Countdown started. In less than 24 hours, Pope Francis will set foot for the first time on the Romanian soil. A pastoral visit that will have strong ecumenical valences under the motto “Let’s Go Together.” During the three days, the Holy Father will visit Bucharest, Iasi, Blaj, and the Marian sanctuary in Sumuleu-Ciuc. A visit with a special symbolism.
Whether we are referring to hierarchs, priests or believers, all Catholics in Romania are prepared and anxious to meet the successor of Apostle Peter, the Holy Father Francis. Twenty years after Pope John Paul II’s visit, Pope Francis is the second Sovereign Pontiff to come to Romania.
“Twenty years after John Paul II’s historic visit, we have the great joy of receiving Pope Francis now in Romania. During his visit from 31 May to 2 June this year, the Holy Father will first come here to Bucharest, then go to Sumuleu Ciuc, Iasi and Blaj. It will be an opportunity for the Pope to strengthen us in faith, and for us a good opportunity to share with the Holy Father the beauties of our country. On the first day, he will come here to this historic cathedral in Bucharest, we will pray together at the Holy and Divine Liturgy which he will celebrate here and we will listen to his word. We are grateful to the Holy Father for this great gift that he does not only to Catholics in Romania, but to all Romanians. We thank him and wait for him with open arms and hearts full of joy, “said Archbishop Ioan Robu and Metropolitan of Bucharest in a video specially made for this historical moment.
During the three days of his stay in Romania, in addition to meetings with local Catholic communities, the Holy Father will have meetings in Bucharest with the authorities, civil society and the diplomatic corps with Patriarch Daniel and the Permanent Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church; will support a liturgy at Sumuleu Ciuc, will meet in Iasi with young people and families; in Blaj, with the Roma community. At these meetings, the Pontiff sovereign will speak 3 speeches and 3 homilies (church sermons).
Friday, May 31 at 11:30, Pope Francis will land on Henri Coanda International Airport in Otopeni. After meeting in Cotroceni with the President and Prime Minister of Romania, the diplomatic corps and the civil society, he will go to the Patriarchate. Here, after a 30-minute private meeting with Patriarch Daniel, he will meet with the Permanent Synod (the collective leadership of the Romanian Orthodox Church). The Holy Father will hold his first speech before the Orthodox metropolitans in our country.
The main moment of the meeting with Orthodox prelates is visiting the National Cathedral (17.00), where the “Our Father” prayer will be spoken. The first time will be said in Latin. Catholic pascale songs will then be recorded. After their completion, the “Our Father” prayer will be spoken in Romanian, followed by Orthodox Easter weights. In a communique of the Romanian Patriarchate remarked, G4Media.ro states that “the program does not include the service of a common liturgical service, but distinct and consecutive musical moments, according to the decision of the Holy Synod and the practice of the Romanian diaspora when using the same place of worship. At the exit from the Cathedral, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel and Pope Francis will greet the present believers with the paschal greeting: “Christ has risen!”
After this, Pope Francis will celebrate the Divine Liturgy at St. Joseph’s Catholic Cathedral, where he will hold a sermon. Tens of thousands of believers, most Catholics, have long announced their intention to participate. Those who are in the secured area will have the opportunity to see the Holy Father greeting him from the pope mobile.
On Saturday, on the second day of the visit, the Pontiff Sovereign will visit the Marian Shrine of Sumuleu Ciuc, where he will also attend a sermon. In Sumuleu Ciuc will participate as a pilgrim and Hungarian President Janos Ader. As a matter of fact, it is common practice for the Holy Father to be expected in his apostolic visits by local believers, as well as pilgrims from other countries. During the visit, the Pontiff Sovereign will have no other meetings with the public authorities in Romania or abroad except for the one organized at the Cotroceni Palace at the invitation of the President of Romania.
After visiting Şumuleu Ciuc, he will go to Iaşi where she will visit St. Mary Queen’s Cathedral. In front of the Culture Palace in Iasi, he will meet with families and young people, in front of whom the Pontiff Sovereign will make a speech.
The most important moment of the entire Holy Father’s visit to our country will be Sunday, June 2, at Blaj. Here, on the Freedom Plain, Pope Francis will celebrate the Divine Liturgy, during which seven Greek-Catholic martyrs of Communism will be beatified: Vasile Aftenie, Valeriu Traian Frentiu, Ioan Suciu, Tit Liviu Chinezu, Ioan Balan, Alexandru Rusu and Iuliu Hossu.
“The moment of beatification on Blaj’s Freedom Plain must be an ecumenical moment of reconciliation with the past, with the Orthodox Church,” Prof. Dr. Cristian Rus from the Blaj Archbishop’s Chaplain stated. “They died for unity. They did not die so today we can be even more divided!” Wrote the Russian priest in a material sent to G4Media.ro, saying that” the wounds of the past must be assumed, recognized and healed, not stamped. ”
The beatification of the seven martyrs imprisoned and tortured by the Communist regime is the end point of a long process of research into their lives and the persecution of the Romanian Church United with Rome, the cause of beatification being opened 25 years ago on 23 February 1994. The Communist Party and the Securitate made inferior pressure on these bishops to go to the Romanian Orthodox Church, led by which he was installed in 1948 as patriarch Justinian Marina, a close friend of Gheorghiu Dej. None of the Greek-Catholic bishops surrendered.
At the end of the ministry, the Pontiff sovereign will hold a sermon. In Blaj he will also meet the Roma community.
According to vaticannews.va, the pope’s second apostolic journey to Romania marks a series of awards that, until recently, seemed to remain forever in the wishes: “the first visit of a pope embracing both the capital and the former Romanian principalities – with stages in Bucharest, Iaşi, Şumuleu-Ciuc and Blaj, the first meeting of a pope with representatives of the Roma community, as well as the first presence of a pope, even for a technical stopover, in Bacau and Sibiu. ”
Representatives of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bucharest say that the visits of the Pontiff Sovereign in Bucharest, Iasi, Blaj, and the Marian Shrine of Sumuleu Ciuc are not accidental. Spokesperson of the Romanian Catholic Archdiocese of Bucharest (ARCB), priest Francis Dobos, says that even before the official announcement was made, the pope’s wish to include all Catholics in our country was included in this visit: this visit has 4 localities: Bucharest because it is also a state visit where he will meet with the authorities (…) and then he will be present at Blaj for Greek Catholics, in Iasi for Roman Catholics in Romanian and Sumuleu Ciuc for Roman Catholics of Hungarian language “.
Of the nearly 2.2 billion Christians in the world, Jorge Mario Bergoglio is the religious leader for half of them, or 1.1 billion. He is the second Sovereign Pontiff to visit Romania over a 20-year period. The first was Pope John Paul II in May 1999. Since the great schism of 1054, he was the first Pope in history to visit a major Orthodox country. Then John Paul II was glad to visit Romania, which he called the “Garden of the Virgin”.
The Italian press gives wide access to the visit of the Pontiff Sovereign to Romania, which calls it a “tour of force”. La Stampa writes about the political and European significance of the visit, pointing out that Pope Francis will be near the border with Hungary, the state that became the emblem of sovereignty in the EU and built a wall of 175 km to keep migrants away. “The one who erected the wall, Viktor Orban, will not attend ceremonies, but the presence of President Janos Ader is not expected to be official, but as a private and faithful Christian citizen,” the Italian newspaper quotes Alessandro Gisotti, director of the Vatican press office. Instead of Viktor Orban, Deputy Prime Minister of Hungary, Semlyen Zsolt will be present at the papal mission in Sumuleu Ciuc, and Hungary will be officially represented by President Janos Ader, the head of the Premier’s press office told the Origo website.
Detailed program of Pope Francis’ visit to Romania.
Friday, May 31, 2019
08:10 Departure by plane from Rome / Fiumicino Airport to Bucharest
11:30 Arrival at Henri Coanda-Otopeni International Airport in Bucharest
OFFICIAL RECEIVING AT THE AIRPORT
12:05 Welcome ceremony at the entrance of the Cotroceni Presidential Palace complex
12:20 COURTESY VISIT TO THE PRESIDENT OF ROMANIA at the Presidential Palace Cotroceni
12:50 MEETING WITH THE PRIME MINISTER at the Presidential Palace Cotroceni
13:00 MEETING WITH THE AUTHORITIES, THE CIVIL SOCIETY and the DIPLOMATIC BODY in the Cotroceni Palace Unirii Hall. Speech of the Holy Father
15:45 PRIVATE MEETING WITH THE Patriarch in the Patriarchal Palace
16:15 MEETING WITH THE PERMANENT SINODE OF THE ROMAN ORTHODOX CHURCH in the Patriarchal Palace. Speech of the Holy Father
17:00 OUR FATHER PRAYER in the new Orthodox Cathedral. Greetings of the Holy Father
18:10 Holy Liturgy in St. Joseph’s Catholic Cathedral. Sermon of the Holy Father
Saturday, June 1, 2019
Bucharest, Bacau, Iasi Sumuleu-BUCHAREST
09:30 Departure by plane to Bacau
10:10 Arrival at Bacău Airport and transfer by helicopter to Miercurea-Ciuc Mountain Bike Air Base
11:30 HOLY LITURGY at the Sumuleu-Ciuc Sanctuary. Sermon of the Holy Father
16:10 Transfer of the Holy Father by helicopter to Iasi Airport
17:25 VISIT TO THE CATHEDRAL HOLY MARIA REGINA from Iasi
17:45 MARIAN MEETING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE AND FAMILIES in the square in front of the Culture Palace in Iasi. Speech of the Holy Father
19:00 Departure by plane to Bucharest
20:00 Arrival at Henri Coanda-Otopeni Airport in Bucharest
Sunday, June 2, 2019
BUCHAREST BLAJ SIBIU ROMA
09:00 Departure by plane to Sibiu
09:40 Arrival at Sibiu Airport and helicopter transfer to Blaj
11:00 Holy and Glorious Liturgy with the beatification of the 7 Greek-Catholic martyrs on the Freedom Plain of Blaj. Sermon of the Holy Father. Regina Coeli
13:25 Lunch together with the papal suite
15:45 Meeting the Rumanian Communion. Greetings of the Holy Father
16:35 Transfer of the Holy Father by helicopter to Sibiu Airport
17:20 CEREMONY OF FAREWELL at Sibiu Airport
17:30 Departure of the Papal Airplane to Rome / Ciampino
18:45 Arrival at Rome / Ciampino Airport
Source: G4media (Translation TFP)