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A return to America

· Schedule of the Pope's visit in Cuba and the United States announced ·

From 19-27 September the Holy Father will make his 10th international visit. The official schedule for Cuba and the United States — where the Holy Father will participate in the 8th World Meeting of Families — as well as the United Nations was announced on Wednesday, 30 June, in the Holy See Press Office.

It will be Pope Bergoglio's third visit to the Americas, after visiting Brazil in 2013 for World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, and recently in Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. In total the Pontiff is expected to deliver 24 addresses and homilies.

The first stop will be in Havana where he is scheduled to arrive on Saturday afternoon, 19 September, for a welcome ceremony at the airport in the Cuban capital. On Sunday morning, the Holy Father will celebrate Mass in Plaza de la Revolución,a place which also recalls the visits of John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

That afternoon, the Holy Father will go to Palacio de la Revolución to visit President Raúl Castro. On Monday, 21 September, he will travel to the city of Holguín, located 150 kilometres from the capital, to celebrate the second Mass of the visit. In the afternoon, Pope Francis will travel to Santiago de Cuba, the country's second-most important city, where on Tuesday, 22 September, he will pray at the Marian Shrine of Nuestra Señora de la Caridad del Cobre.

Next the Pope will fly to Washington where on Tuesday, 23 September, he will go to the White House to visit President Barak Obama. In the afternoon he will preside at the canonization of the Franciscan Spanish missionary Junípero Serra at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The following day, after visiting the United States Congress and a group of homeless men and women at a charitable center, Pope Francis will travel to New York and preside at Vespers in St Patrick's Cathedral.

On Friday morning, 25 September, the Pope will speak to the General Assembly of the United Nations and meet with the staff. Before him, Paul VI spoke to the UN in 1965, John Paul II twice, in 1979 and 1995, and then Benedict XVI in 2008. Next the Pope will visit the Ground Zero memorial of the World Trade Center attacks on September 11th with other religious leaders. That afternoon the Pope will meet with migrant families in Harlem and then celebrate Mass in Madison Square Garden.

On Saturday, 26 September, the Pope will travel to Philadelphia to celebrate Mass in the Cathedral. In the afternoon, after meeting with the Hispanic community as well as other migrants, he will participate in the celebration for families, presiding at the prayer vigil.

On Sunday, 27 September, the Pope will meet with the bishops taking part in the World Meeting of Families. Then he will visit detainees at Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Philadelphia. He will celebrate the Mass concluding the World Meeting that afternoon and consign the Gospel of Luke to five families representing the continents. These families are from Hanoi, Kinshasa, Havana, Marseilles and Sydney.

At 7:45 pm a farewell ceremony will be held at the Philadelphia airport. From there the Holy Father will depart for Rome, where he is expected to arrive at 10 am the next morning, Monday,28 September.

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