LISBON, Portugal, MAY 11, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Thousands lined the streets of Lisbon today to shout “Long live the Pope” as Benedict XVI arrived in Portugal, on his 15th international apostolic journey.
After a brief welcoming ceremony at the Portela airport, he went to the apostolic nunciature. The Pontiff traveled in the popemobile, accompanied by the patriarch of Lisbon, Cardinal José da Cruz Policarpo, and his personal secretary, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein.
After a brief rest in the nunciature, where he would return to dine, Benedict XVI went in a closed car to the complex which includes the Jerónimos Monastery and the Tower of Belem. There, he was awaited by the president of Portugal, Aníbal Cavaco Silva, for the official welcome.
After the welcome ceremony, the Pontiff entered the monastery for a few moments accompanied by Cardinal Policarpo, and paused to pray before the Blessed Sacrament in the ancient Church of Santa Maria de Belem.
After the brief visit, Benedict XVI and his entourage went to the Palace of Belem, the presidential residence, to meet with Cavaco Silva, his wife and their children, with their respective spouses and children.
The Pope and the president held a private conversation and then appeared on one of the balconies to greet the members of the presidential household, gathered in the courtyard. Benedict XVI addressed them, thanking them for their work.
“May the good Lord in heaven bless you and strengthen you with his grace and his light,” the Holy Father told them, “so that, through the consideration that you show to one another in your workplace and through your solicitude for the common good which you serve, you may foster in this centenary of the Portuguese Republic a more just society and a better future for all.”