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


  • 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)
  • Security personnel investigate the scene of an April 9 bomb explosion outside the Cathedral of St. Mark in Alexandria, Egypt. That same day an explosion went off inside the Orthodox Church of St. George in Tanta, during the Palm Sunday service. (CNS photo/EPA)
  • 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. Also 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)
  • Security personnel investigate the scene of a bomb explosion on April 9 inside the Orthodox Church of St. George in Tanta, Egypt. That same day 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/Khaled Elfiqi, EPA)
  • Security personnel investigate the scene of a bomb explosion April 9 inside the Orthodox Church of St. George in Tanta, Egypt. That same day 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/Khaled Elfiqi, EPA)

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

"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.

"It's not like going to a normal church. But we need these measures to keep people safe," he said.

He said after the attack, he celebrated a Mass with 2,000 people.

"The people knew already about the attack in Tanta, but they did not want to be afraid. In the evening, they also came for the prayers of the Holy Week," Father Grieche said.

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