Cardinal to Stand In for John Paul II at Sept. 28 Mass

VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 23, 2004 ( Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, dean of the College of Cardinals, will substitute John Paul II on Sept. 28 in the celebration of the Mass for the eternal repose of deceased popes.

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The «Calendar of Liturgical Celebrations of the Holy Father» for the rest of the year, published three days ago, had announced that the Pope would preside at this Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. During this Mass John Paul II’s immediate predecessors, John Paul I and Paul VI, are especially remembered.

The change in program was announced today by the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff.

On Wednesday, during the general audience, the Pope seemed more tired than in previous public engagements. He continues, however, to follow his ordinary agenda.

Today, John Paul II met in Castel Gandolfo with the participants in a Benedictine congress and meeting. He also met four bishops of the Colombian episcopal conference, on their five-yearly visit to Rome.

John Paul II plans to return to the Vatican next week, after having spent most of the summer in the papal residence of Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome.

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