Pope Benedict XVI is quite a guy. Even for those who are not Catholic, his profile and presence speak volumes. I've learned the following:
- Just because you are 81 doesn't mean you can't make the most of your position. See Benedict's grueling itinerary below.
- Putting a problem on the table is always the best solution. Benedict met yesterday with victims of sexual abuse.
- Visits matter. While Benedict is only in the States for a few days, his speeches and initiatives will take months to digest.
From meeting with thousands of people to President Bush to victims of sexual abuse, Benedict has made the most of his visit to the U.S. Imagine the average 81 year old following this itinerary:
Andrews Air Force Base
Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Maryland and is greeted by President and
Mrs. Bush as well as church officials. During his visit to Washington,
D.C., the pope will stay at the Vatican Embassy, on Massachusetts
Welcoming ceremony and private meeting with
President Bush. This is only the second time a pontiff has visited the
White House. John Paul II was the first.
National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Prayer service and meeting with 350 U.S. bishops at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
The pope offers Mass. This will be the first non-baseball event in the new park.
Catholic University of America
Address to the leaders of more than 200 Catholic colleges and
superintendents from the 195 U.S. Catholic dioceses on the importance
of Catholic education.
Pope John Paul II Cultural Center
Meeting with Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Jews and representatives from other religions.
Kennedy International Airport
Arrives in New York. During his visit, the pope will stay at the East
72nd Street residence of Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the papal
nuncio to the United Nations.
Gives address to the General Assembly, as did Pope Paul VI in 1965 and Pope John Paul II in 1979 and 1995.
Park East Synagogue
Meets with Jewish clergy.
Church of St. Joseph
Prayer service with leaders from other Christian denominations.
St. Patrick's Cathedral
Mass for priests, deacons and members of religious orders.
St. Joseph's Seminary
Meeting with young Catholics, including 50 with disabilities.
Visit to ground zero.
The pope offers Mass. The 200th anniversary
of the Baltimore Archdiocese and the anniversaries of the Dioceses of
Boston, New York, Louisville and Philadelphia will be celebrated.
Kennedy International Airport departure