Pope to Address Ecclesial Congress in Verona

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ROME, APRIL 25, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI has agreed to address the 4th National Ecclesial Congress of the Church in Italy this autumn in Verona.



The Pope accepted the invitation of the executive council of the Italian bishops' conference. The conference confirmed the news in a press statement, and published the day's program provided by the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household.

The theme of the event, held every 10 years, is "Witnesses of the Risen Jesus, Hope of the World."

Some 2,500 people will attend the Oct. 16-20 event, including delegates of the dioceses, representatives of institutes of consecrated life, and members of lay groups.

The Holy Father will arrive in Verona by plane on Oct. 19 in the morning.

He will meet with participants at Verona's Fair, headquarters of the congress. After greetings by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, president of the Italian episcopate, and the presentation of the event's works, the Pope will address the assembly.

In the afternoon, Benedict XVI will preside over a Mass in Verona's Municipal Stadium. Afterward, he will return to Rome.

Previous congresses took place in Rome (1976), Loreto (1985) and Palermo (1995). Pope John Paul II addressed the latter two.