Pope Francis to visit St Pio sites

On 50th anniversary of saint's death, 100th of stigmata

(ANSA) - Vatican City, December 19 - Pope Francis will visit St Pio's home town Pietrelcina and the town he built his hospital in, San Giovanni Rotondo, on the 100th anniversary of the apparition of the famed monk's stigmata and the 50th anniversary of Padre Pio's death on March 17 next year, Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said Tuesday. The pope will leave the Vatican heliport at 07:00 and fly to Pietrelcina where he will be met by Benevento Archbishop Msgr Felice Accrocca and Pietrelcina Mayor Domenico Masone.
    He will then spend some silent prayer at the Chapel of the Stigmata before meeting the faithful outside the Church and going on to meet the Capuchin community.
    At 09:00 he will copter off to San Giovanni Rotondo where he will arrive at 09:30.
    Here he will be welcomed by Manfredonia-Vieste-San Giovanni Rotondo Archbishop Msgr Michele Castoro and San Giovanni Rotondo Mayor Costanzo Cascavilla.
    Francis will then visit the children's cancer ward of the famed hospital.
    He will then say Mass at 11:00.
    Finally, after taking his leave of the Capuchin Community.
    Pope Francis will leave San Giovanni Rotondo at 12:45 to arrive back at the Vatican heliport at 13:45.