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Pope Francis to travel to Mongolia on Aug. 31

June 3, 2023 Catholic News Agency 1
Pope Francis greets pilgrims at the Wednesday general audience in St. Peter’s Square on March 22, 2023. / Daniel Ibanez/CNA

Rome Newsroom, Jun 3, 2023 / 05:30 am (CNA).

The Vatican announced Saturday that Pope Francis will visit Mongolia, the world’s most sparsely populated sovereign country.

The pope is set to travel to Mongolia from Aug. 31 to Sept. 4. The trip will make Pope Francis the first pope to visit the Asian country that shares a 2,880-mile border with China, its most significant economic partner.

Mongolia has a population of about 1,300 Catholics in a country of more than 3 million people.

The first modern mission to Mongolia was in 1922 and was entrusted to the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. But under a communist government, religious expression was soon thereafter suppressed, until 1992. Mongolia’s first native priest was ordained in 2016.

Last year, Pope Francis named an Italian who had served as a missionary in Mongolia for nearly 20 years as the world’s youngest cardinal. Cardinal Giorgio Marengo, 48, is the apostolic prefect of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, which serves the entire country.

Roughly the size of Alaska, Mongolia has five people per square mile. About 30% of its population is nomadic or semi-nomadic. Bordering Russia to the north and China to the south, Mongolia is also the second-largest landlocked country in the world with the vast Gobi Desert covering one-third of its territory.

Pope Francis will also travel to Lisbon, Portugal, for World Youth Day this August with a visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima.

The pope is also expected to travel to Marseille to preside over a Mass on Sept. 23 as part of a meeting of Mediterranean bishops in the port city in southern France.

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Pope Francis says he will travel to Mongolia

April 15, 2023 Catholic News Agency 2
Pope Francis greets pilgrims at the Wednesday general audience in St. Peter’s Square on March 22, 2023. / Daniel Ibanez/CNA

Rome Newsroom, Apr 15, 2023 / 06:50 am (CNA).

Pope Francis said Friday that he plans to visit Mongolia, the world’s most sparsely populated sovereign country.

In off-the-cuff remarks to employees of the Italian airline company that staffs the papal plane for his international trips, the pope said that he will travel to Mongolia after his scheduled trips to Hungary and France in the coming months.

“In two weeks’ time, God willing, I will leave for my 41st pilgrimage, by going to visit Hungary. And then there will be Marseille, then Mongolia,” Francis said at a Vatican audience with ITA Airways on April 14.

An apostolic journey to Mongolia would make Pope Francis the first pope to visit the Asian country that shares a 2,880-mile border with China, its most significant economic partner.

Mongolia has a population of about 1,300 Catholics in a country of more than 3 million people.

The first modern mission to Mongolia was in 1922 and was entrusted to the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. But under a communist government, religious expression was soon thereafter suppressed, until 1992. Mongolia’s first native priest was ordained in 2016.

Last year, Pope Francis named an Italian who had served as a missionary in Mongolia for nearly 20 years as the world’s youngest cardinal. Cardinal Giorgio Marengo, 48, is the apostolic prefect of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, which serves the entire country.

Roughly the size of Alaska, Mongolia has 5 people per square mile. About 30% of its population is nomadic or semi-nomadic. Bordering Russia to the north and China to the south, Mongolia is also the second largest landlocked country in the world with the vast Gobi Desert covering one-third of its territory.

Pope Francis first spoke about the possibility of traveling to Mongolia in February during an in-flight press conference on his return trip from South Sudan. He told reporters at the time that “there is a possibility from Marseille to fly to Mongolia.”

Pope Francis meets with ITA Airways staff at the Vatican on April 14, 2023. Vatican Media
Pope Francis meets with ITA Airways staff at the Vatican on April 14, 2023. Vatican Media

What countries will Pope Francis visit in 2023?

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Budapest, Hungary at the end of this month from April 28-30 in what will be his second visit to the central European country in three years.

The pope is also expected to travel to Portugal during the 2023 World Youth Day in Lisbon taking place August 1-6.

The French Diocese of Marseille announced this week that Pope Francis will preside over a Mass on Sept. 23 as part of a meeting of Mediterranean bishops in the port city in southern France.

Due to the pope’s recent comments, it is expected that a potential papal trip to Mongolia would depart directly from Marseille.

Pope Francis has also said that he hopes to travel to India next year in response to an invitation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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Pope Francis to visit Hungary in April

February 27, 2023 Catholic News Agency 1

Pope Francis in Budapest, Hungary, on Sept. 12, 2021. / Daniel Ibanez/CNA

Rome Newsroom, Feb 27, 2023 / 05:50 am (CNA).
The Vatican announced Saturday that Pope Francis will visit Hungary for the second time, from April 28-30.According to the F… […]

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Pope Francis’ trip to Africa rescheduled for February 2023

December 1, 2022 Catholic News Agency 1
Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square, Sept. 28, 2022 / Pablo Esparza / CNA

Rome Newsroom, Dec 1, 2022 / 04:41 am (CNA).

Pope Francis has rescheduled his trip to the African countries of the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan for Jan. 31-Feb. 5, 2023, the Vatican announced on Thursday.

The visit was originally to take place in the beginning of July 2022, but was postponed by the Vatican due to problems with Pope Francis’ knee. The 85-year-old pope apologized in June for having to put off the trip, and vowed to reschedule it “as soon as possible.”

Francis will spend the first leg of the trip, Jan. 31-Feb. 3, in the Congolese city of Kinshasa, before visiting the South Sudanese capital, Juba, Feb. 3-5.

An updated schedule released by the Vatican Dec. 1 showed that the pope no longer plans to visit the city of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo, part of the original trip schedule.

The logo and motto for the trip were announced in March 2022.

Francis’ visit to South Sudan will be a “pilgrimage of peace,” and take place together with the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the moderator of the Church of Scotland, Iain Greenshields.

Pope Francis will be the first pope to visit South Sudan, which became the world’s newest country when it declared independence from the Republic of the Sudan on July 9, 2011. The nation in east-central Africa has a population of 11 million people, around 37% of whom are Catholic.

In 2019, Pope Francis brought South Sudanese leaders together at the Vatican for a “spiritual retreat” aimed at resolving their differences.

He also celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica for Congolese immigrants in 2019, marking the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the Congolese Catholic Chaplaincy of Rome.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is a Central African country of around 90 million people, roughly half of whom are Catholic. Pope John Paul II visited the country, then known as Zaire, in 1980.

After reluctantly bowing out of his own scheduled trip to Africa in July, Pope Francis sent the Vatican’s second-highest-ranking official in his place, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

The pope also celebrated a Mass for Rome’s Congolese community in St. Peter’s Basilica on July 3, the day he was due to offer Mass in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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