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Pope schedules back-to-back trips to Naples area

VATICAN CITY Pope Francis is planning rare back-to-back trips to the city of Caserta near Naples, one official and one private.

The Vatican said Thursday that the pope will hold an open-air Mass on Saturday July 26 to celebrate the city of Caserta's patron St. Anne. He returns two days later for a private meeting with a Protestant pastor who is a longtime friend.

Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the pope organized a return trip "to distinguish" the public event from the private meeting. Lombardi said Francis knows the pastor, Giovanni Traettino, from ecumenical gatherings in Buenos Aires.

Francis is scheduled to deliver the traditional Angelus blessing in St. Peter's Square on Sunday — a regular appointment with the faithful.

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