Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tempus fugit

The Vatican is bringing the faithful nearer to heaven - by setting up its own charter airline to fly pilgrims to shrines and holy sites across the world.

The planes will be leased Boeing 737s painted in the Vatican colours of yellow, blue and white, and will have the slogan: "Looking for your face, Lord" painted on the fuselage.

Mistral Air plans to shuttle Catholic pilgrims around the globe to holy sites, including the shrine of Fatima in Portugal and the shrine of the Madonna of Guadalupe in Mexico.

"The spirit of this new initiative is to meet the growing demand by pilgrims to visit the most important sites for the faith," Father Cesare Atuire at the Vatican pilgrimage office, the Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi, told La Repubblica.

The aircraft will be operated by Italy's postal service.

The debut charter flight later this month will be to the shrine of Lourdes in France.

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