Program Readied for Papal Fatima Trip

Benedict XVI Heads to Portugal in May

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LISBON, Portugal, DEC. 10, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The program for Benedict XVI’s May 11-14 trip to Portugal has been confirmed, with visits to Lisbon, Fatima and Porto.

The program of the visit was announced on Monday in Lisbon by Bishop Carlos Azevedo, coordinator-general of the papal visit.
 
According to the program, on May 11, the Holy Father will arrive in Lisbon. At 12:45 p.m. there will be a welcome ceremony in the Portuguese capital, followed by a courtesy visit to the president.

At 6:15 p.m., the Pope will preside over Mass in Lisbon, but the venue is yet to be determined.
 
Bishop Azevedo, who is president of the bishops’ Commission for Social Pastoral Ministry, said that, during the Mass, the Pope will deliver “a fundamental message for this period in which we are living, which is the challenge of sanctity.” Sanctity will be the theme of the visit to Lisbon.
 
At 10 a.m. on May 12, the Pontiff will meet with representatives of the world of culture. At noon he will meet with the Brazilian prime minister in the apostolic nunciature.
 
At 4:40 p.m. he will leave by helicopter for Fatima. There, he will visit the Chapel of the Apparitions in the shrine, and then preside over 6 p.m. vespers with priests, religious, seminarians and deacons in the church of the Most Holy Trinity. At 9:30 p.m. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope’s secretary of state, will preside over the recitation of the rosary and the torch procession.
 
At 10 a.m. on May 13, Benedict XVI will preside over a Mass at the shrine. After Mass, he will visit the shrine’s basilica, where the Fatima visionaries, Francisco and Jacinta Marto and Lucia Dos Santos, are buried.
 
At 1 p.m. the Pope will dine with the bishops of Portugal and at 5 p.m., he will meet with representatives of charity organizations. At 6:45 p.m., he will meet with the Portuguese bishops in the House of Our Lady of Carmen, at the shrine.

On the last day of his Portugal visit, he will bid farewell to Fatima and head to Porto, where he will celebrate a 10:15 a.m. Mass.

He will return to Rome at 1:30 that afternoon.

Each of the stops will center around a diverse theme. In Lisbon: “Sanctity and Evangelization”; in Fatima: “To Share with Joy”; and in Porto: “Church and Mission.”

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