Pope braves rain-soaked mountain roads for Transylvania Mass

MIERCUREA CIUC, Romania (AP) — Pope Francis braved a rain-soaked, twisting pressure through the mountains of Transylvania on Saturday to visit Romania’s most made shrine, urging Romanian and ethnic Hungarian devoted to working collectively for their future.

Storms pressured Francis to alternate his travel plans and upload in a 3-hour vehicle ride through the Carpathian mountains that he had planned to traverse through helicopter. The constant rains doused the envisioned eighty,000-a hundred,000 folks who collected for the Mass on the Sumuleu Ciuc shrine, which is devoted to the Virgin Mary.

The showers permit up as Francis arrived and he made a brief run thru the poncho-clad crowds in his popemobile. But the 82-12 months-antique appeared unsteady after the lengthy ride and held onto the arms of aides as he negotiated a dust-slicked course to get to the altar for Mass.

In his homily, Francis praised the multicultural and multilingual tapestry that makes up Romania and advised its human beings to put aside beyond divisions for the sake of “travelling collectively.”

The rights of round 1.2 million ethnic Hungarians who stay in Romania had been at the centre of political disputes between the two countries for decades. Hungary lost Transylvania in the peace treaties after World War I yet the place stays closely Hungarian in both subculture and language.

Those tensions are regularly pondered in the uneasy relationship among the predominantly Hungarian Roman Catholic network and the Romanian-speaking Greek-Catholic groups. The two rites make up Romania’s Catholic minority in the overwhelmingly Orthodox united states of America.

“Complicated and sorrow-crammed conditions from the past need not to be forgotten or denied, but neither must they be an impediment or an excuse standing in the manner of our choice to stay together as brothers and sisters,” Francis stated.

The Pope introduced the homily in Italian, and it was translated into Romanian and Hungarian.

After Mass, with the climate improved, Francis turned into able to fly by using helicopter lower back to the airport for a flight to any other nook of Romania, the university town of Iasi inside the northeast. There he had an appointment with younger Romanians and their families.

“It is a joy, it’s miles a joy,” stated 71-year old Elisabeta Balan, the mom of eleven kids who became among the ones selected to cope with the pope in Iasi. “We are very happy that he is available in Iasi and for this event, we succeeded in bringing our big family collectively.”

Francis changed into journeying throughout Romania to go to its a ways-flung Catholic groups. His ride aimed to make up for the reality that St. John Paul II become simplest allowed to visit the capital, Bucharest, in 1999 within the first papal visit to a majority Orthodox country.

On Sunday, Francis travels to the Greek-Catholic stronghold of Blaj to satisfy with people from the deprived Roma minority. He also plans to beatify seven bishops who were martyred at some point of a brutal length of communist persecution in Romania, then go back to Rome.

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Olimpiu Gheorghiu contributed from Iasi, Romania. Winfield suggested from Rome.

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