Vatican City (AsiaNews) – An ecumenical prayer and encounter will be the main events of the visit that Pope Francis will make on June 21st to Geneva, as part of the initiatives for the 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches (WCC).
The Council brings together 348 Protestant, Lutheran, Anglican and Orthodox Churches. The Catholic Church participates as an “observer” and is a full member of one of the commissions, the “Faith and Constitution”.
Pope Francis (in the photo, with Olav Fykse Tveit, WCC general secretary) will be the third pope to visit the WCC, after Paul VI, who went there on 10 June 1969 and John Paul II on 12 June 1984. His visit will have the motto “Walking, praying, working together”. Card. Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, announcing the initiative last March, said “it echoes the theme of the pilgrimage of Justice and Peace, which was adopted by the last WCC assembly as a leitmotiv of all its current activities. It also reflects Pope Francis’s affirmation of an ‘ecumenism in walking together’ “.
The program, published today, reveals that Francis, upon his arrival, has a meeting with the President of the Confederation, before going to the headquarters of the WCC. There will be prayer, a lunch with members of the Council and an ecumenical meeting with a speech by the Pope.
At the invitation of the Swiss Bishops’ Conference, the Pope will then celebrate Mass for the Catholic community in the Geneva Palaexpo. The return to Rome is scheduled for the evening of the same day.