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Pope Francis’ busy schedule for the next 6 months

Pope Francis during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's square at the Vatican on May 08, 2024.

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Anna Kurian - published on 05/10/24

The Pontiff has apparently rebounded from recent health issues and has a busy schedule of trips and events from now to the end of the year.

A trip to Verona in May, a visit to Trieste in July, a trip to Asia and Oceania in September, the second session of the Synod on the Future of the Church in October … Pope Francis’ agenda for the next six months promises to be packed. Despite his health problems last winter, the Pontiff seems intent on continuing to fill his time at the helm of the Church.

Travels in Italy and beyond

At the end of April, the Pope was in Venice. This week in Rome, he issued the Bull of Indiction for the Jubilee of 2025. On May 18, he’ll be back by helicopter to Verona. Perhaps in June, he’ll be in Bari for the G7. This summer, he is also due to visit the city of Trieste. And a major trip — the longest of his pontificate — will take him to Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and Singapore, from September 2 to 13. 

In the 12th year of his pontificate, the Argentine Pope is not slowing down, even though his health has raised questions in recent months. Suffering from various respiratory ailments at the end of 2023, he had to cancel at the last minute his planned trip to Dubai for the COP 28 climate conference. Even more recently, at the end of March, weakened by a month of bronchitis, the Pope gave up taking part in the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, leaving his chair empty in the Colosseum. At the time, observers of the Vatican’s small world began to sense a pre-conclave mood. “Has the post-François era begun?” asked the French weekly La Vie recently. “At the Vatican, the maneuvers of the Pope’s opponents have begun,” ran the headline in La Croix.  

Determination to continue

The possibility of a resignation is a recurring theme in interviews the 266th pope regularly grants to the media. However, Francis insists that this is not on his agenda.

The Holy Father has started a round of visits to all the priests in the various districts of Rome. And the resumption of the reading of his speeches, after weeks when he delegated this mission to a prelate, attests to the fact that he has recovered from his respiratory difficulties. Several of the cardinals who have met him in recent days have told us that they have seen a pope in perfect command of his intellectual faculties. 

Major events are also on the horizon, such as the first World Children’s Day, which the Pope will preside over on May 25 and 26. On two occasions, he will meet some 100,000 children from around 100 countries, at the Foro Italico sports complex — five kilometers from the Vatican — and in St. Peter’s Square. Next October, the Pope is also due to join in the work of the great Synod on Synodality, as he did at the first session in October 2023.

“His grand tour of Asia and Oceania didn’t seem essential, but it shows his determination. He’s sending out a signal to everyone that the pontificate isn’t running out of steam,” says a diplomat surprised by his busy schedule. The head of the Catholic Church is determined to follow St. Peter in proclaiming the Good News.

Tags:
Pope FrancisPope Francis healthVatican
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