Pope Benedict XVI travels to Lebanon on Friday, bringing a message of peace for the whole of the Middle East – especially poignant due the to violence in neighbouring Syria.
It will be the Pontiff’s second foreign visit this year after trips to Mexico and Cuba in March.
“The commitment to dialogue and reconciliation must be a priority for all parties involved, and it must be supported by the international community, which increasingly recognises the importance to the world of lasting peace and sustainable development throughout the region” Pope Benedict told worshippers during an address in Gandolfo, Italy.
Up to 35 percent of the population in Lebanon is Christian and the country’s president must always be one, according to the constitution.
The Catholic leader’s visit is eagerly anticipated by some, like Lebanese film producer Suzi El-Hajj, who has written in a song in 16 languages: “Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Lebanon is historical and adds more glory to Lebanon.
“I wanted to write a song where young and old participate. It’s called ‘Papa Pax’, which means the ‘Pope of Peace’ in Latin’, because his message during his visit to Lebanon is ‘Peace I give you’.”
Pope Benedict’s message of peace could also provide words of comfort for the up 2.3 million Christians in Syria.