BEIRUT: Pope Benedict XVI will meet leading Lebanese officials and religious leaders during his three-day visit to Lebanon in September, according to a schedule released Tuesday.
He is also to sign the Apostolic Exhortation, which contains recommendations to Christians of the Levant. The pope will land at Rafik Hariri International Airport on Sept. 14, and he will be received by officials and members of the public before he heads to his residence at the Papal Embassy in Harissa.
Later that day, the pope will sign the Apostolic Exhortation at Saint Paul Basilica in Harissa. The Apostolic Exhortation was issued following the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, held in the Vatican in October 2010.
On the second day of his visit, the pope will start the day by holding a mass at his residence, after which he is to head to Baabda Palace to hold separate meetings with President Michel Sleiman, Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Najib Mikati.
He will also hold talks with Muslim leaders and meet ministers, diplomats and other officials at the palace.
On the same day, Benedict XVI will attend a luncheon held in his honor at the headquarters of the Armenian Catholic Patriarchate in Bzemmar.
Catholic prelates in Lebanon will also attend.
Later, the pope will meet with young people at the Maronite Patriarchate in Bkirki.
On the final day of his visit, Benedict XVI will lead a mass at Beirut’s waterfront, where the Apostolic Exhortation will be distributed.
The pope will also hold a religious meeting at the headquarters of the Syriac Catholic Patriarchate in Shurfa.
State officials and locals will bid Benedict XVI farewell at Rafik Hariri International Airport later in the day.
The visit comes 15 years after late Pope John Paul II visited Lebanon in May 1997.