Department of Communications
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
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Set Ethnic Theme for Papal Departure
People from ethnic cultures of other parts of the world, ranging from Asia and the Americas to Africa and Europe, will display their diversity at the farewell ceremony when Pope Benedict XVI concludes his apostolic journey to New York at Kennedy International Airport Sunday evening, April 20.
Prayers in various languages, persons wearing the traditional garb of their native countries and a gift from the Diocese of Brooklyn to the Holy Father presented by four youngsters representing foreign lands will permeate the program, said Father Anthony M. Hernandez, who is coordinating the papal events at the airport.
"This will be a multicultural event, as requested by Bishop (Nicholas) DiMarzio, who asked that it reflect the ethnic diversity of the metropolitan area," he said.
Four elementary school-age children will present the diocesan gift to Pope Benedict. They represent families whose forebears came to this country from Germany, Ecuador, Trinidad and Korea.
Fifteen hundred representatives of more than 20 ethnic apostolates of the Diocese will be represented in the audience at the departure ceremony. Among them will be Filipinos, Poles, Brazilians, Nigerians, Croatians, Ghanaians and Vietnamese.
Father Hernandez said Bishop DiMarzio's desire was for the guests to participate in a prayerful buildup to the Holy Father's arrival.
In light of that, the departure ceremony, which is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m., will follow a program of prayer, including a Scriptural multilingual recitation of the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary, and religious and classical music performed by more than 200 singers and musicians.
The Rosary will be recited in 23 languages, including Mandarin and Cantonese Chinese, Gaelic, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, Romanian and Urdu.
Pope Benedict will address the more than 3,000 guests, as will a representative of the White House whose name has not been announced. Bishop DiMarzio will be the master of ceremonies. Edward Cardinal Egan will be among the ecclesiastical dignitaries who will attend.
The Bishop and other members of the hierarchy will come to the airport ceremony from Yankee Stadium, where the Holy Father will celebrate Mass before 57,000 of the faithful.