Pope Francis will travel to Hungary at end of April

Pope Francis meets with former Hungarian President János Áder and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest, Hungary, Sept. 12, 2021. The Vatican announced Feb. 27, 2023, that Pope Francis will travel to Hungary April 28-30, 2023. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis will travel to Hungary April 28-30 where he will meet with government officials, refugees, academic scholars and young people in Budapest, the Vatican announced Feb. 27.

The pope will arrive in Budapest April 28 and will meet with Katalin Novák, president of Hungary, and the country's prime minister, Viktor Orbán, as well as local bishops, priests and other members of Hungary's Catholic community.

Novák, who is Hungary's first female head of state, invited Pope Francis to visit Hungary during her visit to the Vatican Aug. 26, 2022.

The pope will only spend one full day in the country April 29, during which he will meet privately with children from a local school, speak with refugees and people in need, address young people in Hungary and meet with the local Jesuit community.

Before returning to Rome late afternoon April 30, he will celebrate Mass before the Hungarian Parliament building and meet with scholars from Budapest's Pázmány Péter Catholic University.

Pope Francis previously traveled to Budapest to celebrate the closing Mass of the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress which was held in the city ahead of a four-day visit to Slovakia in 2021. The pope specified that his trip to Budapest in 2021 was not part of an apostolic visit to Hungary, although he met with Hungary's then-president, János Áder, and Orbán.

The Hungarian prime minister traveled to Rome Jan. 3 to pay his respects to the late Pope Benedict XVI, who was then lying in repose in St. Peter's Basilica.

In a statement published Feb. 27, Cardinal Péter Erdo of Esztergom-Budapest said that the pope's visit to Budapest is a "particular joy" for everyone in his archdiocese as well as those who will travel to the city from throughout Hungary and abroad.

"May our meeting with the successor of St. Peter be a decisive step on the path we walk together toward Christ," he wrote.

Here is the schedule for Pope Francis' trip to Hungary released by the Vatican Feb. 27; all times are local, with Eastern time in parentheses:

Friday April 28 (Rome-Budapest)

-- 8:10 a.m. (2:10 a.m.) Departure by plane from Rome's Fiumicino airport to Budapest.

-- 10 a.m. (4 a.m.) Arrival at Budapest international airport. Official welcome.

-- 11 a.m. (5 a.m.) Welcome ceremony in the square of Sándor Palace.

-- 11:30 a.m. (5:30 a.m.) Courtesy visit with the president inside Sándor Palace.

-- 11:55 a.m. (5:55 a.m.) Meeting with the prime minister.

-- 12:20 p.m. (6:20 a.m.) Meeting with authorities and members of the diplomatic corps in a former Carmelite Monastery. Speech by pope.

-- 5 p.m. (11 a.m.) Meeting with bishops, priests, religious, seminarians and pastoral workers in St. Stephen's Basilica. Speech by pope.

Saturday April 29 (Budapest)

-- 8:45 a.m. (2:45 a.m.) Private visit to the children attending the Blessed László Batthyány-Strattmann Institute.

-- 10:15 a.m. (4:15 a.m.) Meeting with refugees and people in need in the church of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. Speech by pope.

-- 4:30 p.m. (10:30 a.m.) Meeting with young people in the "Papp László" sports arena. Speech by pope.

-- 6 p.m. (12 p.m.) Private meeting with Jesuits in the apostolic nunciature.

Sunday, April 30 (Budapest-Rome)

-- 9:30 a.m. (3:30 a.m.) Mass in Kossuth Lajos Square. Homily by pope.

-- 4 p.m. (10 a.m.) Meeting with people representing the world of academia and culture at the Information Technology and Bionics department at Péter Pázmány Catholic University. Speech by pope.

-- 5:30 p.m. (11:30 a.m.) Farewell ceremony at Budapest International Airport.

-- 6 p.m. (12 p.m.) Departure by plane from Budapest International Airport

-- 7:55 p.m. (1:55 p.m.) Arrival at Rome's Fiumicino Airport.



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