Very shortly Pope Benedict XVI will arrive in Germany. I hope to blog extensively on the trip. During the course of the Holy Father's trip, he will visit "Munich, the city of which he was archbishop from 1977 to 1982; the Altoetting Shrine, symbol of Bavarian Catholicism; Marktl am Inn, his birthplace; and Regensburg, where he was professor, where his brother lives, and where members of his family are buried" (Source: Zenit).
The Holy Father said the purpose of his visit is "... precisely because I want to see again the places where I grew up, the people who touched and shaped my life. I want to thank these people...Naturally I also want to express a message that goes beyond my country, just as my ministry calls me to do. The basic theme is that we have to rediscover God, not just any God, but the God that has a human face, because when we see Jesus Christ we see God."
The Holy Father's schedule (source):
September 9 & 10:
- Land in Munich's Franz Joseph Strauss airport; welcome ceremony
- Visit the Column of the Virgin in Munich's Marienplatz
- Meet the German President Horst Koehler, Chancellor Angela Merkel, and the Minister-President Edmund Stoiber of Bavaria.
- Celebrate Mass
- Travel to the Marian shrine of Altotting by helicopter where he will celebrate the Eucharist
- Visit and inauguration of the Chapel of the Miraculous Image in Altotting
- Participate in Marian vespers with religious and seminarians of Bavaria in the basilica of St. Ann
- Visit his birthplace of Marktl am Inn and the parish church of St. Oswald
- Tour the major seminary of St. Wolfgang in Rosenburg
- Celebrate Mass on Regensburg's Islinger Field
- Meet with representatives from the world of science in the Great Hall of the University of Regensburg
- Attend an ecumenical celebration of Vespers in the city's cathedral
- Bless the new organ of Regensburg's Alte Kapelle - where his brother was previously the director
- Visit his brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, and visit the cemetery where his parents and sister are buried
- Visit Freising to meet with priests and permanent deacons of Bavaria in the cathedral of Sts. Mary and Corbinian
- Leave Germany for Rome