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Preview: Pope Benedict’s apostolic journey to Aquileia, Venice

Catholic World News - May 06, 2011

On May 7 and 8, Pope Benedict will make the 40th apostolic journey of his pontificate. He has traveled outside of Italy 18 times; this weekend’s pilgrimage will be his 22nd apostolic journey within Italy.

On the afternoon of May 7, Pope Benedict will travel by plane from Rome to Aquileia, a town of 3,500. Once a major Roman city, Aquileia, according to tradition, was evangelized by St. Mark and became the mother church of northeastern Italy. Aquileia had significant influence in the medieval Church; a Latin Rite patriarchal see was established there in 568. Its influence waned in the late Middle Ages, and the Patriarchate of Aquileia was transferred to Venice in 1450 and suppressed in 1751. In Aquileia, Pope Benedict will greet the citizens and address the Preparatory Assembly for the Second Congress of Aquileia, a gathering of northeastern Italian dioceses.

That evening, the Pontiff will take a half-hour helicopter ride to Venice, the famed city of 270,000, where he will address the citizens in the Piazza San Marco and venerate the relics of the evangelist in St. Mark’s Basilica.

On the morning of May 8, Pope Benedict will offer Mass at San Giuliano Park; all Catholics of northeastern Italy are being encouraged to attend. Cardinal Angelo Scola, the Patriarch of Venice, has suspended all other Sunday Masses in the city so that the faithful may attend the Holy Father’s Mass.

Following Mass and his Regina Coeli address, the Pontiff will return by motorboat to St. Mark’s Square and meet with the region’s bishops. Late that afternoon, he will address 1,000 local clergy, religious, and other Church workers in St. Mark’s Basilica and hear a report on local Church initiatives.

Pope Benedict will then travel by gondola to the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute, where he will address cultural and business leaders. After blessing a newly-restored chapel and library, the Pontifff will return to Rome, arriving 29 hours after the journey had begun.

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