31 years after his predecessor John Paul II, Pope Francis is visiting the southern Italian city of Matera today. 12,000 people wait for the head of the Roman Catholic Church at the stadium in the city in the Basilicata region, where Francis will celebrate the closing mass of the National Eucharistic Conference. The Eucharistic Congress in Matera is the first major event of the Italian Church since the pandemic.
800 delegates from 166 Italian dioceses participate. In addition, about 80 bishops traveled to Matera, according to the Italian Bishops’ Conference. Due to bad weather, the Pope could not fly from the Vatican to Matera by helicopter as planned. He had to fly from Ciampino Airport in Rome to the Adriatic port of Bari in southern Italy and then to Matera.
Myanmar: “a cry of sorrow”
Francis summoned Myanmar. At least 11 children were killed in an airstrike by the Military Council on a school in the Southeast Asian country. “This week, I heard a cry of grief over the deaths of children in a school that was bombed,” the 85-year-old said. “You can see that bombing schools is all the rage in the world today. The screams of these youngsters may not be heard! Such tragedies should not happen!”
At the end of noon prayers in Matera, Francis also called for the release of Christians kidnapped in western Cameroon. He prays for the kidnapped and for the faith community in Bamenda that the Lord will bring them peace. On September 16, unknown assailants burned the Church of St. Mary in the village of Nchang in Cameroon and kidnapped five priests, a nun and some other believers.
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