VATICAN CITY – Every afternoon that Pope Francis returns to the apostolic nuncio’s office (Nunciature) in Bogota during his Sept. 6-10 visit to Colombia, groups of religious and civil society will greet him with singing and gift exchanges, as if this were one of the papal audiences held every Wednesday at St. Peter’s in Rome.
The Apostolic Nunciature in the Teusaquillo district will thus become a small “St. Peter’s Square” where Francis will greet and bless a number of organizations and will undoubtedly address some inspiring words to them.
After the welcoming ceremony at Bogota’s El Dorado International Airport, Pope Francis will be taken to the Apostolic Nunciature, which will be his residence in the capital and where a team of 10 will serve the pontifical delegation and treat them to typical Colombian delicacies.
For this improvised “St. Peter’s Square” it has been necessary to install a small box seat and an area for the press outside the nuncio’s office.
At his first audience in Bogota, Francis will receive members of the District Institute for the Protection of Childhood and Youth (Idipron), some of whose youngsters will intone their hymns.
Also present will be members of the Families of Mercy (Famis), a group of Catholic laity and priests dedicated to helping the needy.
On that occasion, Francis will receive a “ruana,” a Colombian poncho, which the youths of Idipron have personally woven for him.
On the pope’s second day in Colombia, to be spent entirely in the capital, Francis will meet with members of the Crecer organization, the Missionaries of the Redemption Foundation (Fundmir), the Special Education Research & Development Foundation (Fides) and the Aspaen organization.
Also there to greet the pope will be senior citizens from the gerontological home of the John Paul II Charity Foundation, as well as members of Retirees of Emmaus.
Singing to the pontiff on that day will be a chorus of 50 university students and graduates, instrumentally accompanied by the six blind young people who make up the Vos pro Vos group. Also joining in will be 10 deaf-and-dumb youths using sign language.
On Friday, after returning from Villavicencio, the Argentine pope will meet with organizations related to “reconciliation” in a country scarred by internal conflicts: the Visible Victims Foundation and Roads of Hope, founded in 1999 as a response to the numerous kidnappings and homicides scourging Colombia.
A nest of storks will be given Pope Francis symbolizing that “in the midst of misery, life miraculously begins anew,” a comment on Colombia’s past and present misery and its impending rebirth.