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On Lebanon visit, Pope will see 'mosaic of Eastern rite'

July 20, 2012

“The excitement is building” in Lebanon as Catholics look forward to the September 14-16 visit by Pope Benedict XVI, the chief organizer of the papal trip has told Vatican Radio.

Father Marwan Tabet said that the faithful in Lebanon have begun an organized campaign of prayer for the success of the Pope’s trip. Prompted by a recommendation of the special Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, Catholic leaders in Lebanon are making a special effort to enlist all of the Eastern Catholic churches in the same united prayer campaign.

The main purpose of the Pope’s trip is to release his post-synodal exhortation on the Church in the Middle East. That synod called for a stronger sense of communion among the different Catholic communities, and Lebanon provides an ideal background for that effort. Father Tabet explains: “Four of the denominations of the Eastern Churches are based in Lebanon; the Maronites, the Melkites, the Syrian Catholic, and the Armenian Catholic."

The liturgical celebrations during the Pope’s trip will draw heavily on the Eastern Catholic traditions, Father Tabet said. While Pope Benedict will celebrate Mass in the Latin rite, the ceremony will feature “a mosaic of the Eastern rite,” he said, with music drawn from each of the major Catholic churches in the region. One choir will include nearly 300 singers, combining Maronite, Melkite, Armenian Catholic, and Syrian Catholic voices and chants.


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