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MED 23: Pope Francis at the Mediterranean Meetings

September 22 and 23

Pope Francis makes an apostolic journey to Marseille from September 22-23, 2023 to conclude the third edition of the "Mediterranean Meetings".

The initiative arose from the Italian Episcopal Conference in 2020, with the aim of fostering communion between the communities around the Mediterranean and addressing the challenges facing these regions. In 2020, they were held in Bari, Italy, and in 2022, in Florence.

This year in Marseilles, the Mediterranean Meetings have brought together about 70 Catholic Bishops and 120 young people, aged 20 to 35, from all over the Mediterranean. There are also several Muslims and participants of other faiths.

For the Holy Father, the visit offers an occasion to promote fraternity throughout the Mediterranean.

The visit encourages religious leaders to forge their own unique course in their desire to serve the people of an area so dear to Pope Francis.

H. E. Cardinal Jean-Marc Aveline, a longtime friend of our Federation invited Pope Francis to conclude the Mediterranean Meetings 2023.

"For the Pope, the Mediterranean is close to his heart. His first trip 10 years ago was to Lampedusa. For these meetings, we have chosen to highlight four challenges: that of poverty and socio-economic issues, the environmental challenge, the migratory challenge, and finally the challenge of geopolitical tensions often linked to religious factors."

Who is Cardinal Aveline?

Cardinal Jean-Marc Aveline, Metropolitan Archbishop of Marseille (France), was born on 26 December 1958 in Sidi Bel Abbès, diocese of Oran, Algeria. After his secondary studies at the Lycée Thiers in Marseille, in 1977 he entered the Interdiocesan Seminary of Avignon where he attended the first cycle of theology, and then the Séminaire des Carmes in Paris, pursuing his theological studies at the Institut Catholique, where he was awarded a doctorate in theology in 2000. He also holds a licentiate in philosophy from the Université Paris I et Paris IV Sorbonne.

He was ordained a priest on 3 November 1984 for the archdiocese of Marseille.

Since ordination, he has held the following ministerial posts: professor of theology and director of studies at the Inter-Diocesan Seminary in Marseille and member of the pastoral team of the Saint-Marcel parish in Marseille (1986-1991); episcopal vicar for ongoing formation and member of the pastoral team of the Saint-Pierre - Saint-Paul parish in Marseille (1987-2007); head of the Service diocésain des vocations and diocesan delegate for seminarians (1991-1996); founder and director of the Institut de sciences et de théologie des religions in Marseille (ISTR) (1992-2002);. director of the Institut Saint-Jean, which in 1998 became the Institut Catholique de la Méditerranée, associated with the Faculty of Theology of Lyon (1995-2013); and lecturer at the Faculty of Theology of the Université Catholique de Lyon (1997-2007).

During his years at the head of the Institut Catholique de la Méditerranée, he directed an international project of the International Federation of Catholic Universities on intercultural and interreligious dialogue in the Mediterranean.

Since 2007 he has also been vicar general of Marseille.

In addition, from 2008 to 2012 he was a consultor at the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

On 19 December 2013, he was elected to the titular see of Simidicca and appointed auxiliary bishop of Marseille. He received episcopal ordination on 26 January 2014.

On 8 August 2019, the Holy Father Francis appointed him metropolitan archbishop of Marseille, France. He has been created and proclaimed Cardinal by Pope Francis in the consistory of 27 August 2022, of the Title of S. Maria ai Monti

To read: an article by our Secretary General about Pope’s visit: