Pope to give 4 speeches, celebrate Mass in Kazakhstan next month

Vatican City, Aug 2 (EFE) .- Pope Francis is to give four speeches and celebrate Mass during his trip to Kazakhstan Sept. 13-15 to participate in a congress of world religious leaders, the Vatican confirmed Tuesday.

The pope will leave on Sept. 13 at 7:15 a.m. (0515 GMT) from Rome to the Kazakh capital, Nur-Sultan, where he is to be received by the Central Asian country’s authorities with a welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace.

The program of the visit’s first day features a meeting with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, as well as a formal speech addressing the diplomatic corps accredited in the country and civil society.

On the second day of the visit, Sept. 14, the head of the Roman Catholic Church is expected to participate in the opening and plenary session of the VII Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions and to hold several meetings with other religious leaders.

Later that day, Pope Francis will celebrate a Mass for thousands of Roman Catholics, including pilgrims who are expected to visit the Kazakh capital.

On the last day of the trip, September 15, he will meet with members of the Society of Jesus at the Apostolic Nunciature and will offer two more speeches at the Congress, the last of which will serve as the conclusion of the forum.

He is then scheduled to depart from Nur-Sultan International Airport for Rome and land at Rome’s Fiumicino airport around 8:15 p.m. (1815 GMT).

Kazakhstan announced the papal visit in April and the Vatican confirmed it on Monday. The last pope to travel to Kazakhstan was John Paul II in 2001.

Pope Francis is the first head of the Roman Catholic Church to confirm his participation in the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, which is traditionally held every three years in Kazakhstan’s capital. EFE


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