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Pope plans first trip outside Rome since start of pandemic

Pope plans first trip outside Rome since start of pandemic
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Pope FrancisPope FrancisChina dismisses pope's comments about 'persecuted' Uighurs Pope Francis supports NBA players' work to promote social justice Pope Francis in new book criticizes anti-lockdown protesters MORE is planning his first trip outside of Rome since the coronavirus pandemic began earlier this year, with the pontiff set to travel north to the town of Assisi next month.

The Holy See press office announced that the pope would travel to Assisi on Oct. 3, one day before the Feast of St. Francis, who was born in a small town near the center of Italy.

A spokesman for the Assisi Basilica confirmed Saturday that Francis would sign a new encyclical during his trip to the area, Reuters reported.

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The encyclical is the most distinguished form of papal literature and is expected to highlight what Francis thinks the world should look like post-pandemic.

The encyclical will be titled "Brothers All..." and comes after the pontiff last month urged followers to acknowledge how "the pandemic has revealed how vulnerable and interconnected we all are."

"The visit will take place in private, without the participation of the faithful," Father Enzo Fortunato said in a statement about Francis's trip, according to Reuters.

This week, the pontiff held the first weekly general audience in public for the first time in six months, showing signs of some return to normalcy at the Vatican following its coronavirus lockdown.