Assisi, Italy, Aug 11, 2016 / 16:24 pm
If a prominent imam is right, Pope Francis will visit Assisi Sept. 19 for a major international interreligious meeting.
Mohamed Abdel Qader, the Imam of Perugia and Umbria – the Italian region that is home to Assisi – raised the possibility last week in an interview with the Italian Bishops Conference’s television TV2000.
Imam Qader was in Assisi when Pope Francis visited to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the “perdono” indulgence. This plenary indulgence, established in 1216 under Pope Honorius III, is given to everyone who goes to Assisi, goes to confession, receives Holy Communion and prays according the Pope’s intentions on the days of Aug. 1-2 each year.
The imam attended the Aug. 4 ceremony at the St. Mary of the Angels Basilica in Assisi. He exchanged a quick greeting with Pope Francis before he left.
The unscheduled meeting came only three days after Muslim leaders all over Europe made the decision to take part in Catholic Masses on Sunday, as a sign of solidarity with the Catholic Church. The move was a rejection of the barbaric murder of Fr. Jacques Hamel, the French priest killed by Islamist extremists at the end of Mass in a church in the area of Rouen, France.
Imam Qader told TV2000 that there will be a papal visit to Assisi for peace Sept. 19-20.
“I and many other representatives of the national and international Muslim community will go and greet the Pope,” the imam said.
At present, the Vatican has not officially confirmed papal participation in the meeting of Assisi.