Press release of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba with regard to the visit of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI, having been invited by Cuba’s President Raúl Castro and the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba, has approved the program prepared by organizers of the Papal trip together with Cuban authorities and Catholic Bishops' Conference of Cuba. The program, from March 26th – 28th, 2012, has been fixed as follows:
On March 26th, the Holy Father will travel from Mexico to the City of Santiago de Cuba, where he will be officially received by President Raul Castro, by the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba and by the Archbishop of Santiago, Dionisio Guillermo García Ibáñez. Following the official welcome, in the early hours of the afternoon, the Holy Father will be taken to the residence of Archbishop of Santiago de Cuba.
At sunset, the Holy Father will celebrate Mass in Antonio Maceo Revolution Square to mark the Solemnity of the Annunciation. At the conclusion of Mass the Holy Father will head to El Cobre where you will stay in residence for priests.
On the morning of March 27th, the Pope shall make a private visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity to pray for a few minutes before the much-venerated image of the Virgin there. After this, the Pope will go to the airport from Santiago de Cuba to Havana.
At noon the Pope is scheduled to arrive at the José Martí airport in Havana, where he will be welcomed by Havana’s Archbishop, Cardinal Jaime Ortega, by the auxiliary bishops and other religious and civil authorities. The Pope’s conveyance will then proceed to the Vatican embassy where he will stay. In the afternoon, Pope Benedict XVI will visit President Raul Castro for an official meeting. At dusk, the Holy Father will meet in the Nunciature with all the Catholic Bishops of Cuba.
On the morning of March 28th, Pope Benedict XVI will preside at Mass in José Martí Revolution Square. After the celebration, the Pope will return to the Apostolic Nunciature. He will leave from there in the afternoon for José Martì airport where there will be an official farewell ceremony ahead of his departure.