Significant Change in Pope's Program

Italian PM to See Off Pope from Rome and South Korean President to Receive Pope at Airport

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Pope Francis’ visit to Korea has not even begun and yet there have already been some surprises.

When departing from Rome’s Fiumicino airport at 4 p.m. the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi will greet and see off the Pope, and also, upon arrival, the South Korean President Park Geun-hye will receive the Pope in the military base airport on Thursday Aug. 14 at 10:30 a.m. local time, reported il Sismografo today.

The South Korean President’s welcoming marks a significant change in the program, as Ms. Park Geun-hye was expected to receive the Holy Father in the presidential palace, in the «Blue House,» which will host the official welcoming ceremony.

The Pope will meet will still meet with authorities at the «Blue House,» followed by the nation’s ruler greeting him, and the Pontiff responding with a discourse, notably, in English.

The Alitalia A330 aircraft that will bring the Pope to Korea is expected to take off at 4 o’clock this afternoon, and is to cover a distance of 8970 kilometers in 11 and a half hours.

Another novelty is that the plane will fly over China for the first time, along with 10 other countries: Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Slovakia, Poland, Belarus, Russia, Mongolia, and South Korea.

In addition to Renzi, the Pope will also be seen off from Rome by the airport district’s bishop, Msgr. Gino Reali, and other authorities.

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