Cardinal Jean-Marc Aveline, Archbishop of Marseille, invited Pope Francis to come to Marseille on Saturday September 23, on the occasion of the “Mediterranean Meetings” organized by the diocese from September 18 to 24. He announced it on Friday January 20 in a press release.
“The Mediterranean Meetings will allow bishops and young people from the five shores of the Mediterranean to meet, share their particular experiences and reflect on what, in the specificity of each person’s experience, can benefit everyone”, specifies the diocese.
In mid-December, Pope Francis had indicated, in an interview with the Spanish daily ABC, that he planned to go to Marseilles in 2023 on the occasion of this meeting of bishops on the Mediterranean, specifying however that he would not would not be an official visit by the head of state of the Vatican to France.
The last visit of a pope to France dates back to 2008
“I went to Strasbourg (in 2014), but not for France, except to visit the European institutions”, he recalled then. Previously, the last papal visit to France was in 2008 with Benedict XVI. The last edition of this meeting of Mediterranean bishops was held in February 2022 in Florence, but the pope had to give up attending.
The last visit of a sovereign pontiff to Marseille dates back to 1533, with the arrival of Jules de Médicis, the uncle of Catherine de Médicis, pope for ten years under the name of Clement VII. He had come to Marseilles for the wedding of the youngest son of King Francis I, the future King Henry II, to Catherine de Medici.
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