Latvia makes day of Pope visit a holiday

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On June 21 the Latvian parliament supported making September 24, 2018 a holiday. It's the day the head of the Roman Catholic church, Pope Francis is visiting the country. 

The amendments were supported by 68 MPs, five voted against and two 'abstained'. The expedited bill was adopted in the first, and second (final) readings in one day.

Economic concerns prompted the Economics Ministry to suggest that employers not MPs decide over adding holidays. It's estimated a single holiday sets back the state budget back €8 million. 

During the visit, it is planned that the Pope will take part in an ecumenical service at the Riga Dome Church, as well as celebrate Holy Mass at Aglona Basilica in the eastern Latgale region.

The visit will be part of a tour of the Baltic States that will take place from 22 to 25 September, during which time he will also visit Vilnius and Kaunas in Lithuania and Tallinn in Estonia.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II's visit to Latvia.

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