VATICAN CITY, FEB. 2, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The Vatican has released a schedule of the liturgical celebrations over which Benedict XVI will preside during Lent and Easter, as well as approval of three beatifications in April.
Lent will begin on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 21. At 5 p.m. Benedict XVI will preside over Mass and the blessing and imposition of ashes in the Roman Basilica of St. Sabina, according to the calendar published Thursday by the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff.
At 6 p.m. the following Sunday, Feb. 25 — the first of Lent — the Pope and Curia will begin their spiritual exercises in the Apostolic Palace’s Redemptoris Mater Chapel. That retreat ends Saturday, March 3. During that week, the Holy Father will suspend his audiences and dedicate himself to prayer.
At 9:30 a.m. on the Fifth Sunday of Lent, March 25, Benedict XVI will make a pastoral visit to the Roman parish of St. Felicity and Martyred Sons and preside over Mass.
At 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 29, the Pope will preside over a penitential celebration with the young people of the Diocese of Rome in St. Peter’s Basilica.
At 9:30 a.m. on Palm Sunday, April 1, the start of Holy Week, the Pope will preside over the blessing of palms, the procession and Mass in St. Peter’s Square.
On April 2, Benedict XVI will preside over a Mass in St. Peter’s for the repose of the soul of Pope John Paul II at 5:30 p.m.
At 9:30 a.m. on Holy Thursday, April 5, the Chrism Mass will be celebrated in St. Peter’s, and at 5:30 p.m. the Easter triduum will begin with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper celebrated in the Basilica of St. John Lateran. Benedict XVI will preside over both celebrations.
At 5 p.m. on Good Friday, April 6, the Holy Father will preside over the celebration of the Lord’s Passion, in St. Peter’s Basilica and, at 9:15 p.m., over the Way of the Cross, at the Colosseum.
Benedict XVI will also preside over the Easter Vigil Mass that begins at 10 p.m. on Holy Saturday, April 7, in St. Peter’s Basilica.
At 10:30 a.m. on Easter Sunday, April 8, the Holy Father will preside over the Mass in St. Peter’s Square and at noon will impart the blessing “urbi et orbi” (to the city and the world) from the central balcony of the Vatican basilica.
On April 15, the Second Sunday of Easter, Benedict XVI will celebrate Mass on the occasion of his 80th birthday
On April 21-22, the Holy Father will travel to Vigevano and Pavia, in Italy.
At 9 a.m. on April 29, the Fourth Sunday of Easter, the Pope will preside over the priestly ordination of deacons of the Diocese of Rome.
The Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff also announced that in April three beatifications will take place in Italy.
On Saturday, April 14, at 3:30 p.m. the beatification will take place in the Church of the Holy Face in Turin, of the Servant of God Luigi Boccardo.
On Sunday, April 15, at 10:30 a.m., the Second Sunday of Easter, the beatification will take place in the Cathedral of Castellammare di Stabia, of the Servant of God Maria Magdalena of the Passion, born Costanza Starace.
On Sunday, April 29, at 10:30 a.m., the Fourth Sunday of Easter, the beatification will take place in the Cathedral of Rimini, of the Servant of God Maria Rosa Pellesi.