Pope Benedict XVI touches down in Sydney


His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has touched down in Sydney following the longest journey in his life on Alitalia flight AZ4000 from Rome, travelling for 19 hours 45 minutes and 16,418 kilometres.

This historic visit to Australia is his ninth apostolic visit outside of Italy. Descending from the aircraft, the Pope was greeted on the tarmac by the Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, and the Premier of NSW, Morris Iemma amongst other dignitaries. Following the brief greeting, he then travelled by car to the Kenthurst Study Centre, where he will spend time privately until the evening of Wednesday 16 July. The Pope was greeted by: Government officials Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd A representative of the Governor General Premier of NSW, Morris Iemma Mr Brian Davies, Official Secretary to the Governor of NSW, representative of the Governor Senator the Hon Ursula Stephens Deputy Premier of NSW, John Watkins RAAF Base Richmond Base Commander Church Officials Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney Archbishop Philip Wilson, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Archbishop of Adelaide Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, President of the Pontifical Council of the Laity Bishop Anthony Fisher OP, WYD08 Coordinator, Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney Monsignor Josef Clemens, Secretary of the Pontifical Council of the Laity Bishop Kevin Manning, Bishop of Parramatta Bishop Max Davis, Military Ordinariate The Holy Father is accompanied by 72 passengers; 27 Members of the Papal entourage, 43 Vatican Accredited Media Personnel, 2 assistants (1 Assistant of the Director of the Holy See Press Office and 1 Assistant for Air Transportation). The Papal entourage for this visit includes: State Secretary of His Holiness Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone Substitute of the State Secretary Monsignor Fernando Filoni Master of Liturgical Ceremonies of the Holy Father, Monsignor Guido Marini with two assistants Personal Assistant and the Camera Assistant of the Holy Father Two Officials of the State Secretary The Director of the Organisation of the Apostolic Voyage, Dr Alberto Gasbarri, with an assistant Director of the Holy See Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, SI Director of the L’Osservatore Romano, Professor Giovanni Maria Vian The Holy Father’s Personal Doctor, Dr Renato Buzzonetti with a doctor from the Vatican City’s Health Services General Inspector of the Vatican City State’s Police, Dr Domenico Giani with four agents An officer and a petty officer of the Pontifical Swiss Guard Two technicians of the Vatican Radio Two operators of the Vatican Television Centre Photographer from the l’Osservatore Romano.

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