The Vatican press office has published the official schedule for Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic visit to the African country of Benin, which will take place November 18-20.
During the visit, the Holy Father will sign and publish the apostolic exhortation written after the second special assembly of the Synod of Bishops of Africa. Below is the complete schedule.
Friday, Nov. 18
9:00 a.m. (local time) Departure from Rome's Fiumicino airport for Cotonou, Benin.
3:00 p.m. Arrival ceremony at Cotonou's Cardinal Bernardin Gantin International Airport.
4:30 p.m. Visit to the Cotonou cathedral. Speech by the Pope.
Saturday, Nov. 19
7:30 a.m. Mass in private in chapel at apostolic nunciature in Cotonou.
9:00 a.m. Meeting with members of the government, representatives of state institutions, members of the diplomatic corps and representatives of the principal religions in the presidential palace in Cotonou.
9:50 a.m. Courtesy visit with President Thomas Yayi Boni in the presidential palace.
11:15 a.m. Visit to the tomb of Cardinal Gantin in the chapel of St. Gall Seminary in Ouidah. Meeting with priests, seminarians, religious and laity in the courtyard of the seminary.
12:15 p.m. Visit to the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Ouidah and signing of the post synodal apostolic exhortation.
5:00 p.m. Visit to the "Peace and Joy" Center of the Missionaries of Charity at St. Rita parish in Cotonou. Speech by Benedict XVI. Meeting with children at the parish.
6:45 p.m. Meeting with the bishops of Benin at the apostolic nunciature.
7:30 p.m. Dinner with the bishops of Benin and members of the papal entourage in the apostolic nunciature.
Sunday, Nov. 20
9:00 a.m. Mass and presentation of the post synodal apostolic exhortation to the bishops of Africa in Cotonou stadium. Homily and remarks by the Pope. Recitation of the Angelus.
12:15 p.m. Lunch with members of the special council for Africa of the general secretariat of the Synod of Bishops and with the papal entourage in the apostolic nunciature.
4:00 p.m. Farewell ceremony at Cardinal Gantin airport.
4:30 p.m. Departure for Rome.
10:00 p.m. Arrival at Rome's Ciampino airport.