It was the first time that Pope Francis has visited Hungary, but this was not the only reason why half the country was preparing to welcome him. Francis stayed only half a day, but his program was packed: he met a lot of people in Budapest. During his visit, he also showed his love for young children. How? You can see the picture in the article!
The apostolic journey to Hungary began at 8 a.m. when Francis’ plane landed at Budapest Ferenc Liszt Airport. There he was greeted by Hungarian government officials and church leaders.
The Catholic elementary school “Reménység” (“Hope”) in Budapest’s Kispest district, and the Budapest Honvéd football club presented Pope Francis with a Puskás jersey. The Holy Father received the jersey of the still most famous Hungarian footballer at the airport.
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From there he went to the Museum of Fine Arts, where he met Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and President János Áder, and then spoke to church leaders in Hungary. As announced by the press room of the pope, the talks went “according to the program” and in a “heartfelt atmosphere.”
Pope Francis, meeting with church leaders, called Christians to unity, warned against anti-Semitism in Europe, and promoted fraternity and peace. “We must work together to educate for fraternity so that the hatred that always arises and wants to destroy fraternity does not gain the upper hand. I am thinking of the threat of anti-Semitism that still festers in Europe and elsewhere.”
In the meantime, since early morning, people had gathered at Heroes’ Square and in the surrounding streets. In front of the altar, church members, priests, priestesses, sisters, monks, and guests of honor took their seats.
Among the guests of honor were also the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice of Hungary with her family. The latter even posted a picture with singer Gabi Tóth.
Cultural programs were held on Heroes’ Square from 9 am. Singer Gabi Tóth (pictured above) also performed. This was followed by the Anthem of the Congress, newly arranged by singer Ákos Kovács. A choir of 82 choirs with 2,100 members sang to the mass.
In the surrounding streets, the action could be followed via projectors and loudspeakers.
Then the Pope made a tour of the surrounding streets in his Pope Mobile, where tens of thousands of faithful greeted him with applause and waving. (According to press reports, more than 100,000 people gathered in and around Heroes’ Square).
The pope is known to be very fond of small children. At an unexpected moment, he had his car stopped, the bodyguards in black suits running alongside him at a sporting pace also stopping. At this first stop, he was handed a baby, which he blessed and kissed on the forehead.
He then left for Slovakia in the early afternoon.
Featured image via the Facebook page of the International Eucharistic World Congress