Major events and travels of Pope Francis in the New Year are currently anticipated to include:
- World Youth Day, Panama City, Jan. 22-27: This gathering will be the third of Pope Francis’ pontificate, following Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2013, and Krakow, Poland, in 2016. It will also be Pope Francis’ seventh visit to his home of Latin America since his 2013 election.
- Visit to United Arab Emirates, Feb. 3-5: Stops on this first visit by a pope to the Arabian peninsula will include the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi and a papal Mass at a stadium.
- Abuse summit, Rome, Feb. 21-24: This first-of-its-kind meeting dedicated to bringing bishops from around the world together to address the issue of clergy sexual abuse is viewed as needing to be a moment for decisive, unified action by the Church. In inviting the presidents of the world’s episcopal conferences to participate, it also marks an exercise in more synodal (or collaborative) decision-making and governance of the Church. Among the summit’s planners is U.S. Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago.
- Visit to Morocco, March 30-31: Pope Francis is the second pope to visit this Muslim-majority nation.
- Visit to Bulgaria and Macedonia, May 5-7: Each of these Balkan nations has a Catholic population that is 1 percent or less of the country and well under 40,000 people. Pope Francis has visited other countries where Catholics comprise a slim minority, such as in Estonia and Sweden, in his prior travels.
- Special Assembly for the Amazon of the Synod of Bishops, October: The fourth gathering of the Synod of Bishops of Pope Francis’ pontificate, this assembly will look at pastoral and evangelical concerns in the Amazon region. This is expected to include the impacts of globalization and climate change on indigenous people, as well as the pastoral realities of ministering to people in very remote regions.
– From Our Sunday Visitor website; view the full article here.