2012-01-02 Vatican RadioBelow, please find our unofficial English translations of the press releases issued Monday, January 2nd, by the Bishops' Conference of Mexico and the Bishops' Conference of Cuba, detailing the itinerary of Pope Benedict XVI's scheduled visit to each country in March of this year.
Press Release concerning the visit of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to Mexico
On December 12th, 2011, His Holiness Benedict XVI announced his intention to undertake an apostolic journey to Mexico and Cuba, before Easter 2012.
Following consultations with the Government of the United Mexican States and the Mexican Bishops’ Conference, and after detailed study by those responsible for the Pope's travels, in conjunction with federal authorities and members of the government of Guanajuato state, the Holy Father approved the program that was submitted and will be verified as follows:
The Holy Father will travel on Friday March 23rd, 2012, from the city of Rome to the airport in Leon, Guanajuato, where he will be officially received by the President of Mexico, Felipe Calderon, by the Archbishop of Leon, José Martín, and by representatives of the Mexican Bishops’ Conference.
During his stay in Mexico will be staying at the residence of the Sisters of Miraflores College in Leon.
On Saturday evening, March 24th, The Holy Father will have an official meeting with President Felipe Calderon and his delegation at the Conde Rul House, the seat of the State Government of Guanajuato. Finally the Holy Father will greet and bless children and all the faithful gathered in Guanajuato’s La Paz square.
On the morning of Sunday March 25th, the Holy Father will be preside at Mass in Bicentennial Park in the municipality of Silao, at the foot of Cubilete Hill, atop which stands the monument to Christ the King. Representatives of the faithful of the 91 dioceses of Mexico will be present.
On the afternoon of March 25th, the Holy Father, will celebrate Vespers in the Leon cathedral and deliver a message to all the Bishops of Mexico and other representatives of the Bishops’ Conferences of Latin America and the Caribbean.
On the morning of March 26th, the highest civil and religious authorities of Mexico will farewell the Holy Father at Leon airport, before he departs for Cuba.
Press release of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba with regard to the visit of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI, having been invited by Cuba’s President Raúl Castro and the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba, has approved the program prepared by organizers of the Papal trip together with Cuban authorities and Catholic Bishops' Conference of Cuba. The program, from March 26th – 28th, 2012, has been fixed as follows:
On March 26th, the Holy Father will travel from Mexico to the City of Santiago de Cuba, where he will be officially received by President Raul Castro, by the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba and by the Archbishop of Santiago, Dionisio Guillermo García Ibáñez. Following the official welcome, in the early hours of the afternoon, the Holy Father will be taken to the residence of Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba.
At sunset, the Holy Father will celebrate Mass in Antonio Maceo Revolution Square to mark the Solemnity of the Annunciation. At the conclusion of Mass the Holy Father will head to El Cobre where you will stay in residence for priests.
On the morning of March 27th, the Pope shall make a private visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity to pray for a few minutes before the much-venerated image of the Virgin there. After this, the Pope will go to the airport from Santiago de Cuba to Havana.
At noon the Pope is scheduled to arrive at the José Martí airport in Havana, where he will be welcomed by Havana’s Archbishop, Cardinal Jaime Ortega, by the auxiliary bishops and other religious and civil authorities. The Pope’s conveyance will then proceed to the Vatican embassy where he will stay. In the afternoon, Pope Benedict XVI will visit President Raul Castro for an official meeting. At dusk, the Holy Father will meet in the Nunciature with all the Catholic Bishops of Cuba.
On the morning of March 28th, Pope Benedict XVI will preside at Mass in José Martí Revolution Square. After the celebration, the Pope will return to the Apostolic Nunciature. He will leave from there in the afternoon for José Martì airport where there will be an official farewell ceremony ahead of his departure.