Pope Francis to travel to Luxembourg and Belgium on Sept. 26-29
May 20, 2024 10:30pm

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis will travel to Luxembourg and Belgium in late September, the Vatican said on Monday, confirming another international trip for the increasingly frail but still very active 87-year-old pontiff.

Francis' health has taken a turn for the worse recently. He has used a cane or a wheelchair since 2022 to move around, and earlier this year he curtailed some public speaking and skipped some engagements, due to breathing difficulties.

Nevertheless, the head of the world's almost 1.4 billion Catholics will head to Luxembourg on Sept. 26 and travel on to Belgium the same day, staying until Sept. 29, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a statement.

In Belgium, Francis will be in Brussels, Leuven and Louvain-la-Neuve, Bruni added.

The pope is expected to take part in celebrations for the 600th anniversary of the Catholic University of Leuven/Louvain. There was no immediate word from the Vatican on whether he would also stop by EU institutions, which are based in Brussels.

Francis' travel agenda for this year includes a Sept. 2-13 trip to Asia and Oceania, the longest of his 11-year papacy, with stops in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and Singapore.

Last week, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual head of the world's Orthodox Christians, said the pope was also planning to visit Turkey next year to mark the anniversary of the First Council of Nicaea. Reuters

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