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To Remember Don Tonino Bello, Pope Visits Southern Italian Towns of Alessano and Molfetta

Italian bishop remembered for helping poor, disadvantaged, and promoting peace

Pope Francis is visiting the southern Italian towns of Alessano and Molfetta in Puglia to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the death of the popular Italian bishop Don Tonino Bello, remembered for his helping the poor, disadvantaged, and promoting peace.

The Pope arrived around 8:30 a.m in Alessano, in the province of Lecce, on the ‘heel’ of Italy’s ‘boot’ from Rome’s Ciampino Airport.

Alessano is the town where Bishop Tonino was born and later buried. There, the Pope prayed at the tomb of the pastor, loved also for being among the people and without pretenses (similar to our Argentine Pontiff). In 2007, the cause for beatification of Don Tonino, late bishop of Molfetta-Ruvo-Giovinazzo-Terlizzi, was opened.

After addressing the faithful of Alessano, Pope Francis flew north to where Molfetta, a port town where Don Tonino was bishop and died.

In the cathedral there, Pope Francis will say Mass. He is expected to arrive back in Rome around 1:30 p.m.

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': or

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