(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has arrived in Sweden for a two-day apostolic journey where, together with the heads of the Lutheran World Federation he will jointly preside at an ecumenical prayer service in Lund cathedral, followed by a public witness event in the nearby city of Malmö.
On Tuesday morning, All Saints Day, the Pope will celebrate Mass in Malmö for Sweden’s tiny Catholic community.
Highlighting the importance of this apostolic journey to Sweden to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the protestant Reformation, the Pope asked journalists to help the public understand.
Greeting media professionals travelling on board the papal plane to Malmo on Monday morning, Pope Francis said: “This journey is important because it is an ecclesial journey, it’s very ecclesial in the field of ecumenism.
“Your work will be a big contribution in making sure people understand well” he said.
The formal occasion for the Pope’s visit to Sweden is to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. The event comes as the culmination of years of theological progress, from the signing of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification in 1999, to the publication of a shared history of the Reformation in the 2013 document ‘From Conflict to Communion’.
Before travelling to the Lutheran Cathedral of Lund for the joint ecumenical prayer service on Monday afternoon, an official welcome ceremony at Malmö International Airport saw state and religious authorities on the tarmac to receive Pope Francis.
As per protocol, the Prime Minister of the host country, Sweden’s Stefan Löfven, and the Minister of Culture and Democracy meet privately with the Pope at the Airport.
Also before the ecumenical service which is scheduled to begin at 2.15pm, the Pope will pay a courtesy visit to the Swedish King and Queen, Carl XVI Gustav and Silvia, at Lund’s Royal Palace (the Kungshuset).
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