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31 Mai 2019
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To avoid the busy traffic, all schools and kindergartens in Bucharest were closed on Friday and traffic restrictions applied.

Hundreds of thousands of people in Bucharest to see Pope Francis


  Pope Francis in Bucharest. Photo: Petruţ Hîrţescu

Hundreds of thousands of people came to Bucharest on Friday, 31 May, to see Pope Francis who started a three day Apostolic Visit in Romania. Sovereign Pontiff was welcomed at Otopeni Airport by President Klaus Iohannis and, on the way to the Cotroceni Palace in a Dacia Logan, was cheered by crowds.

Pope Francis was welcomed at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace with full military honors by Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis. Welcoming delegation comprised Carmen Iohannis, wife of President Klaus Iohannis, and all presidential and state advisers. Sovereign Pontiff also had meetings with Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă, state officials, leaders of civil society and mem-bers of the diplomatic corps. 

In a speech at the Cotroceni Palace, Pope Francis paid homage to Romanian emigrants. I am thinking firstly of the phenomenon of emigration, involving several millions of people who have left home and their homeland to look for new opportunities for working and decent living. (...) I am thinking of the depopulation of so many villages that in a few years have seen a considerable part of their inhabitants leaving. I am thinking of the consequences that all these can have on the quality of life in that territory and the weakening of your cultural roots that sustained you in difficult times, said the Sovereign Pontiff, according to official translations.

His Holiness then had a meeting with His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Or-thodox Church and with the Permanent Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church, at the Patriarchy Palace. “Our own journey has begun anew, with the certainty that we are brothers and sisters walking side by side, sharing the faith grounded in the resurrection of the one Lord”, Pope Francis emphasized. 

On Friday afternoon, Pope Francis celebrated his first Holy Mass in Romania at Saint Joseph Catholic Cathedral in Bucharest and addressed a greeting to around 50,000 believers gathered in “George Enescu” Square. Last time a Pope celebrated Mass in the Cathedral of St Joseph in Bucharest was on the 8thof May 1999, exactly 20 years ago, and the Pope was St John Paul II. 15 screens were mounted on the streets of Bucharest for people to be able to watch the ceremony, performed by the Pope in Latin.

To avoid the busy traffic, all schools and kindergartens in Bucharest were closed on Friday and traffic restrictions applied.

On Saturday, Pope Francis will go to the Marian Shrine at Șumuleu Ciuc, Harghita County (Transylvania), then he will go to Iași (north-east of Romania).

On Sunday, Apostolic Visit ends with a Divine Liturgy on Freedom Plain in Blaj, Alba County (central Transylvania), with the beatification service of seven Greek Catholic martyrs.

His Holiness Pope Francis’ visit to Romania will conclude on Sunday, June 2, at 17:30, after the official departure ceremony at Sibiu International Airport, in the presence of President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis.

Source:RRA.Translated by Miruna Matei


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