(Source: CD/Vatican News)

Pope Francis will visit the Italian town of Assisi on October 3 to sign a new encyclical.

In a statement released on Saturday, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, said the encyclical is entitled Fratelli tutti or “All brothers,” “on fraternity and social friendship.”

The title, whose official English-language version has not yet been released, is a reference to the writings of St. Francis: “Let us all, brothers, consider the Good Shepherd who to save His sheep bore the suffering of the Cross” (Admonitions, 6, 1: FF155).

The Holy Father will arrive in Assisi in the afternoon, where he will celebrate Holy Mass at the Tomb of St. Francis. The Mass will be followed by the signing of the encyclical.

The visit will take place in private, without the participation of the faithful. As soon as the encyclical signing has been completed, the Pope will return to the Vatican.

Bishop of Assisi: Pope’s gesture “gives us new courage and strength to ‘restart'”

In a statement, the Bishop of Assisi, Domenico Sorrentino, said the town awaits the Pope’s visit with “emotion and gratitude”.

He went on to say, “While the world is suffering a pandemic that makes so many peoples lives difficult, and makes us feel for brothers in pain, we cannot but feel the need to become above all brothers in love.”

“This gesture of Pope Francis,” concluded the bishop, “gives us new courage and strength to ‘restart’ in the name of the fraternity that unites us all.”

A pontificate given over to promoting brotherly and sisterly love

The title of the Pope’s new encyclical recalls a central theme of his magisterium. On the evening of his election to the papacy on 13 March 2013, Pope Francis first greeted the world with the word “brothers”.

The theme of fraternity is also present in his constant embrace of migrants, epitomised in his pastoral visit to Lampedusa. 

His signing of the Document on Human Fraternity in Abu Dhabi in 2019 marks one more example of Pope Francis’ dedication to promoting brotherly and sisterly love.

Gratitude to healthcare workers “making sacrifices to assist the sick”: “May God repay you for your dedication!”

Also this Saturday, Pope Francis met with a delegation from “We Run Together”, an online fundraising initiative launched on June 8 to help provide financial support for two hospitals in the north of Italy.

The John XXIII Hospital in Bergamo and the Policlinic Foundation in Brescia have been working to provide quality care to patients with COVID-19 in areas that were hard-hit in the early days of the pandemic.

Set up by the Vatican Athletic Association, “We Run Together” concluded on August 6 and was organised in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Culture, the “Yellow Flames” of Italy’s Financial Police and the Italian Federation of Light Athletics (FIDAL) of the Lazio Region.

“Opening the doors of one’s house means opening one’s heart”

The Pope began his greetings by thanking a hospital staff member representing the two institutions which benefited from the charity event.

“In greeting you, I greet all of your colleagues in Italy and around the world, who are working and making sacrifices to assist the sick,” said the Pope. “May God repay you for your dedication!”

Francis also thanked the numerous athletes from across the globe who donated sporting goods to be sold in the auction.

Items donated included a bicycle donated by cycling champion Peter Sagan and a shirt which Alex Zanardi wore at the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

“It gave me great joy to know that several athletes even opened the doors of their homes to experience the joy of a direct encounter,” he added. “Opening the doors of one’s house means opening one’s heart.”

The “We Run Together” initiative, said the Pope, provided an opportunity for “athletic champions and other champions with disabilities” to meet together on the “same plane of human dignity.”

Sport that heals wounds

He said the most eloquent message offered by the fundraiser was its witness to a type of sport “that is inclusive, fraternal, and able to heal wounds, build bridges, and friendship.”

“True sport,” noted the Pope, “always maintains an amateur dimension… It is free.”

Pope Francis concluded his greetings by commending members of Vatican Athletics for promoting this model of sport.

“With God’s help,” he said, “we run together for fraternity and human dignity.”

More on Novena on the Pope’s magisterium of human fraternity:

New encyclical on need for “human and ecological conversion”, “human fraternity” to drop in weeks: report

Pope pleads: “Stop using religions to incite hatred, violence, extremism and blind fanaticism”

“Nobody looks anybody in the eye anymore”: Francis laments loss of human connection to “frenetic race of time”

Pope renews call to religions “to say ‘no’ to violence and together promote peace, life, and religious freedom”


PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.