Vatican City, May 10, 2010 / 07:59 am
In spite of the cloud of ash that led to the cancellation of flights in Portugal over the weekend, plans for the Holy Father's pilgrimage to Portugal remain firm. The Holy Father will be in the country on Tuesday morning to complete a packed four-day trip, but the culminating event for him is the stop in Fatima, with which he has a long history.
Pope Benedict's trip to the western European country will take place from Tuesday to Friday, beginning with a visit to the country's capital Lisbon, then to Fatima and finally to the city of Porto.
Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, said over the weekend that for the moment plans would not be altered due to the cloud of ash from Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano. The debris shut down airports in much of Portugal on Sunday and hundreds of flights were canceled in both Lisbon and Porto.
These airports have since been re-opened, but the threat that flights could again be suspended remains, according to the Portuguese press. The contingency plan is reportedly to direct the Pope's plane to Faro, over one hundred miles to the south.