It was recently confirmed that Pope Francis is set to visit Hungary on an Apostolic Journey. Pope Francis’ visit will last for three days between 28–30 April 2023 and he is expected to meet with refugees and people living in poverty in Budapest. It will be the Pope’s 41st journey abroad, and only the second time he is coming to Hungary.
Pope Francis visited our nation in September 2021 too, stopping by on his way to Slovakia while celebrating the mass closing the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress. On his 2021 stop in Hungary, Pope Francis spent only 7 hours in the country’s capital, discussing the protection and promotion of families with Hungarian dignitaries including Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and then-President Áder János. Pope Francis has also celebrated mass in Csíksomlyó in Transylvania, Romania in the past, which is a popular pilgrimage site for Hungarians.
A number of Hungarian dignitaries have welcomed the Vatican’s announcement about the Pope’s upcoming trip to Hungary, including President of the Republic Katalin Novák and Cardinal Péter Erdő. The Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest also said that the Pope’s visit will be a great joy for the country. He told Vatican News that His Holiness’ visit has been desired for many years. Now, as it is in fact happening, it brings immense joy to the faithful community of Hungarian Catholics. He went on to highlight the fact that,
while during his previous visit, Pope Francis attended an international event where representatives of over 80 countries were present, now the Pope is coming to Budapest to exclusively speak to the Hungarian people.
The Pope’s visit to refugees in Hungary is significant as many of them fleeing from Ukraine have recently marked the first-year anniversary of the invasion of their country. Around 1 million refugees arrived in Hungary in the past year, 10–15 per cent of which have been staying in the country since. Hungarian Christian communities, including Catholics, were quick to react to the wave of asylum seekers by offering support, aid, and assistance to the ones in need.
Last April, after the general elections, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán invited the Pope to Hungary in person. The invitation was renewed in August 2022 by President Katalin Novák. Earlier this week, while announcing the papal visit, István Simicskó of the Christian Democratic People’s Party said that the Pope is coming to Hungary in April to promote peace.