VATICAN CITY (CNS) — After a quick flight over Italy and the Adriatic Sea, Pope Francis will make an 11-hour visit to Albania Sept. 21, making time to meet with the nation’s leaders and bishops, but also spending time with disadvantaged children and other people assisted by Catholic charitable organizations.
According to the schedule released by the Vatican July 31, Pope Francis also will hold a late-afternoon meeting with the leaders of other religions and other Christian communities. Albania has a population of about 3.2 million, more than half of whom are Muslims. According to Vatican statistics, about 16 percent of the population is Roman Catholic. About 7 percent of the citizens belong to the Orthodox Church.
The pope will spend the entire day in Tirana, Albania’s capital. His flight to Albania will land in and take off from Mother Teresa International Airport and his Mass with Albania’s Catholics will be celebrated in Mother Teresa Square — both honor the famous ethnic Albanian, Blessed Teresa of Kolkata.
Here is the pope’s itinerary as released by the Vatican. Times listed are local, with Eastern Daylight Time in parenthesis.
Sunday, Sept. 21 (Rome, Tirana, Rome)
— 7:30 a.m. (1:30 a.m.) Departure from Rome’s Fiumicino airport for Tirana.
— 9 a.m. (3 a.m.) Arrival at Mother Teresa International Airport in Tirana.
— 9:30 a.m. (3:30 a.m.) Welcoming ceremony at the presidential palace, courtesy visit with the president.
— 10 a.m. (4 a.m.) Meeting with government authorities at the presidential palace. Speech by pope.
— 11 a.m. (5 a.m.) Mass in Mother Teresa Square. Homily by pope. Recitation of the Angelus prayer. Remarks by pope.
— 1:30 p.m. (7:30 a.m.) Lunch with the bishops of Albania and the papal entourage in the apostolic nunciature.
— 4 p.m. (10 a.m.) Meeting with leaders of other religions and other Christian denominations at the Catholic University of Our Lady of Good Counsel. Speech by pope.
— 5 p.m. (11 a.m.) Celebration of vespers with priests, men and women religious, seminarians and members of lay movements in the Tirana cathedral. Speech by pope.
— 6:30 p.m. (12:30 p.m.) Meeting with children assisted by the Bethany Center and with representatives of those assisted by other charitable centers in the church at the Bethany Center. Speech by pope.
— 7:45 p.m. (1:45 p.m.) Farewell ceremony at the Mother Teresa International Airport.
— 8 p.m. (2 p.m.) Departure from Tirana to Rome.
— 9:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m.) Arrival at Rome’s Ciampino airport.