May 9, 2010.
Benedict XVI is traveling to Portugal, 10 years after John Paul II beatified Jacinta and Francisco, two of the three young shepherds in Fatima.
Benedict XVI’s visit to Portugal will last four days, from May 11 through May 14.
Joao Alberto Bacelar
Ambassador of Portugal to the Holy See
“The Minister of Foreign Affairs has been preparing this visit in collaboration with the Vatican. All the steps have been taken to make sure the pope’s visit to Portugal is a success.”
The Pope will arrive in Lisbon on Tuesday, May 11th where he’ll meet with the President of Portugal, Anibal Cavaco Silva, and with Prime Minister Jose Socrates. He will also celebrate a large mass and, as usual, meet with intellectuals, writers, musicians and artists from the country.
On May 12th the pope will spend the night in Fatima. The following day will mark the 93rd anniversary of the first time the three pastors Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta saw the Virgin.
An intense agenda awaits the pope inside the shrine. In addition to celebrating a large Mass, he will also preside over the torchlight procession and will meet with Portuguese bishops, priests and religious from across the country along with organizations that look after the sick and needy.
The pope will bid Portugal farewell in Porto, the second most important city in the country.
Out of the 10 million people who live in Portugal, 88 percent call themselves Catholic. A high percentage, that has declined by 4.2 percent since the last papal visit to Portugal in the year 2000.