The Holy Father will make four foreign trips in 2011, including one to his homeland.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI plans to make four foreign trips in 2011, including one to his German homeland and a three-day visit to the African country of Benin.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, told reporters Dec. 14 that the Pope would also make four trips to Italian cities. In all, the Pope will spend 18 days on the road next year.
The Pope will visit Croatia June 4-5 and travel to Spain Aug. 18-21 to preside over World Youth Day celebrations. He will visit Germany Sept. 22-25, the third trip to his native Germany. German bishops have said the Pope is likely to visit the capital city of Berlin, as well as Freiburg and Erfurt.
The Pope’s trip to Benin Nov. 18-20 will be his second trip to Africa. In Benin, a small country in West Africa, Catholics make up about 30% of the population and Muslims about 25%.
Pope Benedict, who will turn 84 in April, has, to date, made 18 trips abroad, 12 of them in Europe.
The Pope’s travels inside Italy in 2011 will take him to the northern cities of Aquileia and Venice May 7-8, to Montefeltro and the tiny Republic of San Marino June 19, to the Adriatic city of Ancona Sept. 11 for the National Eucharistic Congress and to the southern cities of Lamezia Terme and Serra San Bruno Oct. 9.