April 23, 2012

Pope Benedict will visit Lebanon Sept. 14-16, Maronite Catholic Patriarch Bechara Rai announced during Easter Mass at the patriarchal seat in Bkerke, Lebanon.

Rai said the pope will meet with the country's religious and civil officials, including President Michel Sleiman, a Maronite Catholic.

During an open-air Mass in Beirut Sept. 16, the pope will present the apostolic exhortation on the October 2010 special Synod of Bishops.

It marks the pope's second visit to the Middle East; in May 2009 he visited Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories.

The announcement comes amid increased concern over the plight of Christians across the Middle East, emigrating in increasing numbers.