.- The Holy See Press Office Director, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, officially announced today Pope Benedict's first foreign trip -- a four-day visit to his native Germany on August 18-21. The Holy Father will travel to Cologne, on the occasion of the 20th World Youth Day.
The Pope will depart Rome on August 18 in the morning from Ciampino Airport, arriving Cologne after 2 hours of flight. The following day he will travel by car to Bonn, where he will spend the day and meet Germany's president Horst Koehler, returning to Cologne in the late afternoon.
Vatican sources have said the trip might include a visit to a synagogue in Cologne, either on Aug. 19 or 20. On August 21, he will depart Cologne for Rome at 7.15 pm, arriving at Ciampino two hours later. The trip, which had already been announced by the Catholic Church in Germany, will be his second outside Rome since his election. Benedict XVI made a brief trip to the southern Italian city of Bari on May 29.