Grueling itinerary set for pope’s first post-surgery trip


Pope Francis salutes the crowd as he arrives for the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St.Peter’s Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, July 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

ROME (AP) — The Vatican on Wednesday released a grueling travel itinerary for Pope Francis’ first post-surgery foreign trip, scheduling around-the-clock encounters and hopscotching flights for his Sept. 12-15 visit to Hungary and Slovakia.

Francis, 84, had already confessed that during his last trip, to Iraq in March, he felt the weight of his years and thought he might need to slow down his normally rigorous travel schedule.

Since then, Francis was hospitalized this month for 10 days after having half of his colon removed, and is still recovering back at the Vatican.

Nevertheless, the trip itinerary released Wednesday indicated no slowdown and in fact included separate encounters with Jewish groups, Roma and even the Slovakian president of the parliament which go beyond the basic contingent of religious and political events that are usually included in a papal visit.

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