Pope Francis leaves Sunday for Canada; he went in a wheelchair to ask Mary to pray for the trip.
As is his custom before traveling abroad, Pope Francis went to pray in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major this morning ahead of his trip to Canada, the Vatican press office announced on July 22, 2022.
In a photo, he is seen in front of the icon of the Virgin Salus Populi Romani in a wheelchair, a sign of his still-bothersome knee injury.
The Pontiff will make a long trip to Canada, from July 24 to 30. His ability to make such a trip had been questioned after the cancellation of another trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, which had been scheduled from July 2 to 7.
The Pontiff recently explained that he had suffered a “small fracture” in his knee that is significantly affecting his mobility. The pain in his knee forces him to appear regularly in public in a wheelchair or with a cane.
Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton, who organized the Pope’s trip, explained on May 13 that the trip was limited to three stops – Edmonton, Quebec City and Iqaluit – because of the Pope’s health. In keeping with this, the car trips around these three cities will take less than an hour and no helicopter travel is planned.
Pope Francis will travel as usual accompanied by a medical team. The director of the Vatican press office, Matteo Bruni, explained that the team will consist of a doctor and a nurse.
According to the website Il Sismografo, a separate area has been set aside for the Pontiff to rest on the plane of the Italian company ITA Airways, for the flight of more than 10 hours.
On these trips, the Pope usually travels as a “regular” passenger and sits in the front row of the plane.
ITA Airways will exceptionally be in charge of the return flight as well. The return flight to Rome is usually operated by a local airline.