On the second day of his visit to Romania, Pope Francis travelled to Sumuleu Ciuc and Iasi.
POPE FRANCIS - On Saturday, the second day of his visit to Romania, Pope Francis said at a meeting with young people and families held in Iasi, in the north-east, a city that is home to a large Catholic community, that in the presence of the people at the meeting he felt ”the warmth of being part of a family.” ”Romania is Virgin Mary’s garden and I could understand this better at this meeting, because she is a Mother that inspires the dreams of her children, guards their hopes and brings joy into their homes,” the Pontiff said. Pope Francis visited the Our Lady Queen Cathedral in Iasi, blessed 800 elderly and sick people and prayed with all those present for the young people and for families. Around 150 thousand pilgrims attended the ceremonies. Previously on Saturday, 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 pilgrimage site in central and Eastern Europe. The pilgrimage in Sumuleu Ciuc is part of Transylvania’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. 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. On Sunday the Pontiff travels to Blaj, in Transylvania, to beatify seven Greek-Catholic bishops who died for their faith in the communist prisons.
WEATHER - Romanian meteorologists have warned against heavy rainfall, strong wind and hail expected across the entire country from Sunday until Tuesday morning. Hydrologists have issued a code orange alert for flooding valid for 22 rivers in several regions of the country. The bad weather of the past few days has seriously affected dozens of localities in Romania, with the most serious situation being reported in Prahova county, in the south, where three of the four children of a family drowned in the floods while a fourth child is missing. The children’s mother has been rescued. Around 11 thousand firefighters, policemen and gendarmes are dispatched in the areas affected by the bad weather.
ACCIDENT - The Romanian Foreign Ministry has confimed the death of three Romanian citizens in a car acccident on a motorway in north-eastern France on Saturday. Another four Romanians have been injured and taken to the hospital in Reims. According to investigators, the car transporting the Romanians was hit by a truck. Romania’s Embassy in Paris is trying to find out the identity of the victims and the circumstances of the accident and is ready to offer assistance.
TENNIS - Defending champion Simona Halep on Saturday beat Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko 6-2 6-1 in the third round of the French Open. In the fourth round the Romanian will be up against Iga Swiatek of Poland (104 WTA). Also on Saturday, Romanian Horia Tecau and his teammate Jean Julien Rojer of the Netherlands made it to the quarterfinals of the men’s doubles, after defeating the American brothers Mike and Bob Bryan, 6-3, 7-6. (Translated by Elena Enache)