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Pope lightens his summer schedule, as he did in 2013

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Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives to lead his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican June 18. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

By Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis‘ schedule for summer 2014 is almost an exact duplicate of the schedule he kept in 2013, except he will be making an August trip to South Korea for Asian Youth Day. Last year, he traveled to Brazil in July for World Youth Day.

Publishing information about the pope’s summer plans June 14, the Vatican said that as in 2013, Pope Francis will not invite groups of Catholics to his residence for his early morning Mass in July and August.

The Vatican also said that while he would not hold his weekly general audience on the Wednesdays of July, the pope does plan to hold the gatherings at the Vatican in August, except when he is in South Korea Aug. 13-18. In 2013, the general audiences were suspended in both July and August.

Last year, Pope Francis broke the papal tradition of spending much of the summer at the papal villa at Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome, but he did travel to the town July 14 for a Sunday Angelus and Aug. 15 for the feast of the Assumption. The Vatican note on the pope’s 2014 summer schedule did not mention the villa at all. Except when he is in South Korea, it said, he will lead the recitation of the Angelus on Sundays at the Vatican.

After the Vatican published the 2014 summer schedule, some news reports expressed concern about the pope’s health, particularly since he postponed several meetings in early June to rest after his trip to the Holy Land and his prayer for peace meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The reports did not note that the 77-year-old pope’s 2014 summer plans are similar to the schedule he kept last year.

Story posted June 18, 2014.

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