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Benedict XVI will meet with Cuban President Raul Castro

Havana, March 27 (PL) Pope Benedict XVI will be held here today a comprehensive program of activities including a meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro, during the second day of the Pope on the island.

According to the agenda of the visit, the dialogue with the administrator of the Caribbean will be held in the afternoon at the Revolution Palace in Havana, where it is expected that both heads of state to conduct a courtesy to the people on the stairs of the building.

His Holiness, who arrived in the country invited by the Government and the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba, will also meet with religious authorities in the Nunciature.

In the morning, the Holy Father will visit the shrine of the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, in the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba, which arrived yesterday afternoon from Mexico to start a three-day apostolic visit.

At noon, Benedict XVI will arrive at Jose Marti airport in Havana, where he will begin the second part of his pastoral visit to the Caribbean nation, which runs until tomorrow.

The stay of Benedict XVI, held under the theme of pilgrimage Charity, is also part of the Jubilee Year celebrations for the anniversary of 400 years of searching for the image of the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, considered by the Catholic patron saint of Cuba.

On Monday, during the official reception ceremony at the Antonio Maceo Airport in Santiago, Benedict XVI thanked the acceptance and the feeling of respect received for his arrival.

On the other hand, expressed his conviction that Cuba looks to the future and strives to renew and expand their horizons on the basis of a “vast heritage of spiritual and moral values, which confirms their genuine identity.”

After the Mass offered in the Plaza de la Revolución Antonio Maceo in Santiago de Cuba, the Holy Father granted the Golden Rose to the Virgin of Charity of Cobre, a distinction created by Pope Leo IX in 1049 to distinguish individuals, institutions and symbols of the Catholic religion.

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