Pope Francis will arrive in Slovakia’s capital city of Bratislava from Budapest on Sept. 12, the Vatican confirmed on July 21.
On the first day, Francis will participate in an ecumenical event with Christian leaders and meet privately with a group of Jesuits.
The pope’s second day in Bratislava will be devoted to meetings with political authorities, Catholic bishops and clergy, and the Jewish community.
Francis will then fly to the eastern part of the country. In Prešov, he will celebrate a Divine Liturgy in the Byzantine rite, and in Košice he will meet with the local Roma community. The day will finish with an encounter with young people in the Košice stadium.
His final day will include a prayer service with bishops at the national shrine of the Basilica of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows in Šaštín, followed by the celebration of Mass for the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.
The Slovakian bishops have unveiled a logo for the visit, as well as an official website. The visit’s motto will be “With Mary and Joseph on the way to Jesus.”
In June, Slovakia became the second member state of the European Union, after Hungary, to start using Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine.
The country’s Prime Minister Igor Matovič resigned in March over controversy about his surprise decision to buy two million doses of the Russia-produced vaccine over the opposition of his coalition partners.
The Sputnik V anti-COVID vaccine has not yet received E.U. regulatory approval.
After interest in receiving the Sputnik vaccine waned among the public, Slovakia sold back to Russia 160,000 of 200,000 doses which had been imported in March.
Slovakia, which has a population of 5.45 million people, has seen more than 12,500 deaths related to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to government data.
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As of July 21, there were 392,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 49 hospitalizations.