Pope Francis to speak at the meeting of bishops and mayors in Florence | Catholic National Register


The gathering of Church and civil society leaders follows a meeting of bishops in the city of Bari, in southern Italy.

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis will travel to the Italian city of Florence in February to address a meeting of bishops and mayors of the Mediterranean region.

The Pope’s visit on February 27 will also include a meeting with refugee families. The trip will end with a mass at the Basilica of the Holy Cross, followed by the Angelus.

Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, declared in a press release dated November 15: “I express my deep gratitude to Pope Francis for this gesture of attention to the initiative which involves the ecclesial communities and civilians of the Mediterranean.

The gathering of Church and civil society leaders follows a meeting of bishops in the city of Bari, in southern Italy.

Pope Francis visited the coastal city on February 23, 2020 to speak on the last day of a five-day meeting of more than 50 bishops from 19 Mediterranean countries spanning North Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

The 2022 edition of the meeting of bishops will take place at the same time as a parallel gathering of mayors of cities in the Mediterranean region.

Pope Francis will address both groups on February 27, the last day of events, at Palazzo Vecchio, Florence’s town hall.

Cardinal Bassetti declared: “The meeting in Florence will be an opportunity to continue reflection, based on the commitments that the Holy Father gave us in Bari: ‘Reconstruct the broken links, restore the cities destroyed by violence, make to flower a garden where today there is parched land, to give hope to those who have lost it and to exhort those who are withdrawn not to fear their brother.

“Let us therefore leave Florence again to ensure that the shores of the Mediterranean once again become a symbol of unity and not a border”, added the president of the episcopal conference.

Pope Francis last visited Florence on November 10, 2015, where he held a historic meeting with representatives of the National Convention of the Italian Catholic Church. He urged them to avoid concerns about “power, image and money” and to focus on implementing his 2013 apostolic exhortation. Evangelii gaudium “In a synodal way”.

Cardinal Giuseppe Betori, Archbishop of Florence, said: “In prayer we prepare to welcome Pope Francis and the bishops of Mare Nostrum [a Roman name for the Mediterranean Sea]. May the Lord enlighten these days and our dialogue so that we can contribute to the construction of peace in a region still marked today by wars, emigration and inequalities.

Cardinal Betori recalled the example of Venerable Giorgio La Pira, the “holy mayor” of Florence, who died in 1965. The Italian politician defended the rights of the poor and of the working people. His influence also spread beyond his municipality in the form of official trips behind the Iron Curtain, to Russia, China and Vietnam, to promote peace and human rights – considered then as a unusual gesture for a Western politician. The Dominican Third Order was also highly respected by religious leaders.

La Pira was declared venerable, a step before beatification, by Pope Francis in 2018.

“The Holy Father honors the diocese and the city for the third time with his presence,” added Cardinal Betori. “We are grateful to him and at the same time we feel a special responsibility: the Pope will be among us, heirs and direct witnesses of the work and of the commitment of fraternity among the peoples of the venerable Giorgio La Pira, the ‘holy mayor. ‘”

“Like him, we want to be bearers of hope so that the shores of the Mediterranean will unite again and not be divided.”


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