Churches in Rīga likely to be given cash ahead of Pope's visit

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Riga City Council plans to grant EUR 233,232 to the local Roman Catholic Church as a co-financing to help prepare for the visit of Pope Francis to Latvia in late September this year.

Metropolitan Archbishop of Riga Zbignevs Stankevics asked the city council for financial assistance "in the light of the requirements for hosting the visit and the new circumstances" and despite the considerable wealth at the disposal of the Holy See itself.

The largest amount requested by the church or 188,805 will be spent on renovation of the church properties that will be receiving the top priest: Riga St. Maria Magdalene Catholic Church complex (EUR 156,195) and the St. Jacob's Cathedral (EUR 32,610).

Other expenses related to the Pope's visit and to be financed by the Riga City Council will include catering services, LED screens and sound equipment for the Pope's public appearances.

The city council's Financial and Administrative Committee supported the hefty allocation from the municipal reserves but the final decision will have to be made by the Riga City Council.

As reported, Pope Francis will be visiting the Baltic states on September 22-25. The Pope will be in Latvia on September 24. He is expected to meet with Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis and other Latvian top officials, to participate in a flower-laying ceremony by the Freedom Monument in Riga, to take part in an ecumenical service in the Riga Cathedral and to celebrate a mass in Aglona Basilica in eastern Latvia.

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