Papal Trip to U.S. Confirmed for April '08

Pontiff to Stop in Washington and New York

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BALTIMORE, Maryland, NOV. 12, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The dates for Benedict XVI's upcoming trip to the United States were confirmed today; the Pope's visit is scheduled for April 15-20.



Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States, confirmed the dates for the six-day trip when he participated in the opening of the U.S. episcopal conference's fall meeting under way in Baltimore.

Ban Ki-moon, U.N. secretary-general, last April officially asked the Pope to visit the United Nations.

The Holy Father will arrive in Washington on April 15. The next day, his 81st birthday, he will receive an official welcome at the White House. Later that afternoon, he will address the U.S. bishops' conference.

On April 17, after celebrating Mass at the Washington Nationals' stadium, the Pope will give an address at the Catholic University of America.

Benedict XVI will be in New York on April 18, for a visit to the United Nations in the morning and an ecumenical meeting in the afternoon. His time in New York will also include Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral on April 19, the anniversary of his papal election, and a meeting with youth. On April 20, the Holy Father will visit ground zero, where the twin towers stood. That afternoon, the trip will officially end with Mass at Yankee Stadium.

Anticipation

"This is a blessed moment for our nation," said Bishop William Skylstad of Spokane, president of the U.S. episcopal conference. "Pope Benedict is not just the leader of Catholics, he is also a man of inspiration for all those who work for peace."

Cardinal Edward Egan of New York said that the response of the people of his archdiocese "was both rejoicing and thanksgiving to the Lord for the great grace of the presence of the successor of St. Peter in our midst. I have assured the Holy Father of a warm and prayerful welcome. We all look forward to his visit with pleasure and anticipation."

Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington said, "Personally, and in the name of all of the clergy, religious and faithful of the archdiocese, I express our warmest welcome while renewing our sentiments of love and loyalty to our Holy Father. We all look forward to his visit as a time of renewal of our faith and pastoral ministry and an opportunity to confirm our solidarity with the Church universal made visible among us by the successor to Peter, Pope Benedict XVI."