The Transylvanian town of Sepsiszentgyörgy/Sfântu Gheorghe offers free lodging, tea and larded bread for 2,000 pilgrims arriving for the visit of Pope Francis at the beginning of June, mayor Árpád Antal announced at a press conference.
During his Romanian stay, Pope Francis will also visit the Catholic pilgrimage site of Csíksomlyó/Şumuleu Ciuc, the first time a pope visits Transylvania. The pilgrimage site is some 66 kilometers (41 miles) north of Sepsiszentgyörgy and there will almost certainly be takers for the offer as commercial lodging during the papal visit is likely to prove insufficient – hence the mayor’s offer.
Antal said the municipality has will offer lodging at the sports hall – which is city property – and school gymnasiums.
“I would for Transylvanian people to see this as an opportunity to prove our hospitality and realize that offering help is a more rewarding experience than short-term profits”, Antal said. “It would be an even greater success story if local residents would also extend this offer to pilgrims as on the occasion of the papal visit we could show the real face of Transylvania even to those unwilling to see it.”