By Robin Gomes
Pope Francis will be on a half-day pastoral visit on Thursday to the towns of Nomadelfia and Loppiano in the central Italian region of Tuscany, that are associated with two Catholic movements.
The Pope will start his 22nd pastoral visit in Italy on May 10, flying in the morning by helicopter to Nomadelfia, that is named after a Catholic community of families and lay unmarried people who adopt a lifestyle of brotherhood inspired by the first Christians in the Acts of the Apostles.
In the Nomadelfia Community all goods are shared, with no private property. It is made up of families that take in abandoned children.
After landing in Nomadelfia the Pope will first visit the tomb of Italian priest Father Zeno Saltini, who founded the community in 1948.
He will them visit to one of the Community´s family groups, hold a meeting with members of the community in the church and join young people in their celebration and deliver an address.
Over 4,000 people are expected for the Pope’s Thursday visit.
St. Pope John Paul II visited Nomadelfia on May 21, 1989.
From Nomadelfia the Holy Father will fly to Loppiano, near the Tuscan capital Florence, where the first international centre of the Focolare Movement was established in 1964.
The Focolare is an international movement based in Italy that promotes the ideals of unity and universal brotherhood among all people. Founded in 1943 in the northern Italian city of Trent by the charismatic lay Catholic woman, Chiara Lubich, the Focolare Movement today is active in 194 countries.
Through the Focolari (small communities of lay volunteers) have helped contribute to strengthening communion within the Catholic Church and initiated important work for Christian unity, interfaith dialogue and dialogue with contemporary culture.
There are about 120,000 people who are part of its structures (members) and one and a half million people who adhere to it or sympathize with it. Among the members are many who profess no particular religion.
This is the first time that a pope is visiting Loppiano, an event which over 6000 people from all over Italy are expected to attend, and many thousands more will follow live on the media.
After landing in Loppiano, Pope Francis will first stop for a while to pray at the Maria Theotokos Sanctuary, in the Focolare complex.
In the yard outside of the sanctuary he will then meet the community and field questions from the members.
After greeting a Focolari delegation, Pope Francis will fly back to Rome.