Report: Berri, Miqati to Head to Rome for Pope's Inauguration

Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Najib Miqati are expected to travel to Rome on Saturday night to attend the new pope's inauguration and congratulate him on his election, An Nahar daily reported.

Environment Minister Nazem al-Khoury will accompany Berri and Miqati, it said.

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi will also attend the inauguration mass of Pope Francis that will take place on Tuesday -- the Feast of St. Joseph, the patron saint of the universal church.

Religious officials expected Lebanese Catholic leaders to attend the event as well.

President Michel Suleiman will not likely attend the mass for being on an African tour until March 21.

Francis has called on the faithful in his native Argentina not to fly in for the mass but rather give the money the trip would have cost to charity. Nonetheless, heads of state from all over the world are expected to be present.

The new pontiff is due to meet his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who has withdrawn to the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, on March 23.

The first Jesuit pope and first non-European since the Middle Ages, decided to call himself Francis after St. Francis of Assisi, the humble friar who dedicated his life to helping the poor.

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