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Schedule of Pope Benedict's 2008 Visit to the United States

April 15-20, 2008

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Pope Benedict XVI made his first visit to the United States April 15-20, 2008. While Pope John Paul II had an extensive itinerary during his first trip to the United States in 1979, Pope Benedict's agenda was more limited. He visited only two cities--Washington, D.C., and New York City--and held one public Mass in each. The Holy Father met with the bishops of the United States while in Washington, and he held two ecumenical meetings, one in each city. While in New York, he also addressed the United Nations.

The links below will take you to coverage of each major stop on the Holy Father's journey.

April 16, 10:30 A.M.: White House Welcoming Ceremony for Pope Benedict

President Bush Welcomes Pope Benedict XVI To White House (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
On April 16, 2008, the first full day of his first visit to the United States and his 81st birthday, Pope Benedict XVI was welcomed to the United States by President George W. Bush. The welcoming ceremony took place on the South Lawn of the White House.

April 16, 5:45 P.M.: Celebration of Vespers and Meeting With U.S. Bishops

Pope Benedict XVI Meets With the Bishops of the United States (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
After meeting with President Bush, Pope Benedict had lunch with the cardinals of the United States as well as the leaders of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. After a brief meeting with various Catholic charitable foundations, the Holy Father proceeded to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, on the campus of The Catholic University of America in northeast Washington, D.C. There, he celebrated vespers (evening prayer) and met with the bishops of the United States. The Holy Father gave a public address at the meeting before retiring for the night.

April 17, 10:00 A.M.: Mass at the Washington Nationals Stadium

Pope Benedict XVI and the Crowd at Nationals Stadium (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Pope Benedict's itinerary for April 17 began with a public Mass in Washington, D.C.'s new 41,000-seat baseball stadium, Nationals Park. At the end of the Mass, the Holy Father offered his Apostolic Blessing to all present, and blessed the new cornerstone and tabernacle of the Pope John Paul the Great Catholic High School, located in the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, and the cornerstone of the new chapel of Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, California.

April 17, 5:00 P.M.: Meeting With Representatives of Catholic Universities

Pope Benedict Addresses Catholic Educators at Catholic University (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Pope Benedict returned to The Catholic University of America on the evening of April 17 to meet with the heads of more than 200 American Catholic colleges and universities and superintendents of Catholic schools from the 195 dioceses of the United States. He delivered a public address on the role of Catholic education in addressing the "crisis of truth," which, he declared, has its roots in a "crisis of faith."

April 17, 6:30 P.M.: Meetings With Representatives of Other Religions

Pope Benedict XVI at the Pope John Paul II Center (Photo by Lawrence Jackson-Pool/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lawrence Jackson-Pool/Getty Images)
Pope Benedict's final scheduled activity on April 17 was a meeting with Buddhists, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Jews, and representatives of other religions at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center, located just across the street from the main campus of Catholic University.

April 18, 10:45 A.M.: Address to the General Assembly of the United Nations

Pope Benedict XVI Addresses the United Nations (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
After celebrating a private Mass on the morning of Friday, April 18, in Washington, D.C., Pope Benedict departed from Andrews Air Force Base for JFK International Airport in New York. After a helicopter ride from JFK to Manhattan, the Holy Father was transported to the United Nations, where he delivered a public address to the General Assembly on the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Holy Father noted that, if rights are to be more than legal fictions, they must have their foundation in justice and religion.

April 18, 6:00 P.M.: Ecumenical Encounter at the Church of St. Joseph

On Friday evening, April 18, the Holy Father took part in an ecumenical meeting with leaders of other Christian denominations at the Church of St. Joseph in New York City. The prayer service included a reading from Ephesians 4:1-6, in which Saint Paul urges the Church at Ephesus to strive "to preserve the unity of the Spirit," reminding them that there is "one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all." After an address to the assembled Christian leaders, Pope Benedict led them in the praying of the Our Father.

The day's events ended with a private dinner with the cardinals of the United States and the leadership of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

April 19, 9:15 A.M.: Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral

Nuns Greet Pope Benedict Outside Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
The Holy Father's schedule on Saturday, April 19, began with a Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. The Mass was not open to the public; it was celebrated in honor of priests and male and female religious. Pope Benedict delivered a homily on the need for Catholic men and women to dedicate themselves to Christ through the priesthood and religious life. The Mass was followed by a luncheon with the bishops of the Archdiocese of New York.

April 19, 4:30 P.M.: Meeting With Youth and Seminarians

Young Catholics Wear Benedict 16 T-Shirts at Youth Rally for Pope (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Late on Saturday afternoon, April 19, the Holy Father met with youth and seminarians at St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers, New York. The youth marked Pope Benedict's 81st birthday, which was on April 16, by singing "Happy Birthday" in German, and they celebrated the third anniversary of his election as pontiff. After an address to the youth and a solemn blessing, Pope Benedict retired for the night.

April 20, 9:30 A.M.: Visit to Ground Zero

Pope Benedict XVI Lights Candle at Ground Zero (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Pope Benedict began Sunday, April 20, with a visit to the site of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. There at Ground Zero, he offered a silent prayer and lit a candle, before offering a public prayer remembering all of those who died at the World Trade Center and elsewhere on September 11. The Holy Father ended his visit by blessing the ground with holy water and offering a solemn blessing to those assembled.
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