© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Pope Francis greets people on his arrival in the courtyard of San Damaso for the weekly general audience at the Vatican on June 16, 2021. REUTERS / Guglielmo Mangiapane / File Photo
By Philip Pullella
(Reuters) – Pope Francis will hold more than 10 addresses during a trip to Hungary and Slovakia in September and visit five cities in four days – his first since major bowel surgery – according to a schedule released on Wednesday.
The schedule for the trip, September 12-15, is just as grueling as it is for past trips, suggesting that he and his doctors are confident they can handle the burden.
The 84-year-old Francis had an operation to remove part
his colon on July 4th and spent 11 days in hospital, his first hospital stay since his election as Pope in 2013.
Most of the trip will take him to Slovakia, where he will visit the capital Bratislava as well as Kosice, Presov and Sastin.
In addition to regular institutional meetings with the country's president, prime minister, parliamentarians and diplomats, he will also have a separate meeting with the Jewish community in Bratislava.
According to the Central Association of Jewish Communities, around 105,000 Slovak Jews were killed in the Holocaust. Today the community has around 3,000.
In Kosice he will also meet with the Roma population in the Lunik IX district, one of the largest concentrations in the country.
Slovakia has a Roma population of around 440,000, many of whom live in settlements on the outskirts, although most of them call themselves Slovaks or Hungarians.
Francis will hold two open air masses in Slovakia, which is about 74% Catholic, including a service in the lengthy Byzantine rite.
The Pope begins the trip with a six-hour stop in the Hungarian capital Budapest to conclude a church day before continuing to Slovakia.
The Pope suffered from severe symptomatic diverticulum stenosis of the colon, a condition in which the colon narrows, causing pain, gas, inflammation and difficulty in defecating.
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