20 years after the last visit of a Pope to Bucharest, the Sovereign Pontiff is starting on Friday his 3-day apostolic visit to Romania, during which he will meet the state authorities, the representatives of the Romanian Orthodox Church, ordinary people (Catholics and not only them), and will beatify 7 Greek-Catholic bishops murdered because of the hatred towards faith in various places in Romania, between 1950 and 1970.
Pope Francis’s historic pastoral visit in Romania will also have strong ecumenical valences, under the motto “Let’s walk together.” During his three-day stay, the Holy Father will visit Bucharest, Iasi, Blaj, as well as the Marian sanctuary at Sumuleu-Ciuc. A visit of special symbolism.
Whether we are talking about hierarchs, priests or faithful, all Romanian Catholics are ready and anxious to meet the heir of Holy Apostle Peter, Holy Father Francis.
“Twenty years since the historic visit paid by Pope John Paul II, we have the great joy of now welcoming Holy Father Pope Francis to Romania. During his visit, from May 31 to June 2 this year, the Holy Father will first come here, to Bucharest, then he will go to Sumuleu-Ciuc, Iasi and Blaj. For the Pope it will be an opportunity to strengthen us in our faith, and for us a good opportunity to share the beauties of our country with the Holy Father. On the first day he will come here, to Bucharest, in this historical cathedral, we will pray together during the Holy and Godly Mass that he will celebrate here, and we will listen to his speech. We are grateful to the Holy Father for his great gift not only for the Catholics of Romania but for all Romanians. We thank him and wait him with our arms extended and our hearts filled with joy,” His Holiness Ioan Robu, Archbishop and Metropolitan Bishop of Bucharest, states in a video message filmed especially for this historic moment.
“I come to Romania, a beautiful and welcoming country, as a pilgrim and a brother”
On Tuesday evening, Pope Francis sent a message to Romanians, ahead of his visit set to start on Friday. The Sovereign Pontiff underscored “the bonds of faith that unite us,” and expressed his thanks for the preparations underway in Romania.
“Dear brothers and sisters from Romania! Only a few days are left before the journey that will bring me to you. This thought gives me joy and I wish to send my most cordial greetings to all of you. I come to Romania, a beautiful and welcoming country, as a pilgrim and a brother, and I thank the President and other authorities for inviting me and for their full cooperation. I look forward to the joy of meeting the Patriarch and the Permanent Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church, as well as the Catholic pastors and faithful,” Pope Francis said.
“The bonds of faith which unite us date back to the Apostles, in particular to the bond that united Peter and Andrew, the one who, according to tradition, brought the faith to your lands. Blood brothers, they also shed blood for the Lord. And among you there have been many martyrs, even in recent times, such as the seven Greek-Catholic bishops whom I will have the joy of proclaiming Blessed. What they have suffered for, to the point of offering their lives, is too precious a legacy to be forgotten. It is a common legacy that calls us not to distance ourselves from our brother who shares it. I come among you to walk together. We walk together when we learn to keep our roots and our family, when we take care of the future of our children and of our brother who is close to us, when we go beyond fears and suspicions, when we let the barriers that separate us from others fall. I know that many of you are eagerly preparing for my visit, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. To all of you I assure my closeness in prayer and I send my Blessing. And I ask you, please, pray for me. Goodbye!”, Pope Francis said.
A historical visit, long-awaited by thousands of people. Drastic security measures have been implemented
Pope Francis’ visit to Romania is a historical one and it was long-awaited by thousands of people.
For the smooth development of the event, a number of drastic security measures have been implemented and pilgrims have been advised to cooperate with the volunteers and the organizers.
As it was easy to predict, drastic security measures have been taken for Pope’s visit. According to the representatives of the Bucharest Municipality, an integrated security plan of the highest level will be implemented in Bucharest, being considered to be similar to the one for a visit of the US President.
Pilgrims’ access to the public events attended by Pope Francis in Romania will be allowed after passing through the security filters, according to the Inter-ministerial Committee for Security “Pope Francis’ Visit 2019”. Pilgrims are advised to arrive early in the access areas.
Moreover, participants are not allowed to have alcoholic drinks, any kind of pet or other animal, and each person has to have the nominal ticket which cannot be transferred to other person.
The Inter-ministerial Committee for Security “Pope Francis’ Visit 2019”, in collaboration with the representatives of the Churches in Bucharest, Miercurea Ciuc, Iasi and Blaj, has established a number of useful recommendations to all those who will attend the public events occasioned by Pope Francis’ visit. The access to all the public events will be allowed after implementing the checking measures in the security filters placed in the area.
“People are allowed to welcome Pope Francis on his arrival in Romania, on May 31, in the area of the Kiseleff Boulevard, between Arhitect Ion Mincu Street and Victoriei Square. In this area, the Supreme Pontiff’s motorcade will travel at low speed, in order for Pope Francis to be able to greet those who will be there. On the other parts of the route, the Supreme Pontiff’s motorcade will travel according to the security protocol required by the event, therefore the chances to see Pope Francis on these segments are lower. Using drones is forbidden on the route of the official motorcade”, reads a press release of the Inter-ministerial Committee for Security “Pope Francis’ Visit 2019”.
According to the quoted source, participants are advised to cooperate with the volunteers and the security staff in the access areas.
Schools closed in Bucharest
All public and private schools will be closed in Bucharest on Friday, during the visit of Pope Francis, the School Inspectorate of the Bucharest Municipality (ISMB) announced. Some of the schools were partially closed on Thursday too, so that organisers can take the necessary security measures along the Pope’s route.
The decision was adopted by the headquarters convened at the Bucharest City Hall.
“All schools will close on Friday. On Thursday, the Inspectorate drafted a list of schools located along the route but, in the end, it was decided that each school should decide whether they should suspend classes or not,” ISMB Spokesperson Mariana Manea stated.
Schedule of Pope Francis’ visit to Romania:
On Friday, May 31 – Rome-Bucharest
08:10 Pope’s departure by the flight from the Rome Airport/Fiumicino to Bucharest
11:30 The arrival at the Henri Coanda-Otopeni International Airport, in Bucharest
The official reception at the Airport:
12:05 The welcome ceremony at the entrance of the complex of the Cotroceni Presidential Palace
12:20 A courtesy visit to the Romanian President at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace
12:50 Meeting with the Prime Minister at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace
13:00 Meeting with the authorities, with the civil society and with the diplomatic corps, at the Unirii Hall of the Cotroceni Palace. The speech of the Holy Father
15:45 Private meeting with the Patriarch at the Patriarchal Palace
16:15 Meeting with the Standing Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church at the Patriarchal Palace. The speech of the Holy Father
17:00 The prayer Our Father in the new Orthodox Cathedral. The Holy Father’s greetings
The Catholic Cathedral. The Revolution Square:
18:10 The Divine Liturgy at the Sfantul Iosif Catholic Cathedral. Holy Father’s sermon
On Saturday, June 1: 9:30 – The transfer from Bucharest, by aircraft, to Bacau, then Pope Francis will fly by the helicopter to Miercurea-Ciuc, at the Roman-Catholic Archdiocese of Alba-Iulia.
Successively, the Pope will travel by car to Virgin Mary’s Sanctuary from Sumuleu-Ciuc, where he will celebrate the Divine Liturgy with the pilgrims who will be there, and he will hold the homily of the Eucharistic celebration.
17:00 – Transportation by the helicopter to the Iasi Airport
17:30 – Pope will visit to the Roman-Catholic Cathedral, and then he will go in front of the Culture Palace for a Marian meeting with youngsters and families, to which he will address the sixth speech of his visit. During the evening, Pope will return to Bucharest by the aircraft.
On Sunday, June 2: 9:00 – Transfer by aircraft from Bucharest to Sibiu, from where he will fly by the helicopter to Blaj, the historical center of the Romanian Church United with Rome, Greek-Catholic. Here, the Pontiff will celebrate the Divine Liturgy and will beatify seven Greek-Catholic martyr bishops; the sacred ceremony will be held on Campia Libertatii from Blaj.
After having lunch with the papal suite, the Holy Father will meet the Roma community in Blaj.
17:00 – The Pope arrives by the helicopter to the Sibiu Airport, for the farewell ceremony.
17:30 – Pope Francis leaves Romania by aircraft, and will arrive at the Rome-Ciampino Airport around 18:30 LT.
After his customary visit to Virgin Mary’s icon “Salus Populi Romani” at the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore, the Pope will return to his residence in “Saint Marta” House, in the Vatican City.
Sovereign Pontiff’s menu
During his visit to Romania, Pope Francis will opt for a Mediterranean – Italian menu, and “he will not have time to enjoy the Romanian food”, sources from within the Romanian Catholic Church stated for MEDIAFAX.
The Supreme Pontiff will have a simple menu, which is very rich in vegetables. According to the Italian press, Pope Francis prefers to eat seasonal vegetables and herbs with olive oil. Generally, for the first course, the Pope alternates rice (risotto) with “white” pasta, while at the second course he prefers white meat or fresh fish, according to a recent article published by repubblica.it. For the desert, the Supreme Pontiff prefers seasonal fruits.
According to the representatives of the Romanian Catholic Church, during the two nights spent in Romania, Pope Francis will be accommodated at the Apostolic Nunciature of Bucharest, where Pope John Paul II was also accommodated 20 years ago.
President Iohannis to participate with Pope Francis in ceremonies at National Cathedral, Saint Joseph Cathedral, Blaj
President Klaus Iohannis will accompany Pope Francis, who is paying an apostolic visit in Romania on Friday through Sunday, in the ceremonies to be organised at the National Cathedral, the Saint Joseph Cathedral and Blaj.
President Iohannis said, on this occasion, that the visit of Pope Francis in Romania is “a happy occasion to bring together Orthodox, Roman-Catholic and Greek-Catholic Christians,” reads a release of the Presidential Administration.
He will also accompany His Holiness in a religious ceremony to be dedicated to every denomination.
On Friday, starting on 5 pm, President Klaus Iohannis will participate in the ceremony of the Romanian Orthodox Church at the National Cathedral. Later on, starting at 5.55 pm, the head of the state will be at the Roman-Catholic liturgy at the Saint Joseph Cathedral. On Sunday, President Iohannis will go to Blaj, where, on the Liberty Field, there will be held a Greek-Catholic religious service for the beatification of seven Greek-Catholic martyrs.
The President will welcome His Holiness Pope Francis to the Cotroceni Presidential Palace on Friday.
Upon his arrival in Romania, Pope Francis will be welcomed by the head of state at the “Henri Coanda” International Airport, at 11.25, with the official welcoming ceremony to take place at the Cotroceni Palace at 12.05.
President Iohannis and His Holiness Pope Francis will have head-to-head talks and, starting at 1.05 pm, they will have a meeting with the state authorities, representatives of the civil society and diplomatic corps in the Union Hall. On this occasion, with approximately 400 guests in attendance, the head of state and Pope Francis will be delivering speeches.
The visit to Romania of His Holiness Pope Francis will end on Sunday, 5.30 pm, with the official departure ceremony on the Sibiu International Airport, with President Klaus Iohannis in attendance.
The state visit of His Holiness comes in answer to an invitation extended by President Klaus Iohannis, back in May 2015, on the occasion of the anniversary of a quarter century since the resumption of diplomatic relations between Romania and the Holy Seat. Subsequently, in March 2017, the invitation was renewed in a letter sent by the President of Romania to His Holiness.
Archbishop Miguel Maury Buendía, Apostolic Nuncio in Romania: Pope Francis in Romania- I hope that the heart of all Romanians will be filled with peace and joy after this historical Visit and People will get closer one to another