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Papal trip preview: Santiago de Compostela

Catholic World News - November 04, 2010

On Saturday, November 6, Pope Benedict will begin a two-day apostolic journey, his second to Spain and his eighteenth outside Italy.

Pope Benedict will arrive in Santiago de Compostela, now a city of 95,000, late in the morning. Following a welcoming ceremony, the Pontiff will meet with Prince Felipe (born 1968), the heir to the Spanish throne, and Princess Letizia (born 1972), a former television journalist.

At 1:00, Pope Benedict will visit the famed Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, which was consecrated in 1211, some 136 years after construction began. Like countless pilgrims of the past millennium, he will venerate the relics of St. James the Greater. Venerable Pius XII said in 1940:

After the Tabernacle, where Our Lord Jesus Christ really lives, present, though invisible; after Palestine, which preserves as well the Holy Sepulcher with the vestiges of His sojourn on earth; after Rome which possesses the glorious tombs of the Apostles, there is perhaps no place on earth where all through the centuries the pilgrims have gathered as the historical capital of Galicia, Santiago de Compostela.

Following a meeting with Spain’s cardinals and the executive committee of the episcopal conference, Pope Benedict will offer Holy Mass on the occasion of the Compostelian Jubilee Year at 4:30. (A jubilee year is celebrated every seven years, when the Feast of St. James falls on a Sunday.) The Mass will take place in the Plaza del Obradoiro, located in front of the cathedral.

At 7:15-- less than eight hours after he arrived in Santiago de Compostela-- Pope Benedict will depart for Barcelona.

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