Archive for February, 2018

Pope Francis schedules visits to 3 Puglia sites

Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

Pope Francis is planning pastoral visits to three towns in Puglia ˗ to San Giovanni Rotondo (Province of Foggia) on March 17 and to Alessano (Province of Lecce) and Molfetta (Province of Bari) on April 20.

The pope’s visit to the shrine of Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina in San Giovanni Rotondo (in the Diocese of Manfredonia-Vieste-San Giovanni Rotondo) is to observe the100th anniversary of the saint receiving the stigmata and the 50th anniversary of his death. Earlier in the day, the pontiff will visit the saint’s birthplace of Pietrelcina, a town in the Campania region. The saint was born in Pietrelcina on May 25, 1887, and died on September 23, 1968, at the Capuchin monastery in San Giovanni Rotondo.

On March 17, according to the Holy See Press Office, Pope Francis will arrive by helicopter at the sports field of San Giovanni Rotondo at 9:30 A.M., to be met by Archbishop Michele Castoro of the Diocese of Manfredonia-Vieste-San Giovanni Rotondo and Costanzo Cascavilla, the mayor of San Giovanni Rotondo. The pope will then visit the pediatric cancer ward at the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza (Home for Relief of the Suffering), the hospital founded by Saint Padre Pio. At 11 o’clock, a Eucharistic Concelebration of the Holy Mass will take place in the square of the San Pio da Pietrelcina Church, followed by an address by Archbishop Castoro. The Holy Father will then meet the Capuchin community and a group of faithful before departing at 12:45 P.M.

Previous papal visits to San Giovanni Rotondo were made by Pope Saint John Paul II in May 1987 and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in June 2009.

Pope Francis’ pastoral visit to Alessano, in the Diocese of Ugento-Santa Maria Di Leuca, and Molfetta, in the Diocese of Molfetta-Ruvo-Giovinazzo-Terlizzi, will mark the 25th anniversary of the death of Bishop Tonino Bello, who was named bishop of Molfetta-Johnovinazzo-Terlizzi in 1982 and three years later was chosen by Italian Bishops’ Conference as president of the international Catholic peace movement Pax Christi. Bishop Bello, popularly known as “Don Tonino,” was born in Alessano on March 18, 1935, and died in Molfetta on April 20, 1993.

This April 20, the pope will arrive at the military airport of Galatina, Lecce, at 8:20 A.M. and travel by helicopter to Alessano, where he will land 10 minutes later and be driven to the Cemetery of Alessano, to be welcomed by Bishop Vito Angiuli of Ugento and Francesca Torsello, the mayor of Alessano.

The Holy See Press Office reports that Pope Francis will visit the tomb of Bishop Bello, then greet members of the bishop’s family before delivering an address to the faithful. The pope departs Alessano at 9:30 and arrives by helicopter 45 minutes later near the Cathedral of Molfetta, where he will be welcomed by Bishop Domenico Cornacchia of the Diocese of Molfetta-Ruvo-Giovinazzo-Terlizzi and Mayor Tommaso Minervini. A Eucharistic Concelebration of the Holy Mass takes place at 10:30, after which the pope will meet a delegation of local residents. He will depart Molfetta at noon.

Photo: Bronze of Saint Padre Pio by Francesco Messina.
Photo by Paola Ghirotti/Copyright © Fototeca ENIT