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VATICAN CITY, 18 APR 2008 (VIS) - This morning, the Pope celebrated a private Mass in the chapel of the apostolic nunciature in Washington D.C., then bid farewell to the staff there.

At 8.45 a.m. local time (2.45 p.m. in Rome) he boarded his aircraft and departed for New York, where he is scheduled to land at the John Fitzgerald Kennedy international airport at 9.45 a.m. He will then travel directly to the headquarters of the United Nations where, at 10.45 a.m. local time (4.45 in Rome), he will deliver an address before the General Assembly.


The General Assembly is formed of 192 member States. The president of this 62nd General Assembly is Srgjan Kerim, ambassador of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The secretary general of the United Nations is the Korean Ban Ki-moon, who was elected to office in October 2006.


At 5.10 p.m. (11.10 p.m. in Rome), having had lunch at the residence of the Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations, the Pope will visit New York's Park East Synagogue and, an hour later, attend an ecumenical meeting in the church of St. Joseph.