Most Reverend Joseph A. Galante and 23 priests of the diocese will travel to Washington, D.C. next week for the visit of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI.
On Wednesday, April 16, the 350 bishops of the United States, including Bishop Galante, will participate in a 5:30 p.m. private prayer service and meeting with Holy Father at crypt of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
The following day, Thursday, April 17, Bishop Galante will concelebrate at the 10:00 a.m. Papal Mass at the new Nationals Park in Washington, the first non-baseball event to be held at the park. 23 priests from the Diocese of Camden also will attend the Mass there.
The Holy Father will arrive in Washington on April 15 at Andrews Air Force Base. He will be greeted there by President Bush and Mrs. Bush. Also present will be local dignitaries of the church and the apostolic nuncio. The following day, April 16, President Bush and the First Lady will meet the Holy Father on the south lawn of the White House, which will be followed by a private meeting between the Holy Father and the President. It is only the second time in history that a pontiff has visited the White House (Pope John Paul II was greeted by President Carter in 1979).
The Holy Father concludes the Washington leg of his visit Thursday with a 5:00 p.m. meeting of Catholic educators at the Catholic University of America. Monsignor Roger E. McGrath, vicar general and moderator of the curia of the Diocese of Camden will represent the diocese there. Later that evening, the Holy Father will meet at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington with Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, and Jewish leaders, and representatives of other religious traditions, before flying to New York on Friday morning.
More than 500 parishioners from the six counties of the diocese will attend the Papal Mass at Yankee stadium Sunday afternoon, April 20, while 200 Catholic high school students from South Jersey will participate in a youth rally and prayer service at St. Joseph Seminary in Younkers on April 19.