Pope’s first pastoral visit of the season to take off tomorrow

Pope Benedict XVI’s first pastoral visit of the season, set to take off tomorrow, will technically take him abroad, but not very far. The Patriarchal See of Venice will be his host for a two-day visit, specifically the cities of Aquileia (on Saturday), Mestre and Venice (on Sunday) . Having provided three popes (Saint Pope Pius X, Blessed Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul I) in the twentieth century alone, the See of Venice is an ancient and venerable one in the Catholic Church in Italy and the world. It is currently helmed by Patriarch Angelo Cardinal Sodano.

Pope Benedict’s visit will feature encounters with faithful, a his attending a preparatory meeting for Pentecost 2012’s Congress of Aquileia, the veneration of the relics of St. Mark, and outdoor Mass, a meeting with cultural and economical representatives, the blessing of a recently restored chapel in the Basilica of St. Mark and the inauguration of the Studium Generale Marcianum library.

As usual, I’ll do my best to provide some interesting ‘papal soundbytes’ of the Holy Father’s various addresses, homilies and interviews.