VATICAN CITY, JAN. 16, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Despite frail health, John Paul II plans to maintain a busy calendar of liturgical celebrations leading up to Easter, March 27.
The calendar, published Saturday by the Vatican press office, lists five liturgical celebrations in February, when Lent begins, and eight in March, particularly during the Easter triduum.
In addition, the Pope is maintaining his usual rhythm of Wednesday general audiences; Sunday and feast-day Angelus addresses; as well as private audiences.
On Feb. 2, feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, and the Day of Consecrated Life, the Pope plans to preside at a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica with members of the institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life.
On Feb. 9, Ash Wednesday, he will participate in the celebration of the Word for the Imposition of Ashes.
On Feb. 11, memorial of the Virgin of Lourdes, John Paul II will greet the sick at the end of a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, which will be presided over by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, his vicar for Rome.
On Sunday, Feb. 13, the Pope will begin Spiritual Exercise together with the Roman Curia. During this week, the Pontiff will be dedicated to prayer and will suspend his audiences.
On Feb. 19, he will participate in the Mass and Eucharistic adoration organized for his meeting with young people of the Diocese of Rome.
On March 20, Palm Sunday, he will participate in a Mass that will mark the start of the Holy Week celebrations.
As every year, on Holy Thursday, March 24, there will be two Eucharistic celebrations. The Pope will participate in the Chrism Mass in the morning, together with the priests in Rome. The Easter triduum will begin in the afternoon with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper.
On March 25, Good Friday, the Pope will attend a celebration of the Lord’s Passion in St. Peter’s Basilica. That night, at 9:15 p.m., he plans to participate in the Via Crucis at the Colosseum.
On Holy Saturday, the Pope hopes to preside at the Easter Vigil Mass. This year it will begin earlier, at 7 p.m.
On Easter Sunday, the Mass of the day is scheduled, after which John Paul II will deliver his Easter message and impart his blessing “urbi et orbi” (to the city of Rome and the world).
The Holy Father aims to visit Cologne, Germany, for World Youth Day in August.