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Egypt’s attacks won’t stop pope’s visit for peace, says Vatican official

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Despite recent and repeated terrorist attacks against Egypt’s minority Christian communities, Pope Francis will not cancel his visit to Egypt.

Mourners attend the April 10 funeral for victims of a bomb attack the previous day at the Orthodox Church of St. George in Tanta, Egypt. That same day, April 9, an explosion went off outside the Cathedral of St. Mark in Alexandria, where Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II was presiding over the Palm Sunday service. (CNS photo/Mohamed Hossam, EPA) See EGYPT-CHURCHES-REACTION April 10, 2017.

“The pope’s trip to Egypt proceeds as scheduled,” Greg Burke, Vatican spokesman, told Catholic News Service by email April 10. The pope is scheduled to meet governmental and interfaith leaders during an April 28-29 visit to Cairo.

“Egyptians are looking forward to Pope Francis’ visit, although the atmosphere at present is heavy,” Father Rafic Grieche, spokesman for the Egyptian bishops, told CNS April 10, the day after the attacks.

“The pope’s mission is to be beside his brothers at the time of difficulty. Now is the real time that he can bring peace and hope to the Egyptian people as a whole and to the Christians of the East, in particular,” Father Grieche added.

He said people were uneasy entering churches with metal detectors and other security measures.

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