VATICAN INSIDER AND A MISSIONARY OF MERCY – FRANCIS IS FIRST LATIN AMERICAN POPE TO VISIT MEXICO – THE POPE AND THE PRESS, A MEET AND GREET ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE

VATICAN INSIDER AND A MISSIONARY OF MERCY

This weekend I offer a fairly unusual version of Vatican Insider. The news segment will be abbreviated because of my guest and there will be no Q&A. In fact, my guest this week for almost the entire program is EWTN’s own Fr. John Paul who, in his time in Rome, received the mandate from Pope Francis to be a Missionary of Mercy during the Jubilee Year of Mercy. We will talk about the themes that emerged during this intense week in which papal Masses, audiences and speeches focused mainly on mercy, the Sacrament of Penance or confession and reconciliation.

FR JP I

In Rome for the canonization of his namesake –

FR JP II

As you know, in the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at www.ewtn.com) or on Sirius-XM satellite radio. If you live outside the U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” Vatican Insider airs Saturday mornings at 9:30 am (Eastern time) and re-airs Sundays at 4:30 pm (ET). Check for your time zone. Past shows are found in Vatican Insider archives: http://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

FRANCIS IS FIRST LATIN AMERICAN POPE TO VISIT MEXICO

Pope Francis left Rome early this morning (but not without a delay as seen in the tweets from journalists aboard the papal plane!) for a six-day apostolic trip to Mexico, making a stopover in Cuba for several hours for a history-making meeting with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, the first meeting since the great schism of 1054 when Eastern Christianity split from Western Christianity. Francis is the first Latin American Pope to visit Mexico.

Because of the added stop in Cuba for the meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, the Rome departure time was moved up by nearly five hours so that the papal schedule in Mexico will not be greatly affected. However, the delayed departure of the papal plane this morning from Rome’s Fiumicino airport will probably have some effect on the schedule, unless the pilot can make up some time, although traveling west, one usually encounters head winds.

The delay was due to an emergency landing at Fiumicino of an EasyJet plane that had left Naples for Venice but encountered a technical problem and requested emergency landing. The airport started the usual emergency procedures which include not allowing other planes to leave. The papal plane was due to leave at 7:45. The EasyJet landed at 7:53.

En route to Cuba and Mexico, the Pope sent telegrams to the heads of State whose nations the papal plane flew over, including Italy, France, Spain, and Portugal.

In a separate column, I will offer give some background on this millennia-old separation between Orthodox Christians and Roman Catholics.

In case you are interested in his day-by-day agenda, the papal schedule is below:

SCHEDULE OF PAPAL VISIT

FRIDAY, 12 FEBRUARY 2016

7:45 Departure from Rome’s Fiumicino airport for Havana (Cuba) Greeting to journalists during the flight Rome-Havana [Italian]  
14:00 Arrival at “José Martí” International Airport of Havana  
14:15 Private meeting with H.H. Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia  
16:30 Signing of the Joint Declaration [Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish]  
17:10 Farewell between His Holiness Kirill and the Holy Father  
17:30 Departure from the International Airport of Havana for Mexico City  
19:30 Arrival at the “Benito Juárez” International Airport of Mexico City  
  Official welcome  

SATURDAY, 13 FEBRUARY 2016

9:30 Welcoming ceremony at the National Palace  
  Courtesy visit with the President of the Republic  
10:15 Meeting with authorities, representatives of civil society and the diplomatic corps [Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish]  
11:30 Meeting with the Bishops of Mexico gathered in the Cathedral [Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish]  
17:00 Holy Mass in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe [Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish]  

SUNDAY, 14 FEBRUARY 2016

10:15 Transfer by helicopter to Ecatepec  
11:30 Holy Mass at the Study Center of Ecatepec [Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish]  
  Angelus [Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish]  
14:00 Luncheon with the Papal Entourage at the Diocesan Seminary in Ecatepec  
16:45 Transfer by helicopter to Mexico City  
17:15 Arrival at Mexico City  
17:45 Visit to the “Federico Gómez” children’s hospital [Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish]  

MONDAY, 15 FEBRUARY 2016

7:30 Departure by plane for Tuxtla Gutiérrez  
9:15 Transfer by helicopter to San Cristóbal de Las Casas  
10:15 Holy Mass with representatives of the indigenous communities of Chiapas in the municipal sport center [Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish]  
13:00 Luncheon with representatives of the indigenous communities and the Papal Entourage  
15:00 Visit to the Cathedral of San Cristóbal de las Casas  
15:35 Transfer by helicopter to Tuxtla Gutiérrez  
16:15 Meeting with families in the “Víctor Manuel Reyna” stadium in Tuxtla Gutiérrez [Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish]  
18:10 Departure by plane for Mexico City  
20:00 Arrival at Mexico City airport  

TUESDAY, 16 FEBRUARY 2016

7:50 Departure by plane for Morelia  
10:00 Holy Mass with priests, men and women religious, consecrated people and seminarians at “Venustiano Carranza” Stadium [Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish]  
15:20 Visit to the Cathedral  
16:30 Meeting with young people in the “José María Morelos y Pavón” stadium [Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish]  
18:30 Departure by plane for Mexico City  
19:35 Arrival at Mexico City airport  

WEDNESDAY, 17 FEBRUARY 2016

8:35 Departure by plane for Ciudad Juarez  
10:00 Arrival at “Abraham González” International Airport of Ciudad Juarez  
10:30 Visit to the penitentiary (CeReSo n. 3) [Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish]  
12:00 Meeting with the world of labour at the Bachilleres College in the state of Chihuahua [Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish]  
16:00 Holy Mass at the Ciudad Juárez fairgrounds [Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish]  
19:00 Farewell ceremony at the International Airport of Ciudad Juárez  
19:15 Departure for Rome/Ciampino  

THURSDAY, 18 FEBRUARY 2016

14:45 Arrival at Ciampino Airport in Rome

THE POPE AND THE PRESS, A MEET AND GREET ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis greeted the reporters who joined him on the plane Friday for his apostolic journey to Havana – for a brief meeting with Russian Patriarch Kirill – and Mexico.

The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, said the Holy Father had a “beautiful meeting” with the journalists, and called the journey “very important.”

Father Lombardi said the Pope noted it was the final apostolic trip of Alberto Gasbarri, the coordinator of papal journeys, and thanked him for his 47 years of service to the Vatican.

The dean of the Holy See Press Corps, Valentina Alazraki of Mexico’s “Televisa”, gave Pope Francis a sombrero to celebrate his journey to her native country. The Holy Father also revealed to the journalists she gave him some films starring the Mexican comedian Cantinflas earlier in the week to help him prepare for his trip, which Pope Francis said were a “good laugh.”

POPE-SOMBVRERO

“My deepest desire is to pause before Our Lady of Guadalupe, this mystery that is studied, and studied, and studied, and there is no human explanation,” Pope Francis said on the plane, adding even scientists say the image is “a thing of God.”

Wall Street Journal correspondent Francis X. Rocca sent a Facebook message from the plane describing an “unusual” and “moving” encounter, with Noel Diaz of ESNE Catholic television in Los Angeles.

“As a child in his native Tijuana, Mexico, Diaz shined shoes for money. So today he knelt down in the aisle and shined the pope’s shoes, then gave him a custom-made shoeshine kit,” Rocca writes. “Diaz told the pope he intended these presents as reminders of the unheralded struggles of ordinary, honest people across Mexico and among immigrants to the U.S.”

Responding to press reports of a papal visit to Colombia, Pope Francis said he could visit the country in 2017 if peace talks between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) continue to go forward.

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