Next year promises to be a busy year for the Holy Father!
As the year 2021 draws to a close, I.MEDIA takes a look at Pope Francis’ agenda for 2022. On the Pope’s schedule for next year: numerous travel plans, several events, a synod, an anniversary and a trial.
The entire year 2022 will be animated by the Synod on Synodality, which was opened by the Pope in Rome on October 10. The first phase – local – which is currently taking place in every diocese in the world, will end on August 15. The continental phase will begin in September 2022. A third and final phase, in Rome, is scheduled for October 2023.
It is highly likely that Pope Francis will call a consistory in early 2022 to increase the number of cardinal electors – which would otherwise be automatically reduced to 110 at the end of the year, ten below the minimum number. This consistory would plausibly take place before Lent, which begins this year on March 2.
On May 15, Pope Francis will celebrate the first canonization Mass in St. Peter’s Square since 2019. The seven blesseds who will be officially recognized as saints include two Frenchmen—namely, Charles de Foucault and Caesar de Bus—four Italians, and an Indian. Another important event this year: the beatification of Pope John Paul I will take place at the Vatican on September 4.
The trial of the so-called “London building affair” will be one of the main themes of the year. After a slow start marked by numerous procedural errors, the trial should, according to Judge Giuseppe Pignatone, finally get to the heart of the matter in February. The judicial procedure, which promises to be long and complex, will have to shed light on the dysfunctions observed in the acquisition of a London property nearly eight years ago. And, simultaneously, the process will determine the responsibility of Cardinal Angelo Becciu, implicated by the Promoter of Justice.
The Argentine pontiff is also scheduled to participate in the 10th World Meeting of Families in Rome from June 22 to 26. This international event will conclude the special year “Amoris Laetitia” inaugurated on March 19, 2021. Referring to the meeting during the Angelus on December 26, 2021, the feast of the Holy Family, he invited Catholics to prepare themselves spiritually and authored a letter to married couples for their encouragement and reflection.
Pope Francis will visit Florence on February 27. The Pope’s second visit to Florence, after his November 10, 2015 visit to the Tuscan capital for the Italian Church Congress, will take place in the context of a meeting of bishops and mayors of the Mediterranean – and in the wake of the meeting in Bari, organized in February 2020. It is an extension of the Mediterranean pilgrimage that is taking shape in the pontificate of Francis.
In 2022, Pope Francis might travel a lot. Although nothing is official yet, many projects are being considered by the Vatican: the Pope has said he wants to go to Hungary, Congo, East Timor and Papua New Guinea. There is also talk of trips to Malta, Kazakhstan, Canada, Lebanon, Croatia and South Sudan.
On October 11, 1962, Pope John XXIII officially opened the Second Vatican Council. Announced as an aggiornamento at the end of the war, the Council was in fact a moment of decisive spiritual and structural reform, transforming the Catholic Church in depth. There is no doubt that Francis, defender of the Council’s legacy, will be keen to honour the 60th anniversary of this event this year.
The final version of the apostolic constitution, which is supposed to reform the Roman Curia, has been awaited (and announced) by journalists since 2014. In 2021, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, who is part of the council in charge of its drafting, assured that it would not contain any surprises, as most of the changes have already been initiated since the beginning of the pontificate. The text is under review, but the process seems to have been put on hold in response to the pandemic. 2022 could end eight years of reflection on this issue, one of the most important of Francis’ pontificate.