Holy Father Aims to Stay Active in 2005

Plans for World Youth Day and a Synod on the Eucharist

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 6, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Despite fragile health, John Paul II has begun the new year with the same program of celebrations and public events as last year.

During the Christmas season the 84-year-old Pope kept up the Wednesday general audiences for thousands of the faithful. He also maintained his Angelus addresses to pilgrims on Sundays and feast days.

This Friday the Holy Father plans to resume his ordinary schedule of audiences with dignitaries of state, bishops from around the world, aides in the Roman Curia, and pilgrims.

This year he aims to dedicate a good part of his time welcoming bishops during their five-yearly visits to Rome. These visits will resume in the first weeks of January.

In the spring, John Paul II will publish a new book, «Memory and Identity: Conversation Between Millenniums,» on key themes of the 20th century.

He also hopes to travel to World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany, in August.

Bishop Renato Boccardo, organizer of papal trips and secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, said that the August journey is the only trip so far confirmed for 2005, «but that does not mean there will not be others.»

In Italy, some Vatican-watchers think that John Paul II may visit the city of Bari in order to participate in the Italian National Eucharistic Congress, which takes place May 21-29.

Cardinal Jozef Glemp, archbishop of Warsaw and primate of Poland, has said that the Pope might visit his homeland in June. Ireland’s bishops already have invited the Holy Father to visit the island nation.

In July, the Pope plans to vacation in the Italian Alps, as in previous years.

Among the beatifications planned this year are those of Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916), a French explorer-turned-monk; Cardinal Clemens August von Galen (1878-1946), the «Lion of Muenster» who spoke out against Hitler; and 13 martyrs of the 1920s persecution in Mexico.

A Synod of Bishops, on the Eucharist, is scheduled for Oct. 2-29. This event would close out the Year of the Eucharist.

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