November 17, 2011. (Romereports.com)
On Friday November 18th, the pope will board a plane to Africa at
roughly 9 a.m. After a five hour trip he'll arrive in Cotonou. This will
be the pope's 22nd trip abroad and his second to Africa.
The pope will be welcomed by Benin's president at the international airport named “Cardinal Bernard Gantin.” Later on in the afternoon, the pope plans to visit the Cathedral of Cotonou, before taking a break at the Holy See's local embassy.
On Saturday 19th, the pope will meet with government officials, diplomats and representatives of major religions in Benin.
The pope will then visit the “San Gallo” seminary in Ouidah, to pray before the tomb of Cardinal Bernard Gantin. Once there the pope will meet with local priests, religious and laypeople.
The pope will then sign the Apostolic Exhortation on Africa at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception of Ouidah. The document will be based on the conclusions of the 2009 Synod that took place at the Vatican. The pope will sign a copy in English, French, Portuguese and Italian.
That same day, he will return to Cotonou to visit roughly 200 children who live in center run by the Missionaries of Charity. He will then go back to the nunciature to meet with local bishops.
Sunday the 20th, will be the last day of his trip. The pope will celebrate a Mass at the “Stade de l'amitie' where bishops will receive the apostolic exhortation. Then the pope will have lunch with 15 members of the Special Council for Africa.
During the visit, the pope will celebrate the150th anniversary of the evangelization of Benin. The visit will also mark 40 years of diplomatic relations between Benin and the Holy See. Finally, throughout those three days, the pope will honor late Cardinal Gantin, who served as the dean of College of Cardinals during much of John Paul II's pontificate. To this day, the late Cardinal is recognized as a key figure in his native country of Benin.