“A long, complicated, but beautiful journey.” This is the remark made by Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, during the briefing for the presentation of Pope Francis’ tenth apostolic visit to Cuba, the USA and the UN, scheduled between September 19 and September 28. The spokesman of the Holy See has stressed that the Pontiff will visit three Caribbean cities: Havana, Holguin, and Santiago. During Mass in the Revolution Square, José Marti will give the first communion to five children as a sign of hope and growth of the Church on the island. According to Father Lombardi it is “likely”, although not scheduled, that Bergoglio will meet also the elderly lider maximo Fidel Castro.
In the capital, on the Pope’s agenda there is an appointment with young people, while in Santiago, the he will visit the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, in the 100° year after the proclamation of the Virgin as the patron of the island. Finally, the Pope will greet the families. In Washington, he will be welcomed by Barack Obama and other civil and religious authorities; whereas on September 23 there will be an official ceremony at the White House. In the capital of the United States, the Pontiff will canonize the Blessed Junipero Serra, a Spaniard who played a crucial role in the evangelisation of the American continent during the XVIII century. The next day, Francis, the first Pope in history, will enter the USA Congress and talk to its members. Another moment awaited with much anticipation is the Pontiff’s visit to the UN, in the Glass Palace, New York. There, the Holy Father will hold an important speech.
Then he will visit Ground Zero to pay tribute to the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Last stop is going to be Philadelphia city for the 8th World Meeting of Families. The director of the press office reiterated that the bishop of Rome will dedicate, as usually, much attention to the poor, the prisoners and to charitable initiatives. There are twenty six official speeches in program: 8 In Cuba and 18 in the United States. With respect to safety, Father Lombardi has stated that there are no special concerns: the Pontiff will often move in the “Popemobile” that will be open while passing in the middle of the crowd. The archdiocese of the American cities have announced that in the scheduled events will partake numerous stars, such as Jennifer Hudson, Gloria Estefan, Aretha Franklin and Andrea Bocelli.