Cardinal Péter Erdő, the head of the Hungarian Catholic Church, has announced that a pilgrimage of Hungarians to the Vatican will take place in April next year.
Cardinal Erdő headed a delegation to meet Pope Francis at a private audience in Vatican City on Monday. The delegation also included Bishop András Veres, President of the Hungarian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, and Greek Catholic Metropolitan Fülöp Kocsis. Cardinal Erdő said they expressed thanks to the pontiff for the visit he had paid to Hungary at the end of April this year. Pope Francis’ visit was “a matter for the whole of Hungary”, he said, adding that it had given the entire Catholic community new impetus and strength. The cardinal said the pope welcomed that his visit had made a lasting impact on Hungarian society and education. He said they had told the pontiff about a planned pilgrimage of Hungarians to the Vatican next April with the aim to jointly express thanks to him. Erdő said Pope Francis had noted his latest meeting with President Katalin Novák in August, pointing out that they were thinking along the same lines about the values of the family and the demographic problems. Bishop Veres said the pope had highlighted the important role Hungary could play due to its geopolitical location in serving as “a bridge” between the East and West not only politically but in terms of religion as well. Hungary, the pope said, had always been regarded as a meeting point between people and cultures, Veres added. He said they also discussed the situation of Ukrainian refugees coming to Hungary on a daily basis, noting the Hungarian church’s support for the education of Ukrainian children. They also discussed the humanitarian aid extended to eastern Ukraine where a large Hungarian community lives and to which region many Ukrainians moved from the country’s western region.