.- The Bishops’ Conference of France has officially announced that Pope Benedict XVI will travel to France for the 150th anniversary of the Marian apparitions that took place in Lourdes.
The trip, which is scheduled for September 12-15, 2008, will begin with a greeting by French officials after which the Holy Father will head to the College des Bernardins where he will address the “world of culture.” Then the Pope will pray vespers at the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Following the prayer service, he will address young people gathered at the Cathedral.
On Saturday, September 13, the Pope will celebrate Mass in Paris and afterwards travel to Lourdes. “During his visit to Paris, Benedict XVI desires to meet with representatives of other Christian confessions and of the Jewish and Muslim communities,” the French bishops’ said in their statement.
“In Lourdes on Saturday afternoon, the Pope will carry out the first stages of the jubilee way. That night, at the end of the candlelight procession, he will address the pilgrims,” the bishops said.
On Sunday, September 14, the Holy Father will “preside at Mass for the pilgrims. That afternoon, he will meet with the Bishops’ Conference of France and end the day with a Eucharistic procession.”
Finally, on Monday morning, the Pope will take part in the fourth stage of the jubilee way and will bless the infirm during a Eucharistic celebration. He will return to Rome on Monday afternoon.
“The bishops of France express to the Holy Father their gratitude and invite the faithful to mobilize themselves to warmly welcome the Pope and to give thanks to God for his message in Lourdes,” the bishops said in conclusion.