In this booklet, well-known Vatican inside observer John L. Allen, Jr., drawing from the writings and speeches of the Holy Father, shares the ten most important things that Pope Be... Read more
Photo: CNS photo/Joshua Roberts
A smiling Pope Benedict XVI acknowledges the crowd after they spontaneously sang "Happy Birthday" to him during a welcoming ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington April 16. The pope, who is on a three-day visit to the nation's capital, will say Mass at Nationals Park and meet with Catholic leaders at The Catholic University of America before traveling to the New York on April 18.
The Pope Welcomed by President Bush
ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, Maryland, APRIL 15, 2008 (Zenit.org).— Pope Benedict XVI was welcomed to the United States on Tuesday in an unprecedented reception by President George Bush.
Bush, accompanied by his wife and daughter Jenna, went to Andrews Air Force Base to receive the Pope — an honor the president has never given to a visiting head of state.
The Holy Father, aboard an Alitalia Boeing 777, called Shepherd One, landed at the base under blue skies around 4 p.m., local time. He was greeted by 800 students, members of military families, and parishioners from four Washington-area parishes.
During the flight, the Holy Father had a short press conference with some 70 journalists on board.
Responding to their questions, the Pope said that the secular state's relationship with faith as it exists in the United States is a "fundamental model" that should be imitated in Europe.
The Bishop of Rome praised "the positive concept of the secular" in this country because it exists to give "authenticity and liberty" to the faith.
While the simple arrival ceremony did not include any public addresses, Sgt. Heidi Ortiz of Langley Air Force Base, said she wouldn't have missed the Pope's arrival for the world. Having won a ticket to come to the event in a lottery of military personnel, Ortiz told ZENIT that she feels like the Pope is a true representation of Jesus, and that just his presence was enough.
Others who welcomed the Pope were Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, president of the U.S. episcopal conference; Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington; Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Military Services; and the new U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, Mary Ann Glendon.
After the welcome ceremony, the Pope went by car to the residence of the apostolic nuncio, where he will stay until he leaves for New York on Friday.
The Holy Father will start off the day on Wednesday, his 81st birthday, with a private Mass in the nunciature chapel, followed by a morning reception at the White House and a private meeting with the president.
The five-day U.S. trip has the theme "Christ Our Hope" and includes two cities — Washington and New York — a stop at ground zero and an address to the United Nations.