Improving Pope plans regular Christmas schedule
Pope John Paul II appeared to be continuing his physical recovery as he presided at his final Sunday audience of this liturgical year over the weekend.
The Vatican announced that he will lead all of the traditional Christmas ceremonies in Rome. The difficulty that he had obviously suffered in moving or speaking during his few public appearances in October had raised questions about whether he would be able to fulfill his regular schedule.
However the Holy Father will not preside at the traditional consecration of new bishops on 6 January, the Feast of the Epiphany. He will also break his tradition of baptising children on the feast of the Baptism of Christ later in January. Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano will stand in.
At his regular Angelus audience on the feast of Christ the King at the weekend - the final Sunday of the Church's liturgical year - the Pope referred to Christ the Pantocrator, using the Byzantine term for the Almighty. He remarked that the goal of every believer's life should be "building up the kingdom of Christ".
On Saturday night he had attended a concert in the Paul VI auditorium to celebrate the feast of St. Cecilia, the patron saint of musicians. The Italian Association of St. Cecilia performed The Passion according to St. Mark, by Italian composer Lorenzo Perosi.
Pope, still improving, plans to fulfill regular Christmas schedule (Catholic World News 24/11/03)
John Paul II
Jesus Christ: Pantocrator (Bridge Building Images)
25 Nov 2003