The Vatican Press Office has announced Pope Francis’ schedule for his upcoming Apostolic Visit to Iraq from 5 – 8 March this year. His journey begins on the morning of Friday 5 March when he departs from Rome and arrives at Baghdad International Airport in the afternoon.

The official welcome ceremony will take place at the Presidential Palace in Baghdad followed by a courtesy visit to the President. Pope Francis will also meet with civil authorities and members of the Diplomatic Corps.

As part of the schedule on Friday, the Pope will meet with bishops, priests, religious, consecrated persons, seminarians and catechists at the Syro-Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Salvation in Baghdad.

Visit to Najaf and Mass in Baghdad

On Saturday, 6 March, Pope Francis will depart Baghdad for Najaf. Following a courtesy visit to the Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Al-Husaymi Al-Sistani in Najaf, Pope Francis will fly to Nassirya for an interreligious meeting at the Plain of Ur.

On his return to Baghdad in the afternoon, the Pope will celebrate Holy Mass at the Chaldean Cathedral of Saint Joseph in Baghdad.

Erbil and Mosul

On Sunday morning, Pope Francis will depart for Erbil. On arrival at the airport, he will be welcomed by religious and civil authorities from the region of Iraqi Kurdistan before continuing his journey by helicopter to Mosul. While there, he will recite a prayer of sufferage for the victims of war at Hosh al-Bieaa (Church Square).

Meeting with community in Qaraqosh

The Pope will again take a helicopter to Qaraqosh where he will visit the Qaraqosh community at the Church of the Immaculate Conception.

Holy Mass in Erbil

In the afternoon, Pope Francis will return to Erbil where he will celebrate Holy Mass at the “Franso Hariri” stadium. Following the celebration, the Pope will depart for Baghdad.

Departure

After a farewell ceremony on Monday morning, Pope Francis will depart for Rome. He is expected to touch down at Rome’s Ciampino airport later in the day.

ENDS