Details on Pope Francis’ trip to Marseille released

The Holy See Press Office presents the official schedule for Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to Marseille, a city “enriched” by a vast array of cultures.

Sep 20, 2023

Marseille from above

By Joseph Tulloch
Matteo Bruni, Director of the Holy See Press Office, on Tuesday presented the official schedule for Pope Francis’ upcoming trip to Marseille.

The Pope will be in the southern French city from Friday to Saturday of this week, and will attend the concluding session of the Mediterranean Meetings, a church-led initiative aiming to build community amongst the region’s various peoples, religions, and cultures.

Thirty hours in Marseille
According to the official schedule, released on Tuesday, Pope Francis will depart from Rome’s Fiumicino airport at 14:35 on Friday afternoon, arriving at 16:15 in Marseille.

After an official welcome from the France’s Prime Minister, he will head to Marseille’s Basilica of Notre Dame de-la-Garde, where he will pray first with the clergy of the local diocese, and then with a group of professionals from various organisations – Stella Maris, Caritas Gap- Briançon, and the Association de secours en mer – dedicated to the pastoral care of seafarers, migrants, and refugees.

The following day, Saturday, 23 September, he will participate in the final session of the Mediterranean Meetings, which bring together bishops and young people from North Africa, the Middle East, and southern Europe.  He will then meet privately with French President Emmanuel Macron

After lunch, Pope Francis will travel to Marseille’s Vélodrome stadium, where he will celebrate Mass for the general public. He will then depart, arriving in Rome at 20:50.

Marseille as melting pot
Presenting the Pope’s schedule to journalists in the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, the Pope’s official spokesperson, noted that this would be the Holy Father’s 44th Apostolic Journey abroad.

Bruni stressed that the trip ought not to be understood as a visit to France, but rather as a visit to the city of Marseille. The same, he noted, was true of the Pope’s visit to the city Strasbourg in 2014, where he visited the European Parliament – both visits, he said, have an “international” character.

Marseilles, Bruni went on, is particularly notable in this regard, since it has been “enriched” over the course of its long history by a huge variety cultures. Founded as a Greek colony around the year 600 BC, over the years it fell into the hands of Romans, Ligures, barbarians, Arabs, and Saracens, and in recent years gone on to become a melting pot of different cultures, and one of France’s most ethnically diverse cities.--Vatican News

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