Second Day of the Pope's Visit to France Photo: Vatican Media

The Pope’s second and last day in France: from Macron to the Missionaries of Charity and 100,000 French in the streets

The Pope’s second day in France featured a busy agenda with room for Macron and the Missionaries of Charity.

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(ZENIT News / Marsella, 09.23.2023).- We offer a narration of the main events on the Pope’s second and final day in Marseille.

Private meeting with some economically disadvantaged individuals at the Missionaries of Charity House

On Saturday morning, before leaving the Archbishop’s Residence in Marseille, Pope Francis greeted the Vice President of the European Commission, Margaritis Schinas, and then met with some people from various organizations committed to assisting and rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean.


Foto: Vatican Media


Ultimately, Pope Francis traveled by car to the Missionaries of Charity House in Saint Mauront, where he had a private meeting with some economically disadvantaged individuals. He then proceeded by car to the Pharo Palace to attend the closing session of the «Mediterranean Encounters,» the primary reason for his visit to France.

Closing session of the «Mediterranean Encounters» at the Palais du Pharo

At 10:05 in the morning, Pope Francis presided over the closing session of the «Mediterranean Encounters» at the Pharo Palace, an initiative promoted by the Archdiocese of Marseille from September 18 to 24.

The session was attended by bishops from France and other Mediterranean dioceses, a representation of youth from North Africa, the Balkans, Latin Europe, the Black Sea, and the Middle East, various political authorities, and associations.


Foto: Vatican Media


Upon his arrival, Pope Francis was welcomed at the entrance of the Auditorium by the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, and his wife, the Archbishop of Marseille, Cardinal Jean-Marc Aveline, and the mayor of the city. Two children presented him with a gift.

The closing session began with a welcome greeting from the Cardinal Archbishop. After a film screening and speeches by a bishop and a young person, the Pope delivered his speech.

Finally, after words of gratitude from the President of the French Episcopal Conference, Archbishop of Reims, Monsignor Éric de Moulins-Beaufort, and after greeting the Bishops of the Mediterranean, the Pope proceeded to the Maestre’s Hall at the Pharo Palace for a meeting with the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron.

Meeting with the President of the French Republic at the Pharo Palace


Foto: Vatican Media


At 11:30 in the morning, the Pope had a private meeting with the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, in the Maire’s Hall of the Pharo Palace.

After the official photo, a private conversation took place, followed by the introduction of their families and the exchange of gifts. Meanwhile, in the adjacent room, there was a brief encounter between the Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, and the Prime Minister of France, Mrs. Élisabeth Borne, in the presence of the Substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, Monsignor Edgar Peña Parra, the Apostolic Nuncio in France, Monsignor Celestino Migliore, and a Counsellor from the Nunciature.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the Holy Father returned by car to the Archbishop’s Residence, where he had a private lunch.

Transfer and arrival at the Stadium for the Mass

In the afternoon, after bidding farewell to the staff and benefactors of the Archbishop’s Residence, Pope Francis traveled to the Vélodrome Stadium. After changing cars in front of the statue of David in Marseille, the Pope made his way to the Stadium in his Popemobile, accompanied by around 100,000 people along the route. After making several rounds among the approximately 50,000 faithful and pilgrims in attendance, the Holy Father presided over the Eucharistic Celebration in French at 4:10 PM.


Foto: Vatican Media


During the Holy Mass, following the proclamation of the Gospel, the Pope delivered his homily. At the end, after the welcoming address by the Metropolitan Archbishop of Marseille, Cardinal Jean-Marc Aveline, and before the final blessing, Pope Francis extended a final greeting and words of gratitude to the faithful and pilgrims present.

I thank you, Your Eminence, for your words and I thank you all, brothers and sisters, for your presence and for your prayers: thank you!

Having now come to the end of this Visit, I would like to express my gratitude for the warm welcome I received, as well as for all the work and preparation that went into it. I thank the President of the Republic and, through him, I extend cordial greetings to all the men and women of France. I greet the Prime Minister who came to welcome me at the airport and I also greet the authorities present, in particular the Mayor of Marseille.

I embrace the entire Church of Marseille, with its parishes and religious communities, its numerous educational institutions and its charitable organizations. This Archdiocese was the first in the world to be consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, during an outbreak of the plague in 1720. It is therefore in your hearts to be signs of God’s tender love, also in the midst of today’s “epidemic of indifference”. Thank you for your gentle and committed service, which bears witness to the closeness and compassion of the Lord!

Several of you have come here from various parts of France: merci à vous! I would like to greet the brothers and sisters from Nice, accompanied by their Bishop and Mayor. I recall the terrible attack of 14 July 2016, of which you are survivors. Let us prayerfully remember all those who lost their lives in that tragedy, as well as in all the terrorist acts that have been perpetrated in France and in every part of the world. Terrorism is cowardly. Let us not tire of praying for peace in war-torn regions, and especially for the war-torn people of Ukraine.

I send my heartfelt greetings to the sick, to children and the elderly, who are the memory of civilization. I think especially of those in difficulty and all workers in this city: Jacques Loew, France’s first worker-priest, worked at the port of Marseille. May the dignity of workers be respected, promoted and protected!

Dear brothers and sisters, I will carry the encounters of these days in my heart. May Notre Dame de la Garde watch over this city, which is a mosaic of hope, over all your families, and over each of you. Je vous bénis. S’il vous plaît, n’oubliez pas de prier pour moi. Ce travail n’est pas facile! Merci. (I bless you. Please do not forget to pray for me. This job is not easy! Thank you.)

At the conclusion of the Holy Mass, Pope Francis left the Vélodrome Stadium and traveled by car to Marseille International Airport for the farewell ceremony.


Foto: Vatican Media


Upon arrival, the Pope was welcomed by the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, and his wife. Together, they proceeded to the Hélène Boucher Hall for a brief private meeting. At the end of the meeting, after greetings from the respective delegations and the local entourage, Pope and President Macron passed by the Honor Guard and bid farewell. Subsequently, Pope Francis boarded a neo/ITA Airways A320 aircraft and departed for Italy.

The plane carrying the Holy Father on his return from the Apostolic Journey to Marseille for the conclusion of the «Rencontres Méditerranéennes» took off from Marseille International Airport at 7:28 PM and landed at Leonardo da Vinci International Airport in Rome Fiumicino at 8:37 PM.

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