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Lebanon: Pope Benedict XVI to meet Muslim religious leaders Sept 14-16, 2012

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Benedict XVI’s visit to the heart of the Middle East from 14 to 16 September is going to be of crucial importance
Vatican Insider Staff

Benedict XVI will meet leaders of Muslim communities and then give an important speech to Lebanese members of government, the Republic’s institutions, the diplomatic corps, religious leaders and cultural representatives. In Lebanon there is currently a peaceful co-existence – regulated by customs and agreements – among the various ethnicities. The Vatican Press Office announced this today, publishing the schedule for Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic visit to Lebanon, which will take place between 14 and 16 September.

The Pope’s visit to Lebanon between 14 and 16 September is vital for the situation in the Middle East. Above all, it will be an opportunity to sign the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, which took place in the Vatican in October 2010.

The schedule is as follows:

The Pope will leave Rome’s Ciampino airport at 9:30 on 14 September and will arrive at Rafiq Hariri airport at 13:45 local time. After the welcome ceremony, he will move on to Harissa to visit Saint Paul’s Basilica, where he will sign the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation.

On Saturday 15 September, at 10:00, in the Presidential Palace in Baabda, Benedict XVI will pay a courtesy visit to the President of the Lebanese Republic, the President of the Parliament and the President of the Council of Ministers. He will then attend a meeting with the leaders of Muslim religious Communities. Finally, the Pope will give a speech before members of Government, the Republic’s institutions, the diplomatic corps, religious leaders and cultural representatives.

On Saturday at 13:00 the Pope will go to the Armenian Catholic Patriarchate of Bzommar where he will lunch with the Patriarchs and Bishops of Lebanon, members of the Special Council for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops and the papal entourage. At 18:00, the Pope will give a speech to young people who will gather in the square in front of the Maronite Patriarchate of Bkerké.

On Sunday 16 September at 10:00, the Holy Father will celebrate Holy Mass in the Beirut City Center Waterfront and will deliver the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation for the Middle East. After the recital of the Angelus, Benedict XVI will attend a lunch with members of the papal entourage at the Apostolic Nunciature in Harissa. At 17:15, Benedict XVI will preside over an ecumenical meeting in the Syro-Catholic Patriarchate in Charfet, after which he will set off for Beirut airport, where he will catch his flight back to Rome at 19:00.

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