Pope Benedict XVI made an apostolic journey to Mexico and Cuba from 23-29 March 2012. On the first day of his travels when he was in the city of León (State of Guanajuato), he addressed hundreds of thousands of people and expressed his hopes for a renewed apostolic outreach to the Spanish-speaking peoples of the American continent. The following day, in the Bicentenary Park of León, he recalled the serious difficulties affecting the country, offering his prayers for families living in hardship. On 26 March the Pope began the next segment of his itinerary taking him to Cuba. Addressing a huge crowd gathered for the Mass he celebrated in Havana, he affirmed that for the Church to carry out its mission of evangelization “she must count on basic religious freedom, which consists in her beng able to proclaim and to celebrate her faith also in public, bringing to others the message of love, reconciliation and peace which Jesus brought to the world.” Pope Benedict XVI then underscored the need to “encourage the country’s Government authorities to strengthen what has already been achieved and advance along this path of genuine service to the true good of Cuban society as a whole”. In conclusion, he paid tribute to his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, recalling his historic apostolic journey to Cuba in 1998. From 14-16 September, Pope Benedict XVI travelled to the troubled land of Lebanon for his next apostolic journey. During the visit, he promulgated the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, which took place in the Vatican from 10-24 October 2010, focusing on the theme, “The Catholic Church in the Middle East: Communion and Witness.” The visit concluded with a special Mass presided over by the Holy Father in Beirut.