When Benedict Goes to Germany

Papal itinerary released for September trip.

(photo: Shutterstock)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI’s September trip to Germany will include meetings with political leaders, Lutherans and Orthodox Christians, German Church officials said.

The German bishops’ conference on April 12 released the schedule of the Pope’s Sept. 22-25 visit, which will take him to the German capital, Berlin, and the cities of Erfurt and Freiburg. It will be the Pope’s third visit to his homeland.

The papal visit begins in Berlin, where he will meet with German President Christian Wulff at the Bellevue Palace. Later in the day, the Pope will address civil and political representatives at the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, and meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel. In the evening, he will celebrate Mass in front of the Charlottenburg Palace, the former royal residency.

On Sept. 23, the Pope will fly to Erfurt in central Germany. There he will meet with leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church at the Augustinian monastery where Martin Luther took his monastic vows in the early 1500s. Later the Pope will preside over an evening prayer service in the nearby town of Etzelsbach.

The next day, the Pope will celebrate Mass in the Cathedral Square in Erfurt, and then travel to the southwestern state of Baden-Wurttemberg. In Freiburg, he will meet with Orthodox representatives and hold an evening meeting with young people.

On the final day of his visit, the Pope will celebrate Mass at the Freiburg airport, meet with German bishops and address Catholic leaders at the city’s concert hall before returning to Rome in the evening.

The German bishops said that during his visit, the Pope would also meet with Jewish and Muslim representatives.