Pope's WYD schedule released


World Youth Day News Story
Pope Benedict XVI at the final Mass at Randwick during WYD Sydney 2008.

VATICAN CITY (Vatican Information Service) - The Holy See Press Office has released the program of Pope Benedict XVI's forthcoming apostolic trip to Madrid, Spain, for the 26th World Youth Day (WYD).

The Holy Father is due to fly from Rome to Madrid's Barajas airport on Thursday 19 August, where a welcome ceremony will take place. That evening, the Holy Father will join a group of young people to pass under the Puerta de Alcala in the city's Plaza de Independencia, before moving on to Plaza de Cibeles where youth from all over the world will be gathered to greet him.

On Friday 19 August, the Pope will celebrate Mass privately in the chapel of the apostolic nunciature in Madrid before paying a courtesy visit to the Spanish king and queen in the Palacio de la Zarzuela. He will then attend a meeting with young religious and another with young university professors at the basilica of San Lorenzo de El Escorial.

After lunch with young people at the apostolic nunciature, the Holy Father is scheduled to hold an official meeting with Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, prime minister of Spain. At 7.30pm, the Pope will return to Plaza de Cibeles where he will preside at the Way of the Cross.

On Saturday 20 August, His Holiness will hear confession from a number of young people in Madrid's Jardines del Buen Retiro before celebrating Mass for seminarians at 10am in the cathedral of Santa Maria la Real de la Almudena. At 5pm, he will meet with the WYD organising committees at the apostolic nunciature then visit the Fundacion Instituto San Jose. At 8.30pm, he will preside at a prayer vigil with young people at the airport of Cuatro Vientos.

At 9.30am on Sunday 21 August, the Holy Father will preside at the WYD Mass at the airport of Cuatro Vientos, then pray the Angelus. After the ceremony he will have lunch with Spanish cardinals and the papal entourage at the apostolic nunciature.

The Holy Father is scheduled to leave the apostolic nunciature at 5pm. He will meet with WYD volunteers in the new Feria de Madrid - IFEMA before travelling to the airport of Barajas where the departure ceremony will take place at 6.30pm. The papal plane will then depart for Rome.

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