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Friday, July 4, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 4 JUL 2008 (VIS) - Benedict XVI will make an apostolic trip to France from 12 to 15 September, for the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Lourdes.

  The Holy Father will depart from Rome's Fiumicino airport at 9 a.m. on Friday 12 September, landing at Orly airport in Paris two hours later. The welcome ceremony and courtesy visit to Nicolas Sarkozy, president of France, will he held in the Elysee Palace at 12.25 p.m., followed by a meeting with the authorities of State to whom the Pope will pronounce a discourse. At 5 p.m. he is due to meet with delegates from the local Jewish community at the apostolic nunciature in Paris, after which he will travel to the city's College des Bernardins where he will encounter representatives from the world of culture. At 5 p.m. he will preside at Vespers in the cathedral of Notre-Dame with priests, religious, seminarians and deacons, and greet young people gathered in front of the building.

  On Saturday 13 September, the Holy Father will make a brief visit to the Institut de France before going on to celebrate Mass at 10 a.m. on the Esplanade des Invalides. At 4.30 p.m. he is scheduled to travel by plane to Lourdes where, at 6.30 p.m., he will visit the church of the Sacred Heart and the Cachot (house of the Soubirous family), then proceed to the Grotto. At 9.30 p.m. he is due to close the torchlight Marian procession on the esplanade of the Shrine of Lourdes.

  On Sunday 14 September, on the Meadow in Lourdes, Benedict XVI will celebrate Mass for the 150th anniversary of the apparitions, then pray the Angelus. At 5.15 p.m. he is due to meet with French bishops in the Hemicycle Sainte-Bernadette and, an hour later, to address participants in a Eucharistic procession on the Meadow.

  At 8.45 a.m. on Monday 15 September the Pope will visit the Oratory of the Hospital in Lourdes, then celebrate Mass for the sick in the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary. The departure ceremony is due to take place at 12.30 p.m. in the airport of Tarbes-Lourdes-Pyrenees and the Pope's plane is scheduled to arrive at Rome's Ciampino airport at 5.15. p.m.
OP/PROGRAMME TRIP FRANCE/...                    VIS 20080704 (390)

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