Pope Francis greets the crowd as he leads the Angelus from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican June 28, 2021. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Before going to the hospital for colon surgery July 4, Pope Francis told a crowd in St. Peter’s Square that he would be visiting Hungary and Slovakia Sept. 12-15.

With pilgrims from Slovakia holding their country’s flag aloft in St. Peter’s Square, the pope told the crowd, “I am happy to announce that from Sept. 12 to 15, God willing, I will travel to Slovakia to make a pastoral visit.”

But, first, he said, the morning of Sept. 12 “I will celebrate the concluding Mass of the International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest,” Hungary.

“From the bottom of my heart, I thank those who are preparing this journey, and I am praying for them,” he said. “Let us all pray for this journey and for the people who are working to organize it.”

Before going to the hospital for colon surgery July 4, Pope Francis told a crowd in St. Peter’s Square that he would be visiting Hungary and Slovakia Sept. 12-15.

The Vatican press office said the Slovakia trip would include stops in the cities of Bratislava, Presov, Kosice and Sastin, but did not immediately provide details of the pope’s program.

Eduard Habsburg, the Hungarian ambassador to the Holy See, replied on Twitter to people who asked why the pope was going to Hungary only for a Mass, but then would make a full pastoral visit to Slovakia.

“Hungary, a few hours, Slovakia, a few days. Why?” he tweeted. The pope “is doing exactly what he has been invited for — in Budapest, the final Mass of the @iec2021Budapest (the eucharistic congress), in Slovakia, an extended visit to the country.”

In a statement shared by the Vatican-based secretariat of the International Eucharist Congress, Cardinal Peter Erdo of Esztergom-Budapest said, “The Catholic community is waiting for the arrival of the Holy Father with great joy and love. We are praying for his visit to be the sign of hope and a new beginning after the abatement of the pandemic.”

While the visit was scheduled to be brief, the cardinal said the pope’s visit was significant since, for the past two decades, popes had sent representatives to the congress rather than participating themselves.

“The last time a pope participated in the international congress was 21 years ago in Rome, where Pope John Paul II was present,” the statement said.

The International Eucharistic Congress generally is held every four years and includes workshops, catechesis, adoration, a solemn procession with the Blessed Sacrament and a closing Mass. The Budapest gathering originally was scheduled for 2020 but was postponed a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We don’t have comments turned on everywhere anymore. We have recently relaunched the commenting experience at America and are aiming for a more focused commenting experience with better moderation by opening comments on a select number of articles each day.

But we still want your feedback. You can join the conversation about this article with us in social media on Twitter or Facebook, or in one of our Facebook discussion groups for various topics.

Or send us feedback on this article with one of the options below:

We welcome and read all letters to the editor but, due to the volume received, cannot guarantee a response.

In order to be considered for publication, letters should be brief (around 200 words or less) and include the author’s name and geographic location. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

We open comments only on select articles so that we can provide a focused and well-moderated discussion on interesting topics. If you think this article provides the opportunity for such a discussion, please let us know what you'd like to talk about, or what interesting question you think readers might want to respond to.

If we decide to open comments on this article, we will email you to let you know.

If you have a message for the author, we will do our best to pass it along. Note that if the article is from a wire service such as Catholic News Service, Religion News Service, or the Associated Press, we will not have direct contact information for the author. We cannot guarantee a response from any author.

We welcome any information that will help us improve the factual accuracy of this piece. Thank you.

Please consult our Contact Us page for other options to reach us.

City and state/province, or if outside Canada or the U.S., city and country. 
When you click submit, this article page will reload. You should see a message at the top of the reloaded page confirming that your feedback has been received.

The latest from america

Patriarch Bartholomew is set to meet with President Biden and other top U.S. officials in the coming days, though exact times have not been announced.
Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica Atreides, from left, Zendaya as Chani, Javier Bardem as Stilgar, and Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides in "Dune." Photo by Chiabella James/© 2020 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Frank Herbert’s beloved novel has enough material that should preclude the kind of dead space that inhabits so much of this “Dune.”
John AndersonOctober 22, 2021
Kate Winselt in ‘Mare of Easttown,’ Sarah Lancashire in ‘Happy Valley’ and Olivia Coleman and David Tennant in ‘Broadchurch’ (photos: HBO/BBC/ITV)
These shows shine an intimate, even glaring light on humanity in its less flattering manifestations.
Rob Weinert-KendtOctober 22, 2021
Brandi Carlile's latest album shows the singer's keen awareness of the radical nature of tenderness.
Kevin JacksonOctober 22, 2021