Vatican City, Oct 7, 2014 / 04:55 am
In their announcement of the Pope's schedule for his visit to the European Parliament next month, the Vatican also revealed that he intends to return to France in 2015 for a longer visit.
"In the context of the publication of the schedule of the Pope to the European Parliament and to the Council of Europe that will take place November 25, I can now say now that the Holy Father intends to make an apostolic voyage to France in the coming year 2015," Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. said in an Oct. 7 statement.
The announcement of Pope Francis' projected visit to France marks his second international trip set for 2015, the first being a Jan. 12-19 visit to Sri Lanka and the Philippines.
The papal trip – which will be the second to Asia in six months – was informally announced by the Pope in May, during a press conference he held aboard a plane returning from the Holy Land. He will travel to Sri Lanka Jan. 12-15 and to Philippines Jan. 15-19.
In their statement, the Vatican also published the Roman Pontiff's schedule for his Nov. 25 visit to the European Parliament and to the Council of Europe this year.
Leaving just before 8a.m., Pope Francis is expected to land in Strasbourg around 10a.m., and will travel to the European Parliament for a 10:35a.m. meeting where he is due to address all of its members.
After his speech for the parliament, the Pope will pay a visit to the European Council at noon, where he will also give an address. He will head to the airport after the meeting, and is expected to arrive back in Rome just before 4 in the afternoon.
Shortly after his visit to the European Parliament, Pope Francis will travel to Turkey, where it is anticipated that he will go to Istanbul Nov. 30 in order to celebrate the feast of St. Andrew, who is the founder of the Eastern Church and patron of the Orthodox world.
According to a previous article from Vatican Radio, a delegation from the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity frequently travels to Turkey for the celebration, however this year Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople invited the Roman Pontiff to participate in person.
Should Pope Francis attend festivities in Istanbul, he would follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, retired pontiff Benedict XVI, who traveled to the cities of Ankara, Ephesus and Istanbul in November 2006.
Please see below for the Pope's full schedule for his visit to the European Parliament and the Council of Europe:
Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014:
7:55a.m. Depart for Strasbourg by plane from Rome's Fiumicino airport
10:00a.m. Arrive to the International Airport of Strasbourg/Entzheim
10:35a.m. Visit to the European Parliament
12:05p.m. Visit to the Council of Europe
1:50p.m. Depart for Rome by plane
3:50p.m. Arrive to Rome's Ciampino airport