VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis will travel to Hungary April 28-30 where he will meet with government officials, refugees, academic scholars and young people in Budapest, the Vatican announced Feb. 27.
The pope will arrive in Budapest April 28 and will meet with Katalin Novák, president of Hungary, and the country’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán, as well as local bishops, priests and other members of Hungary’s Catholic community.
Novák, who is Hungary’s first female head of state, invited Pope Francis to visit Hungary during her visit to the Vatican Aug. 26, 2022.
The pope will only spend one full day in the country April 29, during which he will meet privately with children from a local school, speak with refugees and people in need, address young people in Hungary and meet with the local Jesuit community.
Before returning to Rome late afternoon April 30, he will celebrate Mass before the Hungarian Parliament building and meet with scholars from Budapest’s Pázmány Péter Catholic University.
Pope Francis previously traveled to Budapest to celebrate the closing Mass of the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress which was held in the city ahead of a four-day visit to Slovakia in 2021. The pope specified that his trip to Budapest in 2021 was not part of an apostolic visit to Hungary, although he met with Hungary’s then-president, János Áder, and Orbán.
The Hungarian prime minister traveled to Rome Jan. 3 to pay his respects to the late Pope Benedict XVI, who was then lying in repose in St. Peter’s Basilica.
In a statement published Feb. 27, Cardinal Péter Erdo of Esztergom-Budapest said that the pope’s visit to Budapest is a “particular joy” for everyone in his archdiocese as well as those who will travel to the city from throughout Hungary and abroad.
“May our meeting with the successor of St. Peter be a decisive step on the path we walk together toward Christ,” he wrote.