Itinerary Published for Pope's Benin Trip

Benedict XVI to Present Conclusions of Africa Synod

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VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 28, 2011 ( Benedict XVI will travel to Benin this November to sign the postsynodal exhortation of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops.

The Vatican press office released the itinerary of the Pope’s three-day trip to the West African nation, which marks the second time the Holy Father has traveled to Africa during his Pontificate.

In 2009, he traveled to Cameroon and Angola to present the «instrumentum laboris» for the African synod, which took place later that year.

On Friday, Nov. 18, the Pope will depart Rome in the morning and arrive at 3 p.m. in Benin’s capital, Cotonou. A welcome ceremony will take place at the Cardinal Bernardin Gantin International Airport, at which time the Holy Father will deliver his opening address of the trip.

Benedict XVI will then visit the Cathedral of Cotonou, and deliver his second address.

On Saturday, Nov. 19, the Pope will begin the day by celebrating Mass in private in the Chapel of the Apostolic Nunciature of Cotonou.

At 9 a.m., he will meet with and address the political authorities and representatives of the major religions in Benin at the Presidential Palace of Cotonou. After the address, he will visit the president of the republic, Yayi Boni.

The Pontiff will then travel West down the coast to the city of Ouidah, where at 11:15 a.m. he will visit the tomb of Cardinal Bernardin Gantin in the Chapel of the St. Gall Seminary. He will then address a gathering of priests, seminarians, religious and lay faithful in the courtyard of the seminary.

At 12:15, Benedict XVI will visit the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception of Mary of Ouidah and sign the postsynodal apostolic exhortation of the Africa synod. He will address those present.

Returning to Cotonou, the Pope will visit at 5 p.m. the «Peace and Joy» Foyer of the Missionaries of Charity in St. Rita’s Parish in Cotonou and address the community. He will then meet with the children of St. Rita’s.

At 6:45 p.m., the Holy Father will address a gathering of the bishops of Benin at the Apostolic Nunciature of Cotonou. He will then dine with the bishops.

On Sunday, the Pontiff will begin the day with a 9 a.m. public Mass at «Friendship Stadium,» where he will present the postsynodal exhortation to the bishops. He will deliver the homily.

After the Mass, the Pope will lead those present in the midday Angelus, and deliver a short address.

At midday, Benedict XVI will lunch with members of the Special Council for Africa of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops and with the Papal Entourage in the Apostolic Nunciature of Cotonou.

The Holy Father will depart for Rome from the Cardinal Bernardin Gantin International Airport of Cotonou at 4 p.m., and arrive in Rome at 10 p.m.

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