Pope Francis to visit Belgium at end of September, Vatican confirms

Pope Francis will visit Belgium and Luxembourg from 26 to 29 September, the Vatican announced on Monday.

The pontiff will begin his visit in Luxembourg on Thursday 26 September before travelling to Brussels, Leuven and Louvain-la-Neuve, the Vatican said in a press release.

It was already known that the Pope would be coming to Belgium during the second half of September, as part of the 600th anniversary celebrations of the University of Leuven, now KU Leuven and UCLouvain. The institutions celebrate their jubilee in 2025.

Pope Francis is also likely to visit the Koekelberg Basilica in Brussels and preside at a Mass in the capital on 29 September, although the location has not yet been specified. 

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“The Pope visits very few European countries, let alone in Western Europe. We didn’t really expect it,” said Archbishop Luc Terlinden. “At the same time, I think Pope Francis has long wanted to come to Belgium very much. One reason is that he knew a number of Belgians in his younger years in Argentina. I think first and foremost his heart spoke.”

The full programme of the visit is being finalised and will be publicised on the website www.popevisit.be. 

"The Pope is also coming to meet the intellectual and scientific world of our country and, by extension, Belgian society"

“Let us not forget that the visit is part of the celebration of the 600th anniversary of our two Leuven universities,” Terlinden added. “So it is a very special occasion, since the Pope is also coming to meet the intellectual and scientific world of our country and, by extension, Belgian society and its various sections.”

The 87-year-old unexpectedly withdrew from a Good Friday procession in March “to preserve his health” after suffering respiratory problems through the winter. He arrived at the Palm Sunday Mass in a wheelchair and has recently had aides read speeches on his behalf.

The last Papal visit to Belgium was in 1995, when John Paul II came for the beatification of Father Damien. His visit was then limited to Brussels.


#FlandersNewsService | Pope Francis delivers his blessing to the faithful during the Angelus prayer at St Peter's square in the Vatican, 19 May 2024 © PHOTO VATICAN MEDIA/CATHOLIC PRESS PHOTO/HANS LUCAS/IPA/ABACAPRESS.COM

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