BEIRUT: Maronite bishops called Wednesday for a massive turnout for Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Lebanon next week.
“The Maronite bishops call on the sons and daughters [of the Church] to turnout en masse to welcome his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI ... and be spiritually prepared to accept his guidance and work under his direction ... so that a real spring for Christians and for the region will be achieved," said a statement issued by the Council of Maronite Bishops at the end of their monthly meeting.
“Let this historic visit be the gateway to peace and the strengthening of the presence of Christians,” the Bishops said following the meeting in Bkirki presided over by Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai.
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to flock to Harissa in Kesrouan to greet the Pope when he arrives for a three-day visit next Friday.
Turnout is expected to be even higher during a Mass the Pope will celebrate at the Beirut City Center Waterfront on the second day of his visit.
The Lebanese Army announced it will strictly monitor a temporary invalidation of arms licenses during the Pope’s visit as part of its measures to ensure security during the prelate’s visit.