Cairo, Apr 28: Pope Francis, the highest spiritual mentor of Catholics worldwide, will be arriving today in Egypt by a special Alitalia plane on a peace mission and to boost the peace initiatives in that strife-torn Islamic country.
The Pontiff will be accompanied by a dozens of cardinals, bishops, priests, religious, interpreters and assistants.
It may be mentioned that a few days ago there was an attack on Christian churches in Egypt. The Papal visit is aimed at accelerating the peace initiatives started after this attack, especially by the Al-Azhar University in Cairo.
For some days, security preparations have been at the highest level and are directly under the personal supervision of the President of the Republic. The aim is to present to the world the image of Egypt characterized by tolerance, fraternity, solidarity, terms that run counter to those of all who perpetuate conspiracies and want to erode the nation, drowning it in religious obscurantism.
Egypt is preparing to welcome the top Christian leader. The streets crossed by the papal convoy have been washed, trees along them watered, and parking is banned in the neighbourhood. Pope is staying overnight in Cairo.
On Saturday morning at 10 am local time, solemn mass will be celebrated at the Cairo military aeronautics stadium in the Egyptian capital, which can hold up to 35,000 people.
The Pope will arrive half an hour before the scheduled start time for Mass and greet the crowd of the faithful who will have come from the four corners of the country from an open golf car. The Mass will last about 90 minutes and will be preceded by several documentaries on the Vatican and the Pope.
In an exclusive statement issued at the last moment, Msgr. Emmanuel Ayad, bishop of Luxor and head of the Egyptian organizing committee, said: “Everything is fine and the preparations are almost over. I am proud to see the participation of all the official bodies of Egypt in the context of this great event. Everyone is doing their best. The President of the Republic and the army did much more than we could have ever imagined. Moreover, we are faced with a visit not only to the local Church, but one that has taken on a greater magnitude that embraces the entire Egyptian nation. The Pope is expected with great joy and excitement by all, all of Egypt loves him and sees in him a great builder of peace.”