Pope to Visit Italian City of Caserta On Two Days This Month

Vatican Spokesman Says Visit Will Now Include a Public Mass

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The Vatican has confirmed that Pope Francis will visit the city of Italian city of Caserta on 26 and 28 July, splitting the visit into private and public events.

In a statement, the Holy See Press Office said that in the afternoon of Saturday 26, “upon invitation by the bishop of the diocese Giovanni D’Avise, he will meet with the Catholics of the city and celebrate the Mass of St. Ann, probably in the park of the Royal Palace of Caserta.”

It added: “The Holy Father will return to the Vatican that night, and on Sunday 27 he will pray the Angelus with the faithful in St. Peter’s Square, as usual. On Monday, 28 July, he will return to Caserta to pay a private visit to his friend, the Protestant pastor Giovanni Traettino, and his community.”

Briefing reporters this morning, the vice-director of the Holy See Press Office, Father Ciro Benedettini, said the Pope’s visit will be less private than originally thought. The Vatican had initially said the visit would be “extremely fast and simple, in the course of a single morning,” and would likely include a visit to the city’s church.

The private part of the visit will be when the Pope meets his friend Fr. Traettino, who had invited him to come there on the Monday.

Caserta has a population of some 80,000 people, mostly Catholic, and is an important agricultural, commercial and industrial comune and city.

Last month, when Francis met with a group of evangelical pastors in Rome, it was reported that a pastor friend he “had already known well from his time in Buenos Aires” extended the invitation, to which the Pope agreed.  

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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