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​Cuba, U.S. set to be a busy trip for Pope Francis

June 30, 2015 | posted by Catholic News Agency

Topics: Breaking News


Cuba, U.S. set to be a busy trip for Pope Francis 

Pope Francis’ itinerary while in Cuba and the United States confirms several highly anticipated events including a special U.N. Summit and the canonization of Bl. Junipero Serra. He is also set to meet with groups he frequently prioritizes: homeless, prisoners and migrants.

On June 30, the Vatican issued a final schedule for Pope Francis’ upcoming 10-day trip to both Cuba and the United States of America.

The schedule confirms that he will visit the small Caribbean Island Sept. 19-22, and will then travel to the U.S. Sept. 22-27, before landing in Rome the morning of the 28th.

Pope Francis recently played a key role in helping thaw icy relations between the two countries, which after more than 50 years of broken ties agreed in December to restore diplomatic relations.

Although news of the Pope’s plan to visit the U.S. in 2015 had been public for some time, his stop in Cuba beforehand was just announced in April.

After leaving from Rome’s Fiumicino airport the morning of Saturday, Sept. 19, Pope Francis will land in Havana that evening, where he will receive an official welcome. The next morning he will meet with Cuban president Raul Castro, before heading to Vespers with priests, religious and seminarians that evening.

He will travel to Holguín Sept. 21, where he will celebrate Mass and bless the city before flying to Santiago that evening. He departs from Santiago at 12:30 p.m. on the 22nd, and is scheduled to land in Washington D.C. at 4 p.m. local time.

While in the U.S. Pope Francis is scheduled to participate in several major events, including the canonization of Bl. Junípero Serra, considered a founding father of California, and meetings with the U.S. Congress as well as a special summit at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York.

Wasting no time, Pope Francis will canonize Bl. Junípero Serra at Washington D.C.’s National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception the day after he lands.

The next morning at 9:20, he will be the first religious leader to address a joint meeting of Congress, according to congressional historians. Francis will later meet with homeless before heading to New York.

Once in New York, the Pope will address the U.N. Special Summit on Sustainable Development the morning of Sept. 25. He will then participate in an interreligious encounter at the Ground Zero memorial, where Benedict XVI also stopped during his visit in 2008.

Francis will conclude the day by meeting with child and family migrants in Harlem, and then celebrating Mass in Madison Square Garden.

He leaves for Philadelphia the next morning, where he is set to participate in the World Meeting of Families.

After meeting with bishops, priests and religious the morning of the 26th, the Pope will participate in an encounter for Religious Freedom with the Hispanic community and other immigrants in Philadelphia's Independence Mall. That evening he will attend a prayer vigil for the World Meeting of Families.

On his final day in the U.S. Pope Francis will meet with bishops present for the family gathering as well as prisoners in Philadelphia’s Curran-Fromhold correctional facility.

After celebrating Mass that afternoon the Pope will greet the organizers, volunteers and benefactors of his trip before departing for Rome. He is scheduled to land around 10 a.m. Sept. 28.

See schedule below for the pope's visit.

Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015

10:15a.m. Departure by plane from Rome's Fiumicino airport for Havana
4:00 p.m. Arrival at the International José Marti airport of Havana
4:05 p.m. Welcoming ceremony at airport of Havana

Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015

9:00a.m. Holy Mass in the Plaza de la Revolución in Havana
4 p.m. Courtesy visit to the president of the State Council and the Council of Ministries in the Palacio de la Revolución in Havana
5:15 p.m. Celebration of Vespers with priests, religious and seminarians in the Cathedral of Havana
6:30 p.m. Greeting to the youth in the Padre Félix Varela Cultural Center in Havana

Monday, Sept. 21, 2015

8:00a.m. Departure by plane for Holguín
9:20a.m. Arrival at the International Arrivo “Frank Pais” airport of Holguín
10:30a.m. Holy Mass in the Plaza de la Revolución in Holguín
3:45 p.m. Blessing of the City from the Loma de la Cruz in Holguín
4:40 p.m. Departure by plane for Santiago
5:30 p.m. Arrival at the international “Antonio Maceo” airport in Santiago
7:00 p.m. Meeting with bishops in the San Basilio Magno seminary in Santiago
7:45 p.m. Prayer to Our Lady of Charity, with the bishops and the papal entourage, in the minor basilica of “Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre” sanctuary in Santiago

Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015

8:00a.m. Holy Mass at the minor basilica of “Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre” sanctuary in Santiago
11:00 a.m. Meeting with families in the Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral in Santiago and blessing of the city outside the cathedral
12:15 p.m. Farewell ceremony at the airport
12:30 p.m. Departure from Santiago for Washington D.C.
4:00 p.m. Arrival to Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, D.C. and official welcoming ceremony

Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015

9:15a.m. Welcoming ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House and courtesy visit to the president of the United States, Barack Obama
11:30a.m. Meeting with the bishops of the United States of America in St. Matthew's Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
4:15 p.m. Holy Mass and the canonization of Bl. Fr. Junípero Serra in the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C.

Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015

9:20a.m. Visit to the United States Congress
11:15a.m. Visit to the Charitable Center of St. Patrick Parish and meeting with homeless
4:00 p.m. Departure by plane for New York
5:00 p.m. Arrival to the JFK airport in New York
6:45 p.m. Vespers with priests and religious in St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York

Friday, Sept. 25, 2015

8:30a.m. Visit to the headquarters of the United Nations
11:30a.m. Interreligious encounter at the Ground Zero memorial in New York
4 p.m. Visit to "Our Lady, Queen of the Angels" school and meeting with child and family migrants in Harlem, New York
6 p.m. Holy Mass in Madison Square Garden

Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015

8:40a.m. Departure by plane for Philadelphia
9:30a.m. Arrival at the international airport of Philadelphia
10:30a.m. Holy Mass with the bishops, priests and religious of Philadelphia in the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul
4:45 p.m. Encounter for Religious Freedom with the Hispanic community and other immigrants in Philadelphia's Independence Mall
7:30 p.m. Celebration of Families and prayer vigil for the World Meeting of Families at Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015

9:15a.m. Meeting with bishops present for the World Meeting of Families in the St. Charles Borromeo seminary
11:00a.m. Visit with prisoners at the Curran-Fromhold correctional facility in Philadelphia
4 p.m. Holy Mass concluding the World Meeting of Families at Benjamin Franklin Parkway
7:00 p.m. Greeting to the organizing committee, volunteers and benefactors at the international airport of Philadelphia
7:45 p.m. Farewell ceremony
8:00 p.m. Departure by plane for Rome's Ciampino airport

Monday, Sept. 28, 2015

10:00a.m. Arrival to Rome's Ciampino airport