MIAMI - APRIL 07: A listing for Havana and Holguin, Cuba is seen on the departure display at Miami International Airport on April 7, 2009 in Miami, Florida. Reports indicate that U.S. President Barack Obama plans to loosen restrictions on family travel and remittances to Cuba. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)2009 Getty Images
Miami – The Catholic Archdiocese of Miami announced Friday that it has arranged for additional flights to Cuba for pilgrims who want to see Pope Benedict XVI during his March 26-28 visit to the island.
"Organized by Airline Brokers, additional flights are now available departing from Fort Lauderdale on March 24, and from Miami on March 25 and 27," the archdiocese said in a news release.
The archdiocese expressed satisfaction last month after receiving 1,000 requests to reserve seats on flights to Cuba for the papal visit.
"We didn't know what to expect, but we are happy with the positive response from the people, not only from the Cuban community, but from other Latino communities of Catholics from throughout the United States," a spokesperson for the archdiocese told Efe.
Archbishop Thomas Wenski will depart from Miami for Santiago de Cuba on March 26, accompanied by more than 300 other pilgrims.
The 84-year-old pope is to arrive in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba on March 26 and his visit coincides with the 2012 Jubilee Year to mark the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the image of the Virgin of Charity, the island's patron saint.
Benedict XVI is scheduled to offer outdoor Masses in both Santiago and Havana.