Benedict XVI kicks off trip to Mexico, Cuba
Rome, March 23, (RHC), -- Pope Benedict XVI on Friday began a six-day trip that will take him to Mexico and Cuba, in his first ever visit to an American Spanish speaking country.
The Holy Father is expected to arrive Friday afternoon in the Mexican airport of Leon, where he will be welcomed by Mexican President Felipe Calderon.
His accompanying delegation includes Vatican's Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and Substitute for General Affairs to the Secretary of State, Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu.
Other delegation members are Spanish Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, and Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.
Benedict XVI was seen off in Rome by Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti.
For the Pope, this is the 23rd trip during his mandate and the second to Latin America, where he had previously visited Brazil.
His Holiness will begin his visit to Mexico in Leon, in the state of Guanajuato, the center of Mexican Catholicism.
On Sunday, March 25, the Pope will officiate a mass at the foot of Cubilete Hill, where there is a Monument to Christ the King, and will meet with Mexican bishops.
After concluding his stay in Mexico on March 26, the Pope will leave for Cuba, where he will stay until Wednesday, March 28. /PL