Vatican City, 3 July 2012 (VIS) - Benedict XVI is to make an apostolic trip to Lebanon from 14 to 16 September in order 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 Holy Father will depart from Ciampino airport in Rome at 9.30 a.m. on Friday 14 September and land at the Rafik Hariri international airport in Beirut at 1.45 p.m. local time. Following the welcome ceremony he will travel to Harissa where he will visit the basilica of St. Paul and sign the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation.
At 10 a.m. on Saturday 15 September the Pope will travel to the presidential palace at Baabda where he will pay a courtesy visit to the president of Lebanon, as well as to the prime minister and the speaker of the parliament. He will then meet with the heads of Muslim communities before going on to pronounce an address before representatives from government, State institutions, the diplomatic corps, religious leaders and the world of culture.
On the same day the Pope will have lunch at the Armenian Catholic Patriarchate of Bzommar with patriarchs and bishops of Lebanon, members of the Special Council for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, and the papal entourage. At 6 p.m. he is scheduled to deliver an address to young people gathered on the square in front of the Maronite Patriarchate at Bkerke.At 10 a.m. on Sunday 16 September the Holy Father will celebrate Mass at Beirut City Centre Waterfront and consign the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation. Having prayed the Angelus he will then travel by car to the apostolic nunciature at Harissa where he will have lunch with members of his entourage. At 5.15 p.m. he is due to preside at an ecumenical gathering in the Syro-Catholic Patriarchate of Charfet. From there he will travel directly to the airport of Beirut whence his return flight to Rome is due to depart at 7 p.m.