POPE DEPARTS ON HIS APOSTOLIC TRIP TO BRAZIL

VATICAN CITY, MAY 9, 2007 (VIS) - At 9 a.m. this morning, the Pope departed by plane from Rome's Fiumicino airport bound for Brazil. The 9,477-kilometer flight is expected to last twelve and a half hours and the papal plane is scheduled to land at the international airport of Sao Paulo / Guarulhos in Brazil at 4.30 p.m. local time, 9.30 p.m. in Rome.

The Holy Father will be greeted at the airport by Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the president of the Federal Republic of Brazil. Following the welcome ceremony, during which Benedict XVI will deliver a talk, the Pope will travel by helicopter to the "Campo de Marte" airport where he will be received by the local authorities.

At 6.10 p.m. (11.10 p.m. in Rome), the Holy Father will travel by popemobile to the monastery of Sao Bento where he will be staying during his time in Sao Paulo. The complex of buildings includes, apart from the Benedictine monastery, the Sao Benito College, one of the most prestigious schools in Sao Paulo, and the basilica of Our Lady of the Assumption.

Following a moment of prayer in the monastery's chapel, the Pope will appear at the balcony to greet and bless the faithful gathered below.

 
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