Pope Benedict XVI in Poland on a four-day Apostolic visit
(May 25, 2006) : Thousands of people, waving flags of the Vatican and of Poland, welcomed
Pope Benedict XVI, as the Alitalia Airbus carrying him and his entourage touched down
at Warsaw’s International Airport in Poland, Thursday morning.
the Pontiff as he stepped off the plane was Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his
wife. Present also were several Church dignitaries- among them Cardinal Jozef Glemp
Archbishop of Warsaw and Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz -Archbishop of Krakow and political
and civil authorities. Pope Benedict’s pilgrimage to the Polish homeland of his predecessor,
will take him to places that were central in the life and spiritual formation of Pope
John Paul II, who died last year April 2, after a reign of more than 26 years as Pontiff.
The theme of this visit is “Stand firm in your faith”, and the main purpose of Pope
Benedict’s pilgrimage is to urge Poles to defend their Christian heritage as they
integrate into an increasingly secularised Europe.
Pope Benedict was given
an official welcome with military honours and as he reached the podium with the President,
the band struck the national Anthems of the Vatican and of Poland. From the Airport,
Pope Benedict left for Warsaw’s St. John Cathedral and later for his meeting with
the Polish clergy. In the evening Pope Benedict XVI paid a courtesy visit to the Polish
President at the Palace in Warsaw. The first day of Pope Benedict’s visit to Poland
concluded with an ecumenical meeting at the Lutheran Church of the Most Holy Trinity