The Vatican announced Thursday that Pope Francis will return to the Italian town of Assisi on Sept. 20, just over a month after his Aug. 4 visit, this time to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Meeting of Prayer for Peace, desired by John Paul II on Oct. 27, 1986.
That meeting, with the Polish Pope’s invitation to peoples of various religions, “made an important impact on public opinion,” as Benedict XVI would say in 2006, on the 20th anniversary of the event.
The ’86 meeting, which was held in the context of the U.N. International Year of Peace, was followed by another such meeting on Jan. 24, 2002, convoked by John Paul II in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Benedict XVI led a commemoration of the ’86 meeting in 2011 with his own visit to Assisi.
Related: Read the 2011 note from the prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith regarding the meetings and their meaning.
The Community of Sant’Egidio took up the call of the meeting in a particular way and has sponsored International Encounters of Religions, held year after year across Italy’s main cities and European capitals and other important cities.
Now Pope Francis will mark the 30th anniversary of that momentous meeting with his own visit to Assisi.
The Holy Father made a private pilgrimage to Assisi earlier this month (4 August) as well, to visit the Porziuncola chapel, marking the 800th anniversary of the “Pardon of Assisi.”