VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 22, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The 25th anniversary of John Paul II’s pontificate will provide a chance for all cardinals to meet to address crucial issues facing the Church.
The Holy See made this announcement Saturday when publishing the official calendar of celebrations for the Pope’s silver anniversary, which will culminate Oct. 19 with the beatification of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
Other scheduled events include a four-day meeting of the 164 members of the College of Cardinals, and a concert in the Holy Father’s honor.
At 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 15, the College of Cardinals will gather in the new synod hall for a four-day meeting, during which six cardinals will reflect on key themes.
Cardinal Bernardin Gantin, former dean of the college, will speak on “The Petrine Ministry and Communion in the Episcopacy”; Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger on “Priests, the Consecrated Life and Vocations”; Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo on the family; Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir on ecumenism; Cardinal Ivan Dias on missions; and Cardinal Angelo Sodano on “The 25 Years of Pontificate in Service to Peace.”
The cardinals, who where invited by the Pope to Rome for this anniversary, will be joined by the presidents of episcopal conferences, the heads of dicasteries of the Roman Curia, and by patriarchs.
John Paul II will not be present at the opening session but he will attend on the morning of Oct. 16, the anniversary of his 1978 election, during which he will sign the apostolic exhortation for the 2001 synod on the episcopal ministry.
The exhortation is dedicated to the figure of the bishop. In an interview with the Italian newspaper Avvenire, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, explained that although the handing of the document is a coincidence of dates, nevertheless “it is the gift that the Pope wishes to make on this occasion to all brothers in the episcopate and to their churches.”
The Holy Father will sign the exhortation in the Clementine Hall. At 6 p.m. that same day there will be a Mass in St. Peter’s Square to commemorate his election.
On Friday, Oct. 17, the College of Cardinals will meet again. At 6 p.m. in honor of John Paul II, there will be a concert in the Paul VI Hall offered by the choir and orchestra of Leipzig, who will perform Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Bruckner’s “Ecce Sacerdos Magnus.”
The Pope will address the cardinals during their final session on Oct. 18. His talk will follow the presentation of a message to him from the College of Cardinals at 1 p.m.
The Holy Father has invited the cardinals, heads of dicasteries, presidents of episcopal conferences, and patriarchs to lunch. At 5:30 there will be a missionary vigil in the Paul VI Hall, though the Pope is not scheduled to be present.
At 10 a.m. in St. Peter’s Square on Oct. 19, World Mission Sunday, John Paul II will preside at Mass during which he will beatify Mother Teresa.