By Emily Drooby
This upcoming weekend, Pope Francis is set to make his first visit outside of Rome since the pandemic put Italy on lockdown. It will mark a very important occasion, as he will sign his new encyclical.
The Holy Father is set to celebrate Mass at the tomb of St. Francis of Assisi. He will sign the encyclical right after.
Brother Joseph Bach of the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn explained that the trip, which is scheduled for October 3, holds deep significance.
“He’s going on the day that we celebrate the Transitus, or the passing of St. Francis in our Franciscan family,” Brother Bach told Currents News
Francis is the first Pope to be named after St. Francis.
The encyclical is said to be on human fraternity, recognizing each other as brothers and sisters.
“For Francis, this whole concept of ‘fraternitas’ meant that we were all brothers and sisters. And without distinction we were all equal. So, I think it sends a very important message for the whole and for our Church right now,” explained Brother Bach.
Brother Bach added that it’s a message that’s especially important as the world deals with the fall out of the pandemic.
This will be the Holy Father’s third encyclical, named “Fratelli Tutti’ — words that come from St. Francis. This is also true of Pope Francis’ second encyclical, “Laudato Si.’”
The trip itself will look very different from a normal papal trip: it will be private and not open to the faithful. Pope Francis will return to the Vatican right after.