Pope Francis left this morning at 11.30 from Rome to Santa Fe in Bogota, capital of Colombia. Jorge Mario Bergoglio goes in the South American country for his 20th international journey as “pilgrim of hope and peace”, as he declared himself in a video message to Colombians last Monday.
Pilgrim of hope and peace
The Alitalia aircraft AZ A330 with the Pontiff on board, which has diverted the planned route to avoid the hurricane Irma, should land after more than twelve hours of traveling at 16.30 local time (23.30 Italian time). At the airport of Bogota, he will be welcomed by the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, for the welcome ceremony. In an interview with Il Messaggero, Santos explained that “the visit has the objective of motivate us to continue on the path of reconciliation” (in Colombia is in act a difficult peace process between the Government and the FARC guerrillas).
The negotiations between the parties are going forward from four years, followed with interest from the Vatican. In this period – tells the Colombian President – Pope Francis “has always prayed for peace. He asked us several times not to miss this opportunity to put an end to the pain and suffering after so many years of conflict”. In September 2016, on the occasion of the signing of a historic treaty between Bogota and FARC signed in Cartagena, was present also the Secretary of State of the Holy See Pietro Parolin.
The program of the trip
The theme of peace will be at the centre of the meeting that tomorrow, 7 September, the Pope will have in the Plaza de Armas of the Casa de Nariño with the Colombian authorities. Always Tomorrow the Bishop of Rome will go to the Cathedral of Bogota, where he will bless the faithful and will meet with the bishops. At 16.30 local time, he will celebrate a Mass in the Park Simon Bolivar.
Friday 8 September, he will move by aircraft to Villavicencio, where the main event will be the great prayer meeting for national reconciliation in Parque Las Malocas, at 15.45 local time. In the evening, he will return to Bogota.
The next day, Saturday 9, departure by plane for Rionegro and then by helicopter to Medellin, where he will celebrate a mass in the airport. In the course of the day in Medellin, Bergoglio will meet priests, religious, consecrated persons and seminarians with their families.
In the evening, he will be back in Bogota and then the next morning The Pope will go to Cartagena, where he will stay for the whole Sunday 10 September. Here he will bless the first stone of the houses for the homeless and then at 12.00 he will hold the Angelus prayer in front of the church of Saint Peter Claver. At 16.30 local time, Mass in the port area of Contecar. In the evening, the farewell ceremony and then the return to Rome, expected at 12.40 Italian time of Monday 11 September.