Smiles, cheers, waves and speeches! That's the kind of day it's been for Pope Benedict XVI and Vatican officials as day 2 of his apostolic voyage to Benin
comes to a close.
The Holy Father made his first address
of the day to members of the Benin government, diplomatics corps and representatives of Benin's major religions in a meeting at Cotonou's Presidential Palace.
As the day went on, Pope Benedict visited the tomb of his close friend and renowned Beninese citizen Cardinal Bernardin Gantin in the courtyard of St. Gall Seminary in Ouidah. Following that, he spoke to an enthusiastic crowd of seminarians, men and women religious and lay faithful
Moving forward, the Holy Father visited the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, where he formally signed the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the Church in Africa
In one of his most touching events yet, Pope Benedict returned to the city of Cotonou where he met with children from St. Rita's Parish at the "Peace and Joy Centre", a beautiful community run by the Missionaries of Charity. Here is his address
Last but not least, the Holy Father finished his day by speaking to the Bishops of Benin
at the Apostolic Nunciature in Cotonou.
S+L was privileged to speak with Vatican spokesperson Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J. earlier in the day. Be sure to catch his phone interview with S+L's Alicia Ambrosio during our rebroadcast tonight at 8:00pm ET / 5:00pm PT.
The apostolic voyage will soon be coming to an end. As we look ahead to tomorrow's Mass and departure ceremony, we pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to inspire Pope Benedict. May the people and government of Benin also find strength and courage during this special time and may they become "salt of the earth" and "light for the world", as called for by the theme of the papal visit. Amen.
Credit: CNS Photo / Paul Haring