His Holiness Pope Francis is in Colombia for a five-day visit.
This visit is the first of firsts by firsts. Francis is the first Jesuit pope, the first from the Americas, the first from the Southern Hemisphere, the first to have a papal name without a number title since Lando in 913 AD, and the first pope from outside Europe since the Syrian Gregory III, of the 8th century.
Although there are overtones of politics – the Colombian peace process is mired in controversy and talking heads postulate nonstop on how the papal visit will influence the current state of events – the papal office has emphasized that this visit is for the people.
Colombia has the sixth or seventh largest Catholic population in the world. (Depending on how you count. France is listed as having between 36 and 44 million Catholics and Colombia has a little over 36 million.)
Before He was His Holiness
Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires on December 17, 1936, the son of Italian immigrants. He is a man of both science and religion having graduated as a chemical technician before choosing the path of the priesthood and becoming ordained on December 13, 1969.
For a full biography visit the Vatican website.
Who is Pope Francis?
San Roberto Bellarmino (Bergoglio’s cardinal name) was elected Supreme Pontiff on March 13, 2013 and chose Francis as his papal name in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi. He is the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church.
His papacy marks a return to simplicity and modesty away from ostentation, as well as an opposition to consumerism and irresponsible development. The Pope supports taking action on climate change and emphasizes consideration of how governmental policy will affect the masses, especially the poor.
Events with the Pope
Here are the specific events of the Pontiff’s visit.
Bogotá: Wednesday, September 6, 2017
|4:30 pm||Arrival at Catam military airport where His Holiness will be welcomed by President Juan Manuel Santos and his wife and Monsignor Ettore Balestrero and receive head of state honors.|
Thursday, September 7, 2017
|9:00 am||Meeting with authorities and representatives of civil society at Casa de Nariño Presidential Palace’s Parade Square Plaza de Armas|
|9:30||Courtesy visit to the President in the Reception Hall of Casa de Nariño Presidential Palace|
|10:20||Visit to the Cathedral|
|10:50||Blessing of the Faithful from the balcony of the Cardinal’s Palace|
|11:00||Encounter with the Bishops in the Reception Room of the Cardinal’s Palace|
|3:00 pm||Encounter with the Executive Committee of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM) in the Apostolic Nunciature|
|4:30||Holy Mass in Simón Bolívar Park|
Villavicencio: Friday, September 8, 2017
|9:30 am||Holy Mass on the Esplanade of Catama|
|3:40 pm||National Reconciliation Encounter at Las Malocas Park|
|5:20||Short visit to the Cross of Reconciliation at Fundadores Park|
Medellín: Saturday, September 9, 2017
|10:15 am||Holy Mass at Enrique Olaya Herrera Medellín airport|
|3:00 pm||Encounter in San José Children’s Home|
|4:00||Encounter with priests, devotees and their families at La Macarena Stadium|
Cartagena: Sunday, September 9, 2017
|10:30 am||Blessing and laying of the corner-stones for homeless shelters and Talitha Qum works at St Francis Square|
|noon||Recitation of the Angelus in front of the Church of Saint Peter Claver|
|12:15 pm||Visit to the Shrine of Saint Peter Claver|
|4:30||Holy Mass at the port of Contecar|