Washington prepares to welcome Pope Benedict

 People in the US capital will have opportunities to greet Pope Benedict XVI during his three-day visit to Washington, DC when he arrives on April 15. An important part of the Holy Father's demanding itinerary includes opportunities for the public to see him as he travels to some events. Details of the Pope's travel routes are still being finalized, but there will be several opportunities for the general public to welcome the pope as he travels in the popemobile. Created for Pope John Paul II, the customized, bullet-proof vehicle allows for optimal visual contact between the pontiff and his audiences. The general public can see the Pope on Wednesday, April 16, as he departs from the White House visit with President and Mrs Bush and travels to the Papal Nunciature on Massachusetts Avenue. Pope Benedict will ride in the popemobile for part of the route. Later, the public will be able to see the Pope as he travels in the popemobile to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Michigan Avenue. On Thursday, April 17, following an address to the heads of more than 200 US Catholic colleges and universities at The Catholic University of America, the Pope will travel across campus to the John Paul II Cultural Centre on Harewood Road to meet with faith leaders from several religions, including those from the Buddhist, Muslim, Hindi, Jain and Jewish traditions. Access to viewing areas on Catholic University's campus to see the Pope on April 16 and 17 are available only through tickets that the university has made available to local Church-sponsored Catholic organizations. Details of the exact routes will be made available after they are finalized. More information about the pope's schedule while he is visiting the United States can be obtained by logging on to www.uspapalvisit.org. Source: USCCB

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