Pope Francis to visit family hometown in November
By Linda Bordoni
Pope Francis will travel to the northern Italian town of Asti, in the Piedmont region, on 19-20 November for his cousin’s 90th birthday.
“We are so happy for this news” said Bishop Marco Prastaro of Asti, “We will do everything to welcome Pope Francis and respect his wish that part of the visit be private.”
The news was announced on Wednesday by the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household, which said the Pope will travel to Asti in the afternoon of 19 November on the occasion of his cousin’s birthday. A statement specified that during this part of the two-day visit he will be meeting privately with members of his extended family.
On Sunday, 20 November, the statement continued, the Pope will preside at Mass at 11 am in Asti’s Cathedral, “to meet the Diocesan community that his parents left when they emigrated to Argentina.”
The Pope will travel back to the Vatican in the afternoon of Sunday.
Pope Francis was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Buenos Aires on 17 December 1936. His father, Mario Josè Bergoglio was an accountant born in Portacomaro, in the province of Asti.
His mother, Regina Sivori, was born in Buenos Aires to a family of northern Italian origin.
The family emigrated to Argentina in 1929.