Pontiff's Program for Africa Trip

Will Visit Cameroon and Angola

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 26, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI will focus on the preparation of the special synod for Africa, relations with Islam and the promotion of the woman during his 7-day trip to Africa in March, reports the Vatican.

The press office of the Holy See released the Pope’s official program for his apostolic trip to Cameroon and Angola, which will take place March 17-23.

The Pontiff will depart from Rome’s Fiumicino airport the morning of Tuesday, March 17, and arrive at 4 p.m. in Yaounde, Cameroon. Government officials will greet him.

On Wednesday, March 18, the Holy Father will make a courtesy visit to the President Paul Biya of Cameroon at Unity Palace in Yaounde.

That same day Benedict XVI will meet with the country’s bishops at the Church of Christ the King in Tsinga, then celebrate vespers with local clergy and with representatives of ecclesial movements and of other Christian confessions in the Basilica of Mary Queen of the Apostles.

On Thursday, March 19, the Pope will meet with Muslim leaders of Cameroon at the apostolic nunciature.

At 10 a.m. he will celebrate Mass at Yaounde’s Amadou Ahidjo stadium, which will mark the publication of the “instrumentum laboris” of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops.

At 4:30 p.m. the Pope will meet with sick people in the Cardinal Paul Emile Leger Centre. Later he will pronounce an address before members of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops.

Political leaders

On Friday, March 20, the Pontiff will travel from Yaounde to the Angolan capital Luanda where he is due to arrive at 12:45 p.m.

Following the welcome ceremony at the airport, Benedict XVI will visit Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos at the presidential palace in Luanda. At 5:45 p.m. he will deliver an address to political leaders and the diplomatic corps.

At 7 p.m. the Pope will meet with bishops of Angola and Santo Tome in the chapel of the apostolic nunciature in Luanda.

The morning of Saturday, March 21, the Pontiff will celebrate Mass at St. Paul’s in Luanda. At 4:30 p.m. he will meet with young people at Coquieros Stadium.

On Sunday, March 22, the Holy Father will celebrate Mass with bishops of IMBISA (Inter-Regional Meeting of the Bishops of Southern Africa) at Cimangola. That afternoon in the parish of St. Anthony in Luanda he will meet with Catholic movements that work for the promotion of women.

Benedict XVI will depart from Luanda for Rome on Monday, March 23.

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