By Hannah Brockhaus
Vatican City, - The Vatican confirmed Monday
that Pope Francis' trip to Egypt at the end
of the month will go on as planned, despite
terrorist attacks which killed more than 43
people during Palm Sunday celebrations in
The Director of the Holy See Press
Office, Greg Burke, told journalists April
10 that “the Pope's trip to Egypt proceeds
as scheduled.” The Pope himself also
confirmed that the trip will take place,
according to Franciscan Fr. Marco Tasca.
During a meeting April 10 with General
Ministers of the Franciscan Order, Francis
“very firmly confirmed his trip to Egypt,”
Fr. Tasca said, adding that he is “very
Pope Francis plans to visit the Egyptian
capital of Cairo April 28-29, in what is
largely a bid to foster greater
Catholic-Muslim dialogue, particularly on
the point of ending extremist violence.
The first of Sunday’s attacks, a bomb at
the Coptic Christian church of Mar Gerges in
the northern city of Tanta, Egypt killed 27
people and wounded at least 71 more,
according to BBC News.
A second blast took place shortly after
outside of a Christian church in Alexandria,
killing 17 and injuring another 35. The man,
a suicide bomber, had tried to storm the
entrance to the church before being stopped
by police, three of whom died in the blast.
ISIS has claimed responsibility for both
The attack in Alexandria narrowly missed
harming the Coptic Patriarch Pope Tawadros
II, who was participating in Mass inside the
After celebrating Palm Sunday Mass April
9, Pope Francis prayed for victims of “the
attack that unfortunately took place today
near Cairo,” voicing his closeness to Coptic
Patriarch Pope Tawadros II, to and to the
entire Coptic nation.
“I express my heartfelt sorrow,” he said,
praying that the Lord would “convert the
hearts of those who sow fear, violence and
death, and those who make and traffic arms.”
His Holiness Pope Tawadros II is one of
the religious leaders Pope Francis plans to
meet with while in Cairo at the end of
April. His schedule will also include a
meeting with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar,
The Pope will leave Rome at 10:45 am,
April 28, arriving in Cairo around 2:00 pm.
After a brief welcoming ceremony and
visit with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah
el-Sisi, Pope Francis and the Grand Imam
will each give a speech at an international
conference on peace.
Francis will then meet with state
authorities and with the head of the Coptic
Orthodox Church of Alexandria, Pope Tawadros
On Saturday, April 29, Pope Francis will
celebrate Mass in the morning, followed by a
meeting with Egypt’s bishops over lunch.
Pope Francis was invited to visit Egypt by
Coptic Catholic bishops during their ad
limina visit at the Vatican Feb. 6, during
which they also gave a report on the state
of the Church in their country.
In the afternoon Francis will meet with
priests, religious and seminarians followed
by a farewell ceremony before boarding the
papal plane, which is scheduled to leave
Cairo at 5:00 pm, arriving in Rome at 8:30
For a community already suffering from an
attack which killed 30 at a church connected
to the main Coptic Christian cathedral in
Cairo in December 2016, Sunday’s attacks
have given rise to even greater concern over
the security in Egypt.