31-July-2014 -- ZENIT.org News Agency |

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Pope's Program for Albania Trip Released

September 21 Visit Will Include Mass, Vespers, Meeting with Children

By Staff Reporter

VATICAN CITY, July 31, 2014 (Zenit.org) - The Vatican has released details of Pope Francis' visit to Albania's capital city of Tirana on September 21.

Earlier this summer, the Vatican announced the visit which will mark the second time a Pope has visited post-communist Albania. Pope John Paul II visited in 1993.

About two-thirds of Albania's 3.2 million people are Muslims. Though they co-exist peacefully with the nation's Christians, Pope Francis has said an aim of his visit is to show support to the nation's small Catholic minority.

After an early morning flight, the Holy Father will arrive at the international "Mother Theresa" airport in Tirana at 9 a.m., where he will be greeted by the nation's prime minister, Edi Rama.

The Pontiff's first engagement will be meeting the Albanian president, Bujar Nishani, at the presidential palace. He then will meet and address local civil authorities.

At 11 a.m., Francis will celebrate Mass and pray the Sunday Angelus in Mother Theresa Square.

Lunch with Albanian bishops and members of the papal entourage at the apostolic nunciature is next on the Argentine Pontiff's agenda.

After lunch, he will travel to the Catholic University "Our Lady of Good Counsel" at 4 p.m. where he will address the leaders of other religions and Christian denominations.

That evening, Francis will celebrate Vespers with priests, religious, seminarians and members of Albanian lay movements in the Cathedral of Tirana.

Finally, at 6.30 p.m., he will go to the Betania Center where he will visit with children of that charitable institution as well as with representatives from other Albanian charitable organizations.

The Holy Father will depart from Marina di Sibari at 8 p.m. and is scheduled to arrive in Vatican City at about 9:30 p.m.

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