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Vatican hesitates on Pope's public schedule

Concerns about the Holy Father's health, in particular his ability to travel, have forced Vatican officials to hold off on firm schedule commitments for the first part of this year.

However the Vatican Information Office has released a reduced schedule of public liturgical ceremonies at which Pope John Paul II will preside during February and March. None of his public appearances will take place outside the confines of the Vatican.

Yesterday the Pope presided at a Mass in St Peter's Basilica for the annual Day for Consecrated Life, preaching the homily and giving his blessing to the congregation, but not acting as principal celebrant.

On 11 February, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, the Pope will again preside at a Mass in the Vatican basilica (again, not as principal celebrant); at the conclusion of the Eucharistic liturgy he will bless the sick.

On 19 February, he will attend an ordinary consistory, approving decrees advancing the causes of candidates for beatification and canonisation, in the Clementine Hall at the apostolic palace.

Vatican releases Pope's pared-down public schedule (Catholic World News 2/2/03)

3 Feb 2004