Pope Francis to Offer Mass in Venice’s St. Mark’s Square

The papal day trip will be Sunday, April 28, the Vatican announced.

View of Venice, Italy, including St. Mark’s Square
View of Venice, Italy, including St. Mark’s Square (photo: Unsplash)

Pope Francis will travel by motorboat along Venice’s canals and offer Mass in St. Mark’s Square during his visit to the “floating city,” the Vatican announced Monday.

The Holy See Press Office has released the schedule for the Pope’s upcoming day trip to Venice — the Pope’s only scheduled trip so far in 2024.

Pope Francis will preside over a public Mass in St. Mark’s Square at 11 a.m. on Sunday, April 28, as he visits the Vatican pavilion at the Venice Biennale art exhibition

The 87-year-old Pope will travel by helicopter from Vatican City to Venice in under two hours and will land on Giudecca Island, home to Venice’s women’s prison.

The Pope’s first meeting will be with inmates in the prison, where he will also tour the Vatican art exhibit being displayed there and meet with the featured artists. 

Pope Francis will then travel by motorboat from Giudecca Island to Venice’s Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute, a place of pilgrimage in the city built in thanksgiving to the Virgin Mary for saving Venice from the terrible plague of 1630. 

The Pope will give a speech to young people from dioceses throughout Italy’s northern Veneto region in the piazza in front of the basilica before crossing a bridge over the Grand Canal to arrive at St. Mark’s Square.

After the Mass, Pope Francis will privately venerate the relics of St. Mark the Evangelist inside the basilica. He will leave St. Mark’s Square via motorboat to arrive at a heliport on Sant’Elena Island, where he will depart by helicopter at 1 p.m., after having spent only five hours in Venice.

Pope Francis will be the first pope to visit the prestigious Venice Biennale art exhibition, which will be open to the public from April 20 to Nov. 24.

The Vatican has participated in the Art Biennale since 2013. The first Holy See Pavilion was commissioned by Pope Benedict XVI, who also visited Venice in 2011 and traveled across the Grand Canal in the same gondola as Pope John Paul II did in 1985.

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