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Schedule set for Pope's November visit to Africa

Catholic World News - September 29, 2011

The Vatican has released the full schedule for a November trip by Pope Benedict XVI to Benin, where he will release his apostolic exhortation concluding the work of the Second Synod for Africa.

The Pope will leave Rome on Friday, November 18, for the 6-hour flight to Cotonou, Benin. After an airport welcoming ceremony, he will visit the city’s cathedral. The evening has been left open, allowing the 84-year-old Pontiff time to rest after the trip.

On Saturday, November 19, the Pope will hold a meeting with local political and religious leaders at the presidential palace in the morning, then visit the grave of Cardinal Bernardin Gantin, who was his predecessor as Dean of the College of Cardinals. He will next visit the seminary of St. Gall at Ouidah, then the basilica of the Immaculate Conception, where he will sign the apostolic exhortation. That afternoon he will visit a residence in Cotonou run by the Missionaries of Charity for needy children, then meet the bishops of Benin at the residence of the apostolic nuncio.

On Sunday the Pope will celebrate Mass at a stadium in Cotonou, and formally promulgate the apostolic exhortation. After lunch with African Church leaders, he will head for the airport—which is named in honor of Cardinal Gantin—for his return flight to Rome.

The 2nd Synod for Africa met in Rome in October 2009. At its conclusion, the Synod fathers delivered a series of proposals to Pope Benedict, to be used as the basis for his apostolic exhortation concluding the Synod’s work.

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