Pope Prepares For U.S. Visit

Pope Benedict XVI leaves the San Bartolemeo Basilica at the end of his visit at the church in Rome, Monday, April 7, 2008 on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Comunita' di Sant'Egidio, a Rome-based lay Catholic organization. (AP Photo/Alberto Pizzoli, pool)
Pope Benedict says he hopes his trip to the United States will be seen as a "fraternal gesture" toward all Christian denominations and a "sign of friendship" by other religions.

Benedict has asked the faithful to pray for the success of his trip to Washington and New York. He will meet with President Bush, visit a Manhattan synagogue and address the United Nations next week.

In a videotaped message to U.S. Catholics, Benedict says he will bring a message of hope to the U.N. -- in his words, "hope for peace, for justice, and for freedom."

During his visit, Benedict also will address the presidents of Roman Catholic colleges and universities and celebrate Masses at Nationals Park and Yankee Stadium.