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 CNS Story:

POPE-NY Jul-16-2007 (330 words) xxxn

New York Archdiocese says pope to address U.N. next spring

By Catholic News Service

NEW YORK (CNS) -- The Archdiocese of New York said it was delighted that Pope Benedict XVI "will be addressing the United Nations here in New York this coming spring."

A statement issued July 16 by Joseph Zwilling, New York archdiocesan communications director, was apparently the first official indication that such a visit would take place in the spring. Earlier reports only had the pope possibly coming sometime next year.

Zwilling told Catholic News Service July 16 that unnamed sources said the pope would be visiting in the spring instead of late September, when the new session of the U.N. General Assembly opens, because of next year's presidential elections.

The mid-July news reports on the possible papal trip to New York were triggered by comments by the Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi. He told reporters in Lorenzago di Cadore, Italy, where the pope was vacationing in July, that in addition to the planned papal trip to Australia next summer for World Youth Day, the Vatican also is looking at other possible trips next year, including a U.N. visit.

He did not give a date for the visit or for another possible trip next year to the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in France to mark the 150th anniversary of the Marian apparitions there.

It would be Pope Benedict's first visit to the United Nations and his first visit as pope to the United States. Pope John Paul II addressed the United Nations in 1979 and 1995, and Pope Paul VI did so in 1965.

In the New York statement, Zwilling said the archdiocese is looking forward to welcoming the pope and awaits "details about his visit."

He said Cardinal Edward M. Egan of New York had told the pope during the previous week that the archdiocese will be praying that the papal visit to New York "will be crowned with every grace and blessing."


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