Most Concelebrants in Rome's History

Priestly Year’s Closing Mass to Highlight Purification

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 10, 2010 ( When the 15,000 priests who are in Rome to close the Year for Priests gather for Friday’s papal Mass, the Eternal City will witness a first in its history: the Eucharistic celebration with the greatest number of concelebrants.

Monsignor Guido Marini, master of papal liturgical ceremonies, noted this when he spoke about the Mass, also reporting that Benedict XVI will use a chalice that belonged to St. John Vianney.

A large tapestry with the image of the Curé d’Ars will hang on the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica during the Mass, and tens of thousands are expected to participate in St. Peter’s Square.

John Mary Vianney (1786-1859), added Monsignor Marini, «has been at the center of the Year for Priests and on this occasion will be proclaimed by the Holy Father patron of all priests.»

The Vatican aide also explained that there will be special moments in the Eucharistic celebration, such as «the rite of aspersion with holy water as a penitential act.»

«Four concelebrant cardinals will join the Holy Father to sprinkle the assembly,» he said. «This rite was chosen taking into account the solemnity of the Sacred Heart and making reference to the blood and water that gushed from the Lord’s heart as salvation for the world and also to take up again the topic of purification, about which, in different circumstances, the Holy Father has spoken recently.»

Monsignor Marini added: «After the homily, the priests will renew their priestly promises as on Holy Thursday in the Chrism Mass.

«At the end of the celebration, before the conclusive blessing, the Holy Father will renew the act of consecration of priests to the Most Holy Virgin, according to the formula used on the occasion of his recent pilgrimage to Fatima.»

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