Pope Francis holds Mass in Sumuleu Ciuc, eastern Transylvania.
POPE FRANCIS – On the second day of his visit to Romania, Pope Francis held Mass at the Marian shrine in Sumuleu Ciuc, an area in eastern Transylvania with a mostly Hungarian-speaking minority, the most important Catholic pilgramage site in central and Eastern Europe. The pilgrimage in Sumuleu Ciuc is part of Transilvania’s heritage and honors both Romanian and Hungarian traditions, being a symbol of dialogue, unity and brotherhood, the Pontiff has said. Aroun 85 thousand pilgrims attended the mass. PM Viorica Dancila and Hungarian President Ader Janos were also attending. Also today Pope Francis is travelling to the city of Iasi, in the north-east, home to a large Roman-Catholic community. The Pontiff will visit Sfanta Maria Regina Cathedral and will bless 800 sick and elderly people, will adress the crowds and pray together with all those present. More than 65 thousand people are expected in Iasi. The Pontiff’s visit to Romania comes 20 years after the one of Pope John Paul II, in 1999, which made Romania the first mostly Orthodox country ever visited by a Pope. Pope Francis was welcomed on Friday in Bucharest by President Klaus Iohannis and met with PM Viorica Dancila. He hailed the progress made by Romania in the 30 years since the fall of communism, but pointed out that among the costs of transition were the migration of millions of people and the depopulation of villages. Also, the Pope paid tribute to the sacrifice made by many sons and daughters of Romania who enrich the culture of other countries. The Pontiff visited the recently inaugurated National Cathedral. Patriarch Daniel, the head of the Romanian Orthodox Church, thanked the Catholic Church for the way it supports the Romanian communities in the Diaspora. Also on Friday, Pope Francis held mass at the Roman-Catholic cathedral in Bucharest. On Sunday he will travel to Blaj, in Transylvania, to beatify seven Greek-Catholic bishops who died for their faith in the communist prisons. Also in Blaj, the Pope will meet with representatives of the Roma community in town.
EUROSTAT - In 2018, there were 223 million households in the European Union (EU). Almost one third (65 million) of these households had children living in them, according to a Eurostat report made public on the International Children’s Day. Among the EU Member States, Ireland recorded the highest proportion of households with children (39%), ahead of Cyprus, Poland and Slovakia (all 36%) and Romania (35%). In contrast, the lowest shares were registered in Germany and Finland (both 22%), followed by Sweden (23%), Austria (25%) and Bulgaria (26%). In România there were 7.494 million households and 2.594 millions of them had children living in them. At EU level, almost half of all households with children (47%, or 30.6 million households) consisted of only one child, while 40% of households (25.8 million) had two children, and 13% (8.5 million) three children or more. The highest share of households with three or more children was registered in Ireland (26%), followed by Finland (19%), Belgium and France (both 18%), the Netherlands (17%) and the United Kingdom (16%). At the opposite end of the scale, less than 10% of households in Bulgaria (5%), Portugal (7%), Spain and Italy (both 8%), Lithuania (9%) and Latvia (10%) had three or more children in them.
CAR CRASH - Three Romanians died and four were seriously injured today after their car collided with a track on a motorway in north-eastern France, France Presse reports. The vicitims were taken to the hospital in Reims. Investigators believe that it was the truck that hit the Romanians’ car. Investigations are under way.
BAD WEATHER - Extreme weather has affected 15 counties in Romania, authorities have announced. The worst situation was reported in the county of Prahova, in the south, where 4 children of a family drowned in the floods. Their mother was rescued. Metheorologists have today issued a code yellow and a code orange alert for heavy rain, valid until Sunday morning. Four counties in the north-east are under code orange alerts for torrential rain and flooding. Medium and large-size hail is also expected. In the south and south- east, however, no such phenomena is expected. Maximum temperatures range from 19 to 28 degrees Celsius. The noon reading in Bucharest was 21 degrees.
(Translated by Elena Enache)