On February 23, 2020, Pope Francis will spend the morning at Bari, on the Adriatic Coast in Southern Italy, for a “Meeting of Reflection and Spirituality entitled ‘Mediterranean Frontier of Peace.’” During this second visit to this city, where the relics of Saint Nicholas are kept, the Holy Father will meet with the Bishops of the Mediterranean regions and preside over a Mass.

According to the program, published by the Holy See on January 21, he will take off in a helicopter from the Vatican at 7:00 am and land at Christopher Columbus Square in Bari at 8:15 am. The Archbishop of Bari, Monsignor Francesco Cacucci as well as the President of the region of Pouilles, the Prefect and the Mayor of Bari will welcome the Pope.

He will then go by car to the Pontifical Basilica of Saint Nicholas, where a meeting is planned with the Bishops of the Mediterranean at 8:30 am., whom he will address. Among those intervening are Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, President of the Italian Episcopal Conference; Cardinal Vinko Puljic, President of the Episcopal Conference of Bosnia-Herzegovina; Monsignor Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator of Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem; and Monsignor Paul Desfarges, President of the Regional Episcopal Conference of North Africa (CERNA).

After greeting each one of the Bishops, the Holy Father will go down to the Basilica’s crypt to venerate the relics of Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra — known by the faithful of different Christian Churches and Confessions as Defender of the weakest and the persecuted and Protector of young girls, sailors and children — and to greet the Community of Dominicans. Then he will greet the crowd in the Square in front of the Basilica.

The visit will end with a Mass, which the Pontiff will celebrate on the Victor Emmanuel II course, followed by the prayer of the Angelus. He is scheduled to return to the Vatican at 1:45 pm.

Pope Francis already visited Bari on July 7, 2018, for an Ecumenical Day of Reflection and Prayer on the Situation in the Middle East, with some 20 Patriarchs and Christina leaders.

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