Today the Vatican published the official itinerary for Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to Sri Lanka and the Philippines, during which he is slated to spend roughly two days each in Colombo, Manila and Tacloban. Officially announced by the Vatican in July, the trip had been unofficially revealed by the Pope during an in-flight press conference on his way back from the Holy Land. Pope Francis’ decision to visit Sri Lanka and the Philippines marks his second trip to Asia in six months — the first being to South Korea in August. The papal voyage will follow the theme of “Mercy and Compassion,” and will last from January 12-19. After departing Rome the evening of Jan. 12, 2015, the Roman Pontiff will arrive to Colombo, Sri Lanka the following morning, where he will be received with an official welcoming ceremony and afterwards meet the bishops of the island. While in Sri Lanka the Pope will also pay a courtesy visit to the country’s president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, hold a meeting with leaders of different religions, and will canonize Sri Lankan Blessed Giuseppe Vaz. Before leaving Sri Lanka on Wed., Jan. 15, the Bishop of Rome will pay a visit to the city of Bolawalana’s “Our Lady of Lanka” chapel, after which he will travel to Manila. Upon his arrival to the Philippines, Pope Francis will have an official welcome at the Air Base where he lands. The official welcoming ceremony will take place the following morning, after which the Pope is slated to visit with the country’s president, Benigno Aquino III, as well as local authorities and the diplomatic corp. Later that day he will celebrate mass with bishops, priests and religious in Manila’s cathedral, and afterward will hold an encounter with families. He will depart the next morning, Jan. 17, for Tacloban. In Tacloban the pontiff will celebrate mass after his arrival, and will then have lunch with survivors of the typhoon Yolanda that devastated the country last year, causing the death of around 6,000 people. After the lunch, the Pope will go on to bless the city’s “Pope Francis Center for the Poor” and will hold mass for priests, religious, seminarians and families of the typhoon survivors. He will return to Manila by plane that evening. On his last full day in the Philippines, the Roman Pontiff will hold a brief encounter with interreligious leaders, followed by a meeting with the youth in the afternoon, and will conclude the day by celebrating mass in Manila’s Rizal Park. He will have a farewell ceremony the morning of Mon., Jan. 19 at Manila’s Air Base before returning to Rome, where he will arrive at roughly 6p.m. Pope Francis’ visit will also mark the 20th anniversary of the 1995 Manila World Youth Day, the largest ever papal event, which gathered around 5 million young people to pray with St. John Paul II. Please find the full schedule for the Pope’s trip below: January 12, 2015 7:00p.m. Depart for Colombo by plane from Rome's Fiumicino airport Tuesday, January 13, 2015 9:00a.m. Arrive to the international airport of Colombo Welcoming ceremony 1:15p.m. Encounter with the bishops of Sri Lanka in the Archdiocese of Colombo 5:00p.m. Courtesy visit to the President of the Republic in the presidential residence 6:15p.m. Interreligious encounter in the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall Wednesday, January 14, 2015 8:30a.m. Holy Mass and canonization of Blessed Giuseppe Vaz in the Galle Face Green in Colombo 2:00p.m. Transfer by helicopter to Madhu 3:30 Marian prayer at the shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary in Madhu 4:45p.m. Transfer by helicopter to Colombo Thursday, January 15, 2015 8:15a.m. Visit to the "Our Lady of Lanka" chapel in Bolawalana 8:45a.m. Farewell ceremony at the international airport of Colombo 9:00a.m. Depart from Colombo by plane for Manila 5:45p.m. Arrive to the Villamor Air Base of Manila Official Welcome Friday, January 16, 2015 9:15a.m. Welcoming ceremony at the presidential palace Courtesy visit to the president 10:15a.m. Encounter with authorities and with the Diplomatic Corp in the Rizal Ceremonial Hall of the presidential palace 11:15 Holy Mass with bishops, priests and religious in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of Manila 5:30p.m. Encounter with families in the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila Saturday, January 17, 2015 8:15a.m. Depart from Manila by plane for Tacloban 9:30a.m. Arrive at the airport of Tacloban 10:00a.m. Holy Mass next to the Tacloban International Airport 12:45p.m. Lunch with some survivors of typhoon Yolanda at the Archbishop of Palo's residence 3:00p.m. Blessing of the Pope Francis Center for the Poor 3:30p.m. Encounter with priests, religious, seminarians and families of the survivors in the Cathedral of Palo 5:00p.m. Departure by plane for Manila 6:15p.m. Arrive to the Villamor Air Base of Manila Sunday, January 18, 2015 9:45a.m. Brief encounter with religious leaders of the Philippines in the University of St. Thomas in Manila 10:30a.m. Encounter with youth in the sports field of the university 3:30p.m. Holy Mass at Rizal Park in Manila Monday, January 19, 2015 9:45a.m. Farewell ceremony in the Presidential Pavilion of the Villamor Air Base in Manila 10:00a.m. Departure from Manila by plane for Rome 5:40p.m. Arrive to Rome's Ciampino airport
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