President Bush to greet Pope upon arrival at air force base

.- President and Mrs. George Bush will greet Pope Benedict XVI, April 15, when he arrives at Andrews Air Force Base for a six-day visit to the United States that will take him to Washington and New York City. 

A news release from the USCCB states that the Pope is expected to arrive at four in the afternoon on an Alitalia flight dubbed “Shepherd One.”  Accompanying him in the plane will be several Vatican officials and more that 60 members of the Vatican Press Corps.

Upon arrival Pope Benedict also will be greeted by several Church officials including Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Vatican nuncio to the United States; Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington and Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services USA.

Several hundred guests will also be on hand. Among them there will be military families and young people from several Catholic high schools. Before the arrival, the United States Air Force Band will provide entertainment for the public.

When the Pope arrives, the color guard will offer its customary greeting for a head of state. The ceremony will be brief and without speeches. Formal greetings will be offered the next morning when Pope Benedict visits President Bush at the White House.

Other information regarding the itinerary of the Holy Father’s 2008 apostolic journey to the United States and the United Nations can be found at


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