.m., transfer by car to the St. Mary of the Angels heliport to undertake his return journey to the Vatican, where he is expected to arrive at 7.35 p.m.