Pope Francis departs Rome to embark on his 42nd Apostolic Journey abroad to Portugual  (Vatican Media)

By Deborah Castellano Lubov 

Aug 2 2023

Pope Francis sets off on his 42nd Apostolic Journey abroad to the European nation of Portugal for the 37th World Youth Day in Lisbon, and moment of prayer in Fatima, marking his second visit to the nation as Pope.

Pope Francis has departed on his 42nd Apostolic Journey abroad to the European nation of Portugal for the 37th World Youth Day.

The ITA-Airways papal flight left Rome’s Fiumicino International Airport at about 8 AM local time Wednesday morning, carrying the Pope and the journalists following the journey from the papal flight.

On Wednesday morning, before leaving his Vatican residence at the Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis met with some fifteen people, confirmed Matteo Bruni, Director of the Holy See Press Office. “Among them were some young people, girls and boys, who are spending time in a rehabilitation community and are therefore unable to attend World Youth Day.”

With them, were three grandparents with their grandchildren.

“This meeting, as well as the World Day of Grandparents and Elderly just celebrated, underlines the bond between generations, which can support each other and learn from each other,” Bruni’s statement concluded.

The flight is scheduled to arrive at Figo Maduro air base in Portugal’s capital of Lisbon around 10 am local time.

When the Holy Father lands in Lisbon, he will be received by a welcoming ceremony.

Immediately afterwards, he will be greeted at the National Palace in Belèm by the President of the Republic Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

Also in the Belèm district, in the cultural centre, the Holy Father will meet the authorities, civil society and the diplomatic corps.

Following lunch, the Pope has two appointments before returning to the Apostolic Nunciature this evening where he will reside during his Portuguese stay.

At 4.45 p.m. in the nunciature, he will meet with the Prime Minister.

At 5.30 p.m., in the famous Monastery dos Jerònimos, he will celebrate Vespers with bishops, priests, deacons, consecrated men and women, seminarians and pastoral workers.

At the completion of this Journey on Sunday, marking the Pope Francis’ second visit to Portugal since the start of his pontificate, he will have visited 60 countries since the start of his pontificate, given that Portugal was already included in this count after his May 2017 visit for the centenary of the apparitions in Fatima.

As is tradition for Pope Francis before and after Apostolic Journeys, the Holy Father made a special stop to Rome’s Marian Basilica, Santa Maria Maggiore, to once again, entrust this travel to the Blessed Mother’s protection. – Vatican News