Lebanon: great hopes on Pope's visit amid ongoing preparations

2012-08-23 Vatican Radio

The Chairman of the Central Committee tasked to prepare for Pope Benedict XVI visit to Lebanon, Bishop Camille Zaidan, held a press conference on Wednesday afternoon at the Lebanese Missionaries Jounieh headquarters, in which he announced steps taken thus far to ensure a successful and safe visit by the Pope to Lebanon.
The conference, which began with a prayer specially prepared for the Pope's visit to Lebanon, was followed by Father Abdo Abu Kassem's word which confirmed "the Pope's visit to Lebanon is based on leaps and bounds unlike most recent rumors which suggested that the visit will be postponed."
In turn, Zaidan gave a briefing on the visit's logistical and security measures and announced the arrival of the Pope's transportation vehicle, papa mobile.
Zidane also disclosed the launch of the media and advertizing campaign -- covering the Pope's visit -- on the 23rd of August.
He pointed out that the Pope's visit was of an official and religious character, as the Pope will be visiting Lebanon upon the invitation of the Lebanese President and as head of the Catholic Church.
"But there will be participants from neighboring countries. The Pope's visit is not confined to Christian Catholics, but to all the Lebanese, Christians or Muslims," said Zaidan.
He went on to announce the formation of two committees; one representing the East Catholic Bishops Council, and another representing the Lebanese state based at the Presidential Palace and comprising different concerned ministries and administrations.
"They [committees] will be establishing direct coordination contacts with the Vatican Representative, the Pontifical Ambassador in Lebanon," Zaidan added.
The bishop also expressed hope that this visit leaves a beautiful impression about the Lebanese coexisting society, noting that many publications and booklets have been distributed concerning this special occasion.
"A guide covering the visit details will be distributed next week," he said, while asserting that the region's shaky situation added to the Pope's insistence to visit Lebanon.
"His [Pope] visit is so soon, and we are ready to receive him. We hope and pray that this visit will turn out to be a real spring for Lebanon and the region, for Christians and Muslims," Zaidan concluded.