Program of the pope’s pilgrimage to Portugal, May 11-14

Source: FSSPX News

For his fifteenth journey abroad, Benedict XVI will travel to Portugal from May 11-14, 2010, on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the beatification of Jacinta and Francisco Marto, two of the shepherds to whom the Blessed Virgin appeared in Fatima in 1917.  The pope will visit Lisbon, then Fatima and Porto.  On May 4, Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Press Office of the Holy See, noted that the pilgrimage to the Marian shrine in Fatima would be the “heart” of the pope’s journey to Portugal, but that the journey would also give him the opportunity to address the social problems facing a country where homosexual marriage is about to be legalized, three years after having decriminalized abortion.

Benedict XVI will leave Fiumicino Airport, near Rome, on Tuesday, May 11, at 8:50 a.m. on board an A320 aircraft belonging to the Italian company Alitalia for a flight lasting just over three hours destined for Portela Airport in Lisbon.  Upon his arrival at the city’s international airport at 11:00 a.m. (local time), the pope will deliver his first address on Portuguese soil.

At 12:45 p.m. there will be a welcoming ceremony at the monastery of the “Jeronimos” in Lisbon.  The pope will briefly visit this monument, which has been designated a world-class historical landmark by UNESCO and is located near the Tagus river.  At 1:30 p.m., the Supreme Pontiff will pay a courtesy visit to the President of the Republic, Anibal Cavaco Silva, at the Palácio de Belém, not far from the monastery.  Leader of the country since January 2006, Anibal Cavaco Silva is the first right-leaning Portuguese head of state since the Carnation Revolution in 1974.

Later in the evening, at 6:15 p.m., Benedict XVI will celebrate Mass on the Terreiro do Paço in Lisbon, better known by the name of Commerce Square, on the bank of the Tagus.  Formerly the royal palace stood on that great square in Lisbon.  The pope will give a homily and commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the foundation of the Shrine of Christ the King in Almada.  The famous statue of Christ the Redeemer is situated on a hill in the town of Almada, looming over the Ponte 25 de Abril [April 25 Bridge] and facing Lisbon.  On Wednesday, May 12, at 7:30 a.m., the pope will say Mass privately in the chapel of the Apostolic Nunciature in Lisbon, where he will stay during his visit to Lisbon.  Then at 10:00 a.m. he will meet with representatives from the world of culture at the Cultural Center of Belém.  At 12:00 noon the pope will meet with the Prime Minister and the secretary general of the Socialist Party, José Sócrates, at the nunciature.  At 4:40 p.m., he will leave by helicopter from the airport in Lisbon for Fatima, 130 kilometers [81 miles] north of the Portuguese capital.

After arriving at 5:10 p.m. at the heliport situated near the new municipal stadium of Fatima, the pope will go to pray, twenty minutes later, at the Chapel of Apparitions, located on the Esplanade of the Fatima Shrine.  At 6:00 p.m. the Supreme Pontiff will preside at the Office of Vespers [Evening Prayer] in the presence of priests, religious, seminarians, and deacons in the Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Fatima.  He will deliver an address there.  At 9:30 p.m. the pope will bless the torches on the Esplanade of the shrine and will speak again.  He will then recite the rosary in the Chapel of Apparitions.

The next day, the feast day of Our Lady of Fatima, Tuesday, May 13, Benedict XVI will celebrate a Mass on the Esplanade at 10:00 a.m. to commemorate the anniversary of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin (May 13, 1917) to Lucia dos Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto.  At 1:00 p.m. the pope will dine with the bishops of Portugal at the Casa Nossa Senhora do Carmo (House of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel) in Fatima.  At 5:00 p.m., he will meet with social pastoral care organizations in the Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Fatima.  He will deliver another address.  Finally, at 6:45 p.m., the Supreme Pontiff will meet with the bishops of Portugal at the Casa Nossa Senhora do Carmo, speaking once again.

On the last day of his journey, Friday, May 14, Benedict XVI will leave the Casa Nossa Senhora do Carmo at 8:00 a.m.  He will depart at 8:40 by helicopter for Porto, the second largest city of the country, located in the north, where he is scheduled to arrive at 9:30.  At 10:15 a.m. Benedict XVI will celebrate a Mass on the esplanade of the Avenida dos Aliados, at the very heart of the city of Porto, the historical Cidade invicta (“unconquered city”).

The departure ceremony is scheduled for 1:30 Porto International Airport.  The pope will deliver his last address on Portuguese soil.  The airplane of Benedict XVI, an A320 belonging to the Portuguese company TAP, will depart from Porto at 2:00 p.m. and land at Ciampino Airport, not far from Rome, at 6:00 p.m.  (Sources : apic/imedia/AFP/Zenit/VIS - DICI no. 214 dated May 8, 2010)