President Bush to Greet Pope at Start of Visit Next Month

Pope Benedict XVI will be greeted by President Bush at Andrews Air Force Base next month at the start of the pontiff's weeklong U.S. trip, the Vatican said Monday.

The Vatican released the pope's itinerary for the April 15-20 visit, saying that Bush and first lady Laura Bush would give the pope a private welcome upon his arrival at the base.

There was no immediate confirmation from the White House.

Bush is scheduled to preside over a formal welcome ceremony on the White House South Lawn on the second day of the visit before hosting the pontiff in the Oval Office.

The president traditionally greets visitors at the White House. The most elaborate welcome has been a South Lawn ceremony with trumpet salutes, booming cannons and the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, dressed in 18th-century uniform, parading by the reviewing stand and invited guests.

The White House has said that during their meeting, the president and pope would continue discussions they began during Bush's trip to the Vatican in June on the importance of faith and reason in reaching shared goals.

During Benedict's U.S. visit, his first as pope, the pontiff is due to speak at the United Nations, pray at ground zero in New York, and celebrate Mass in Washington's Nationals Park and Yankee Stadium in New York.