To watch the visit through live streaming please click on this link
On Sunday morning, Pope Benedict XVI left the Papal
Embassy in Harrisa on board his Papa Mobili and headed to Beirut Waterfront area to celebrate a solemn mass in the presence of Lebanese officials and thousands or believers.
From Jounieh to Beirut, the crowds gathered on the
sides of the road hoisting banner and tossing flowers to get the Pope's blessing.
Pope Benedict arrived to Beirut Waterfront area
where more than 100,000 persons were waiting for him and 1400 reporters from
Lebanon and the world came to cover the launching of the Apostolic Exhortation.
Lebanese expatriates from all over the world and
people from several nationalities participated in the solemn mass. Muslims were also noticed among the crowds.
Helicopters flew overhead and
soldiers set up roadblocks and patrolled streets in downtown Beirut.
The holy bible has been printed in 6 different languages, including
Latin, French, English, Arabic, and Armenian so that attending crowds
can follow and share the Pope's prayers.
The messenger of peace gave his final blessing and left the altar
after shaking hands with the President and his wife. He headed to his
Papa Mobili and paved his way back to the Papal Embassy in Harissa, amid
the cheerful cries of the devout.
During this day, the Apostolic Exhortation of the Special Synod of Bishops for the Middle East will be distributed.
After transporting the Pope to the airport, where an official and popular farewell ceremony will be held, the Mercedes 600 Papa Mobili will then rest.
Papal official spokesperson, Federico Lombardi, announced on that more than 350,000 people attended the Supreme Pontiff's Holy Mass
Papal mass sermon:
On this Sunday when the Gospel asks us about the true identity of Jesus,
we find ourselves transported with the disciples to the road leading to
the villages around Caesarea Philippi. Jesus asks them: "Who do you say
that I am" (Mk 8:29).The moment he chose to ask this question is not
insignificant. Jesus was facing a decisive turning-point in his life.
He was going up to Jerusalem, to the place where the central events of
our salvation would take place: his crucifixion and resurrection. In
Jerusalem too, following these events, the Church would be born.
And at this decisive moment, Jesus first asks his disciples: "Who
do men say that I am?" (Mk 8:27). They give very different answers: John
the Baptist, Elijah, one of the prophets!
In promulgating the Year of Faith, which is due to begin next 11
October, I wanted each member of the faithful to renew his or her
commitment to undertaking this path of sincere conversion.
Throughout this Year, then, I strongly encourage you to reflect
more deeply on the faith, to appropriate it ever more consciously and to
grow in fidelity to Christ Jesus and his Gospel
May God bless Lebanon; may he bless all the peoples of this beloved
region of the Middle East, and may he grant them the gift of his peace.
The papal visit comes amid
soaring sectarian tensions in the region, exacerbated by the conflict in Syria,
which is in the throes of an 18-month-old civil war.
The Pope made a sweeping appeal for
peace in Syria and the Middle East, decrying the violence "which generates
so much suffering."
His holiness also urged the
international community and Arab countries in particular to find a solution to
end the conflict in neighboring Syria.
"Why so much horror? Why so
many dead," Benedict said, lamenting that "the first victims are
women and children."
With pilgrims from
across the Middle East in the crowd he said Christians must do their part to
end the "grim trail of death and destruction" in the region.
"I appeal to you all to be
peacemakers," Benedict said.
Patriarch Rai Speech:
Before the mas began, Patriarch Rai addressed his
Holiness in a speech, and said: “On behalf of all the people here and
all the Lebanese, I have the honor to convey to Your Holiness the joy that your
visit fills our hearts with”.
“Your apostolic trip to the Middle East, at a time when radical
transformations threaten its security and stability, is certainly full of hope”,
“Today, Your Holiness carries from Lebanon to the entire Middle East, the
Hope of Christ and the call of peace. May the Almighty fulfill Your holy and
noble intentions that you will bring to the Lord during the Eucharistic
celebration”, Rai concluded.
Visit to Sherfeh Syriac
Catholic Patriarchate, Daraoun
The Pope arrived in the
afternoon to Sherfeh Syriac Catholic Patriarchate, Daraoun, where
he held an ecumenical meeting with non-Catholic
Christian leaders. He also unveiled a memorial painting of his
historical visit to Lebanon.
From Sherfeh Patriarchate,
Pope Benedict XVI said that he is praying for all religious groups in this
The Pope left Sherfeh Syriac
Catholic Patriarchate in Daroun and returned to the Papal Embassy in Harissa. His
next and last stop will be at Beirut International airport where an official
farewell ceremony will be held.
Farewell ceremony at Beirut International airport
Popular and official crowds gathered at Beirut International Airport to bid the Pope Benedict XVI farewell, where the national anthem and the Pontifical anthem were played.
Sleiman expressed his gratitude towards the Pope for "interfering to preserve Lebanon's sovereignty and stability", he said in a speech he delivered on the occasion. He also thanked the Pope for the efforts deployed in order to protect Lebanon from any attack.
will always be loyal to its relationship with the Holy See and to its role in
the region", Sleiman stressed.
He added that "our need confirms the
necessity to commit to Apostolic Exhortation’s content", stressing that the East and the West will not
be developed without peace, and that the Arab’s movements bring
hope in achieving democracy despite ongoing violence.
Following Sleiman's words, the Pope delivered a short speech whereby he thanked all the Lebanese people and officials for their warm reception. " I regret having to leave Lebanon, I will keep praying
for the Lebanese people who form a wonderful piece of mosaic", Pope Benedict XVI said.
"My special thanks go
to the entire Lebanese people who form a beautiful and rich mosaic and who have
shown the successor of Peter their enthusiasm by the efforts, both general and
specific, of each community. I thank all the civil and religious leaders of
your country. It is a tradition in the Middle East to receive a guest with
consideration and respect as you have done. I thank you all. But, to that
consideration and respect, you added something else, which can be compared to
one of those renowned oriental spices which enrich the taste of food; your
warmth and your affection, which make me wish to return. I thank you for that
especially. May God bless you for it!" Pope added.
Following the speech, the Pope shook hands with dignitaries who came to bid him farewell at the airport, prior to his departure to Rome, then he boarded a Middle East plane and took off.
Preparations for farewell ceremony complete at the airport
All administrative, technical, security and logistic preparations
for the Pope's departure to the Vatican were completed at Beirut
International Airport and all requisite measures for the Supreme Pontiff's official
farewell ceremony at the Airport have been accomplished.
In this framework, joint security forces of the Lebanese Army and Internal
Security Forces ran foot and armored patrols along the Airport road, with cars
banned from parking on both sides of the road. Security measures were also
reinforced in the vicinity of the Airport VIP hall.
Based on an earlier circular by the Civil Aviation Directorate General, air
traffic movement at the airport will be suspended on the occasion from 6.00 to
7.30 p.m. this evening, as well as all activities belonging to aviation
companies and airport operational institutions.
Certain measures to facilitate the tasks of journalists who will be covering
the Pope's departure and farewell ceremony were also adopted.
On the other hand, banners were raised all along the Airport road, hailing the
visit of His Holiness the Supreme Pontiff to Lebanon.
Meanwhile, final arrangements are taking place on the MEA airbus 320 plane which will fly the Pope back to Rome.
On his first day
in Lebanon, he signed the Post-Synodal
Apostolic Exhortation of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod
of Bishops, in the presence of the President of the Republic, Michel Sleiman,
as well as senior political and religious officials.
On his second day
in Lebanon, Pope Benedict addressed the Youth and told them not to leave their homeland in which the Christ was born, stressing that they shouldn't emigrate.
To read the the Apostolic Exhortation in detail please click here
Road deviations remain in check for today
, for the set road deviations throughout the Papal visit please click here