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Donations wanted Pope’s visit to cause CHF1 million deficit

The then Swiss president (left) met Pope Francis in 2016 in the Vatican

The then Swiss president, Johann Schneider-Ammann (left) met Pope Francis at the Vatican in 2016

(Keystone)

Pope Francis’s visit to Geneva on Thursday will result in a loss of CHF1 million ($1 million) for the diocese of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg, despite promised donations.

Swiss public television, RTS, reported on Fridayexternal link that the extra costs surrounding the papal visitexternal link would amount to CHF2.2 million. This includes security, the hiring of the Palexpo venue near the airport and the infrastructure. The diocese – which only heard about the visit in March so had not factored it into its budget – will have to cover the bill.

The pope is expected to celebrate Mass at the Palexpo as well as meet the Swiss president in Geneva.

The diocese has so far only officially received CHF300,000. Another CHF1 million has been promised in donations. This means there is a deficient of almost CHF1 million.

However, the diocese has taken heart from various volunteer work, RTS reported. This includes some Geneva carpenters who have built the high altar, from which Pope Francis will celebrate Mass, for free. It will then be donated to a religious community in canton Valais.

Earlier this month the diocese launched an appeal for donationsexternal link to finance the Papal Mass, for which the 41,000 places are already takenexternal link.

Security is high for the visit, with airspace restrictions already announced.

The most recent papal visit to Switzerland was in 2004, when Pope John Paul II came to Bern.

+ Read more about why the pope is coming to Geneva here

RTS/ilj

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