.- The Italian Bishops Conference announced today that Pope Benedict is planning on visiting the city of Verona in northern Italy on October 19--the occasion of the 4th National Ecclesial Convention, an event that gathers the representatives of the Catholic Church in Italy once each decade.
The convention will last four days, from October 16th to 20th. The theme this year will be “Giving Testimony of Jesus Risen, Hope for the world.” The program of the pontiff’s visit was published this week by the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household.
The Pope will arrive in Verona in the morning, and will meet with participants at the city’s convention center, where he will address the entire assembly. In the afternoon, he will preside over Mass in the Municipal Stadium at four o’clock.
The Mass is open to all of the city’s faithful as well as pilgrims from other dioceses of the region Veneto. Pope Benedict will travel back to Rome later in the day. More than 2,500 people, including delegates from various dioceses, representatives of institutes of consecrated life, members of lay organizations and people invited by the Italian Bishops Conference are expected to attend the assembly.