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Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Vatican City,  (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.


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The conductor Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra are to play a concert for Benedict XVI. The event will take place on 11 July, St. Benedict's Day, at the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo, and the programme will feature works by Ludwig van Beethoven, whose music will be the focal point of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra's summer tour.

After its opening performance in Munich, Germany, on 10 July the orchestra will take in Versailles, France; Geneva, Switzerland; the BBC Proms in London, England, and the Salzburg Festival in Austria, among other venues. The concert scheduled for Berlin's Waldbuhne on 29 July will be one of the highlights of the "Beethoven for All" summer tour and will again be in aid of educational projects organised by the orchestra in Israel and Palestine.

"Benedict XVI has long promoted active dialogue between Jews, Christians and Muslims", says a communique on the event released today. "In 1999 Barenboim and Edward Said founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, a grouping of musicians from Israel, Palestine, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Iran, Turkey and Spain. Every year they come together for summer workshops, which take their inspiration from the spirit of music and a willingness to engage with the views and experiences of the assembled musicians, each with personal ties to the troubled situation in the Middle East".


Vatican City,  (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Bishop Prakash Mallavarapu of Vijayawada, India, as archbishop of Visakhapatnam (area 25,950, population 12,816,000, Catholics 250,186, priests 154, religious 581), India. He succeeds Archbishop Mariadas Kagithapu M.S.F.S., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Msgr. Jeffrey Marc Monforton of the clergy of the archdiocese of Detroit, U.S.A., pastor of the parish of St. Andrew in Rochester, as bishop of Steubenville (area 15,309, population 538,000, Catholics 38,900, priests 118, permanent deacons 6, religious 100), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Detroit in 1963 and ordained a priest in 1994. He has served in pastoral care in numerous parishes, and has worked as professor and later rector of the Sacred Heart Seminary.

- Erected the new diocese of Batticaloa (area 7,269, population 1,199,966, Catholics 55,225, priests 48, religious 84) Sri Lanka, with territory taken from the diocese of Trincomalee-Batticaloa, making it a suffragan of the metropolitan church of Colombo. He appointed Bishop Joseph Ponniah, auxiliary of Trincomalee-Batticaloa, as first bishop of the new diocese.
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