The Vatican has released the programme for Pope Francis’ one-day, private visit to Assisi to meet the poor. Pope Francis will travel to the Italian town of Assisi on Friday, 12 November, on the occasion of the World Day of the Poor.

The meeting in Assisi, St. Francis’ hometown, will be a private one, during which Pope Francis will share moments of listening and prayer with about 500 people from all over Europe.

The Holy Father will arrive in Assisi at 9:00am. In addition to the authorities, who will greet him in the courtyard of the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, the Pope will be welcomed by the poor, who will form a symbolic “embrace” to welcome him.

Some of the poor will also symbolically hand over to Pope Francis the pilgrim’s cloak and staff, indicating that all have come as pilgrims to the places of St Francis, to listen to his word.

In the Basilica the Holy Father will listen to the testimony of six people – two French, one Polish, one Spanish, two Italians – and will offer a response.

This will be followed by a moment of pause to offer refreshments to the poor.

There will be a time of prayer with the Holy Father after which there will be a distribution of the Holy Father’s gift to the poor.

After his final greeting, Pope Francis will return to the Vatican by helicopter while the poor will be hosted for lunch by the Bishop of Assisi, Domenico Sorrentino.