Pope Francis to visit Verona for a trip centered on peace and justice

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The Holy See Press Office on Monday, April 29, 2024, released the pope’s schedule for a one-day trip to the city scheduled for May 18, 2024, on the vigil of Pentecost

Vatican City: (By Matthew Santucci for CAN) After completing a one-day trip to Venice, Pope Francis is set to return to northern Italy in late May for a visit to the city of Verona, where he will attend events focused on peace and justice while also meeting with clergy, laity, and inmates. 

The Holy See Press Office on Monday released the pope’s schedule for the one-day trip scheduled for May 18 on the vigil of Pentecost. 

Located in the Veneto region, approximately 75 miles from Venice, the city is renowned for its trove of Roman antiquities, medieval architecture, and as the setting of Shakespeare’s tragedy “Romeo and Juliet.”

Pope Francis will leave the Vatican by helicopter at 6:30 a.m., arriving at Verona by approximately 8 a.m., where he will be greeted by Verona Bishop Domenico Pompili, Veneto President Luca Zaia, and Verona Mayor Damiano Tommasi.

From there the Holy Father will make his way by car to the Basilica of San Zeno, which bears the name of the fourth-century Afro-Italian saint who is the city’s patron. There he will deliver a speech to priests and consecrated religious. The pope will then make his way into the adjacent square, where he will address children and young people. 

The pope will subsequently visit the Verona Arena, a first-century Roman amphitheater — the third-largest in Italy, and one of the symbols of the city — where the pontiff will preside over an encounter titled ​​”Arena of Peace: Justice and Peace They Shall Kiss,” one of the main events of the day. 

The Arena of Peace assembly was first held in 1986 as a way to bring together individuals and organizations to discuss and confront difficult social issues. This year’s meeting will be focused on several themes including peace and disarmament, integral ecology, migration, work, democracy and rights, and lifestyles.

Later the pope will arrive by car to the Casa Circondariale di Montorio, a prison housing both men and women as well as isolated inmates and a number of foreigners, located on the city’s outskirts. The pope will deliver a speech addressed to prisoners, staff, and volunteers of the prison, which will be followed by lunch with the inmates. 

According to the Antigone Association, a project that issues an annual report on the conditions of Italy’s penitentiaries, at Montorio there are just under 600 inmates representing more than 40 nationalities. With a stated capacity of 335, Montorio is one of the most overcrowded prisons in Italy, a topic to which the pope drew attention in his speech to the female inmates at Venice’s Women’s Prison on the island of Giudecca on Sunday. 

The pontiff’s trip will end with an open-air Mass celebrated at Verona’s Marcantonio Bentegodi Stadium at 3 p.m. The Holy Father is scheduled to leave Verona at 4:45 p.m. and will arrive back at the Vatican by 6:15 p.m.

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