Vatican: Pope to visit United States from April 15 to 21
( dpa ) - The Vatican announced Friday the dates and itinerary of Pope Benedict XVI's scheduled visit to the United States from April 15 to 21.
Benedict is set to leave Rome on April 15 for Washington where he is scheduled to remain through April 18, the Vatican said in a statement.
The pontiff who turns 81 on April 16 is thus likely to celebrate his birthday in the US capital.
Benedict is slated on April 19 to arrive in New York - where a visit to the United Nations headquarters is also planned - before returning to Rome on April 21.
The Vatican said that a more detailed programme of the pontiff's trip would be made available at a later date.
The pontiff is likely to meet in Washington President George W Bush at the White House and US bishops at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, US and Italian news reports said.
In New York, Benedict is expected to meet representatives from several religious faiths and celebrate Mass at St Patrick's Cathedral and the city's baseball Yankee Stadium, the reports said.
The pontiff is also expected to pay his respects at "Ground Zero" the site of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.