Vatican City, Oct 17, 2016 / 02:37 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Shortly after their bishop was named the new president of the Council of Catholic Episcopal Conferences in Europe, the Archdiocese of Genoa announced that Pope Francis will be make a daytrip to the city this coming spring.
According to an Oct. 16 communique posted on the Archdiocese of Genoa’s website, their archbishop, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, made the announcement of the Pope’s visit “with great joy” after celebrating Mass in the city’s cathedral.
He had told churchgoers that the archdiocese would be starting a new pastoral year in which special emphasis would be placed on the liturgy and Eucharistic Adoration, prayer within the family, youth and education.
In the context of this special pastoral year, the Pope’s visit is “a grace which Genoa awaits” with joy, the communique read, explaining that the diocese is preparing “in a spirit of communion and collaboration, to welcome Francis May 27.”
The Pope’s daytrip also coincides with the 380th anniversary of Mary Queen of Genoa, a title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1637.
Like Milan, the visit to Genoa had already been planned for an earlier date, but was postponed due to the Pope’s numerous commitments for the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.
The Vatican announced Dec. 10, 2015, that due to Pope Francis’ busy schedule during the Holy Year he had decided to postpone his May 7, 2016, visit to the Archdiocese of Milan until the following year. On Saturday it was announced that the delayed visit would now take place March 25, 2017.
Genoa was the site of the recent Sept. 15-18 National Eucharistic Congress, which Pope Francis was unable to attend due to commitments for the Jubilee of Mercy. He named Cardinal Bagnasco as his special envoy.
The announcement of Francis’ trip to Genoa came shortly after the election of Cardinal Bagnasco as the new President of the Council of Catholic Episcopal Conferences in Europe.
An outspoken voice on many current issues, Bagnasco has come out as a hard-hitter on several biggies, including gender theory, abortion, civil unions and communion for the divorced and remarried.
He has a powerful presence in the European Church, and his election can be seen as planting the Church's foot firmly toward the right in a socio-economic context pulling hard to the left.
Also President of the Italian Bishops Conference, Bagnasco was elected by the Council of Catholic Episcopal Conferences in Europe (CCEE) during their Oct. 6-9 Plenary Assembly and will take over for Hungarian Cardinal Peter Erdo, who has been at the helm since 2006.
The CCEE is a gathering of the presidents of the individual European Bishops Conferences. In his role as president, Bagnasco will be responsible not so much for political procedures, but will head a wide range of activities the individual bishops conferences oversee, including catechesis.