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Pope in Macedonia - Vatican Media Photo

For 1st Time in History, a Roman Pontiff Visits North Macedonia

Remembering Incredible Person and Impact of Saint Mother Teresa (ZENIT Has Been Covering Francis’ 29th Apostolic Trip on the Ground)

For the first time in history, a Roman Pontiff has stepped foot in North Macedonia, formerly known as Macedonia.

With the intention to remember and celebrate the incredible life of Mother Teresa, encourage the country’s minuscule Catholic community (less than 0.4%, with only one bishop) and encourage ecumenical dialogue, Pope Francis has made this visit. He is kicking off his day in North Macedonia, May 7, his final day of his May 5-7, Apostolic Visit there and to Bulgaria.

ZENIT’s Senior Vatican Correspondent, Deborah Castellano Lubov, was on the ground in Bulgaria and ZENIT continues bringing our readers the latest.

POPE IN BULGARIA SPECIAL: ‘Christ Is Alive & Wants You to Be Alive,’ Knowing He Never Abandons You

Despite a delicate ecumenical situation in Bulgaria, Pope Francis was welcomed with joy. There he celebrated Masses, prayed for peace, gave first Holy Communion to 245 little ones in Rakovsky, visited a refugee camp and addressed authorities.

FEATURE: ‘Here, in Bulgaria, We Are Treated With Dignity,’ Says Syrian Mother of Five (An Inside Look at Pope’s Visit to Refugee Camp Outside Sofia)

Always with enthusiasm, local traditions, including edible ones, Francis was welcomed in North Macedonia’s capital of Skopje. Francis met with the President, making a courtesy visit to the Presidential Palace in Skopje, where he met with the President, and as is tradition, addressed authorities, thanking the country for its welcome toward migrants.

Afterward, the Pope and papal entourage went to the memorial of Saint (Mother) Teresa where he was welcomed by three religious sisters, said a special prayer recalling the incredible impact of Mother Teresa, meeting some poor people, and some relatives of Mother Teresa.

Later in the day, the Pope will celebrate Mass for the faithful of the country, meet with clergy and have an ecumenical event with young people.

The Pope will return to Rome later this evening, and will hold a brief press conference on the return flight, which ZENIT will bring you as soon as possible.

Here is the full Vatican-provided program of the Pope’s agenda:

Sunday 5 May 2019

ROME-SOFIA

07:00 Departure by air from Rome-Fiumicino International Airport to Sofia
10:00 Arrival at Sofia International Airport
OFFICIAL WELCOME
MEETING WITH THE PRIME MINISTER in the Governmental Lounge of the Airport
WELCOME CEREMONY in the square adjacent to the Presidential Palace
COURTESY VISIT TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC in the Presidential Palace
MEETING with the AUTHORITIES, with CIVIL SOCIETY and the DIPLOMATIC CORPS in Atanas Burov Square Address of the Holy Father
VISIT TO THE PATRIARCH AND TO THE HOLY SYNOD in the Palace of the Holy Synod Address of the Holy Father
PRIVATE PRAYER BEFORE THE THRONE OF SAINTS CYRIL AND METHODIUS in the Patriarchal Cathedral of Saint Alexander Nevsky
REGINA COELI in Saint Alexander Nevsky Square Regina Coeli
16:45 HOLY MASS in Knyaz Alexandar SquareI Homily of the Holy Father
Monday 6 May 2019

SOFIA-RAKOVSKY-SOFIA

VISIT TO A REFUGEE CAMP
09:30 Departure by air from Rakovsky
HOLY MASS WITH FIRST COMMUNIONS in the Church of the Sacred Heart of Rakovsky Homily of the Holy Father
Lunch with the bishops of Bulgaria in the Convent of the Franciscan Sisters
MEETING WITH THE CATHOLIC COMMUNITY in the Church of Saint Michael Archangel in Rakovsky Address of the Holy Father
17:15 Departure by air for Sofia
PRAYER FOR PEACE PRESIDED AT BY THE HOLY FATHER IN THE PRESENCE OF LEADERS OF THE VARIOUS RELIGIOUS CONFESSIONS IN BULGARIA in Nezavisimost Square in Sofia Prayer of the Holy Father
Tuesday 7 May 2019

SOFIA-SKOPJE-ROME

FAREWELL CEREMONY in Sofia International Airport
08:20 Departure by air from Sofia Airport for Skopje
08:15 Arrival at Skopje International Airport
OFFICIAL WELCOME
WELCOME CEREMONY in the courtyard of the Presidential Palace
COURTESY VISIT TO THE PRESIDENT in the Presidential Palace
MEETING with the PRIME MINISTER in the Presidential Palace
MEETING with the AUTHORITIES, with CIVIL SOCIETY and with the DIPLOMATIC CORPS in the Mosaique Hall of the Presidential Palace Address of the Holy Father
VISIT TO THE MOTHER TERESA MEMORIAL WITH THE PRESENCE OF RELIGIOUS LEADERS AND MEETING WITH THE POOR Prayer of the Holy Father
HOLY MASS in Macedonia Square Homily of the Holy Father
Lunch with the Papal Entourage
ECUMENICAL AND INTERRELIGIOUS MEETING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE in the Pastoral Centre Address of the Holy Father
MEETING WITH PRIESTS, THEIR FAMILIES, AND RELIGIOUS in the Cathedral Address of the Holy Father
FAREWELL CEREMONY at Skopje International Airport
18:30 Departure of Papal aircraft for Rome-Ciampino
20:30 Arrival at Roma-Ciampino International Airport

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: President of Bulgarian Bishops, Bishop Proykov of Sofia, on Pope’s Visit to Bulgaria (ZENIT Is on the Ground)

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: President of Bulgarian Bishops, Bishop Proykov of Sofia, on Pope’s Visit to Bulgaria (ZENIT Is on the Ground)

About Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is a 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 four languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, at times from the papal flight, and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, and EWTN. 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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