Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne and other authorities welcomed the Pope, seated in a wheelchair, and the delegation accompanying him, who will participate in the Mediterranean Meetings, a forum that brings together bishops from nearly 30 countries and young people from the region, with the themes of migration and ecology on the agenda.
Francis, 86, stood for the playing of the hymns the Marseillaise and the Pontifical March.
Before leaving for Marseille in an ITA Airways Airbus 380, the Pope asked for prayers to accompany his trip on X (formerly Twitter) and stressed that the Mediterranean Meetings seek to promote regional paths of integration and collaboration.
The Pope’s program, the first pope to travel to this city since 1533, includes a stay at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Guardian (Good Mother), the homage to the seafarers and migrants missing at sea and the participation in the aforementioned event.
Tomorrow, Francis will travel along the Avenue du Prado in the “popemobile” to greet some 100,000 people expected on the tour and will officiate a Mass at the Vélodrome stadium.
A few days ago, the Pope confirmed the presence of President Emmanuel Macron at the mass.