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Pope plans full Holy Week schedule

Although the Holy Father's physical frailty has forced some concessions, John Paul II plans to preside as usual at all of the traditional services for Holy Week and the Easter Triduum.

Details of the schedule were released yesterday Archbishop Piero Marini, the master of ceremonies for papal liturgies.

Holy Week will begin with a morning Mass in St Peter's Square on Passion Sunday. The Pope will bless palms and olive branches from his place at the foot of the obelisk in the middle of that state, then preside at the Mass and reading of the Passion.

On Holy Thursday, he will preside at the annual Chrism Mass, at which the holy oils used for sacramental purposes are blessed. That ceremony will be held in St. Peter's Basilica, with the clergy of Rome gathered together with the Roman Pontiff "as a sign of the close union between the pastor of the universal Church and his brothers in the priestly ministry."

Later that same day, the Pope will preside at the Mass of the Lord's Supper in St Peter's. On Good Friday the Pope will lead the commemoration of Christ's Passion, again in St. Peter's, in the afternoon.

Then he will cross the city of Rome to lead the traditional evening Stations of the Cross at the Coliseum. This year the Holy Father will not make the process around the Stations, but will remain in one place, delivering a short address and blessing when the ceremony is concluded.

Finally, on Easter Sunday morning the Pope will celebrate Mass in St. Peter's Square, to be followed by his Urbi et Orbi message, delivered as usual in about 60 different languages.

Pope plans full Holy Week schedule (Catholic World News 30/3/04)

Holy Week celebrations presided by Pope (Vatican Information Service 30/3/04)
Pope to Preside at All Holy Week, Easter Ceremonies (Reuters 30/3/04)
Pope Says an Evangelizing Parish Must Be United (Zenit 29/3/04)

31 Mar 2004