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First Trip Outside of Rome for Pope Francis

(from Mailonline)
The Pope’s first trip overseas will be to the island of Lampedusa, a decision seen as the latest example of his change in style from his predecessor.
Pope Francis will visit the Mediterranean island, the landing point for thousands of migrants into Europe next Monday, the Vatican announced today.
The Pontiff has been profoundly touched by a recent fatal shipwreck off the island of a boat carrying migrants from Africa, a Vatican statement said.
Lampedusa is technically part of Italy but just 80 miles from Tunisia, is the gateway for thousands seeking new lives in Europe.
Tens of thousands have made the crossing in recent years, many on overcrowded and dangerous wooden boats. Many die attempting the crossing.
The surprise announcement came days after the island was besieged by new arrivals. Calm seas off the coast of Libya for the first time in months had encouraged the departure of dozens of boats.
A week ago Lampedusa’s population of 6,000 exploded overnight stretching its resources to the limit.
The Pope’s first trip overseas was scheduled to be to Brazil later on this month.
But in May the island’s mayor invited him to visit, sending him, as a gift, a cross made from the wooden boats of migrants.

Article posted on 4th of July 2013

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