Vatican City, Jan 13, 2016 / 02:04 am
Pope Francis could make two additional international trips in 2016, including a possible trip to Armenia.
This possibility is suggested by gaps in the papal events schedule published on the website of the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household. The prefecture coordinates and prepares all the Pope’s audiences and visits in the Vatican and oversees the arrangements for the Pope’s pastoral visits to Rome and to Italy.
The schedule is published every six months. The latest version includes all papal events from January to June 2016.
Currently, the schedule labels two Angelus prayers and a general audience as “cancelled.” The Pope will not hold the Angelus May 22 or June 26, nor will he hold the June 22 general audience.
This means that the Pope could have time for one short international trip in May and a longer one in June.
At present, this interpretation of the schedule is just speculation. But sources confirmed to CNA that a Papal trip to Armenia is likely in the course of the year.
These sources are corroborated by the remark of Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, during his visit to Armenia in September 2015. He raised the possibility of a 2016 papal visit to the country.
In response to a question on whether Pope Francis was willing to visit, Cardinal Sandri told the press agency Ria Novosti that Pope Francis “wishes with all of his heart to go to Armenia,” and that he already “welcomed the invitation Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan made to Pope Francis” last year. Cardinal Sandri noticed that, though “the Pope has a busy schedule,” he hopes “the Pope will find some time to go to Armenia.”
Pope Francis himself expressed his wish to go to Armenia in his Nov. 30 press conference in the flight from Central Africa. In the year 2014, he said, “I promised the three (Armenian) Patriarchs that I would go: the promise has been made. I don’t know if it will be possible, but I did promise.”