The Holy See Press Office announced the upcoming schedule of Pope Francis’ papal visit to the Italian island of Lampedusa on Monday, July 8th.
Lampedusa is a favored route of African migrants making their way into Italy and has been the site of boat accidents where several migrants have been killed attempting to enter the country. Notably, in March 2011, a boat carrying 300 people capsized.
Regarding the reason for the Pope’s visit, the Holy See stated last Friday that Pope Francis intends to “encourage the inhabitants of the island” while appealing “to the responsibility of all to ensure that proper care is taken of these brothers and sisters in great need.”
The Holy Father will depart Monday morning from Ciampino Airport in Rome. Upon arriving to Lampedusa airport, the Holy Father will be greeted by Archbishop Francesco Montenegro of Agrigento and Giuseppina Nicolini, the mayor of Lampedusa. From there, the Pope will make his to a boat that will transport him to the island.
“[Pope Francis] will be accompanied by fisherman in their boats, and will commit a wreath to the sea in memory of those who lost their lives in the shipwreck. He will arrive at the port of Punta Favarolo […] where he will greet the groups of immigrants awaiting him at the dock.”
Before returning to the Vatican in the early afternoon, the Holy Father will celebrate Mass at the “Arena” sports camp and will make a brief stop at the parish of St. Gerlando.