VATICAN CITY, MARCH 28, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI will join the rosary that will be prayed in St. Peter’s Square this Sunday night to commemorate the last moments of Pope John Paul II’s life.
The Polish Pontiff died at 9:37 p.m. on April 2, 2005. Some 60,000 people had gathered in the square that night to pray the rosary for the dying Pope.
Shortly after, at the end of the Marian prayer, Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute of the Secretariat of State, announced to the world that “our Holy Father has returned to the Father’s House.”
The crowds, visibly moved, intoned the Salve Regina followed by prolonged applause. Most of the faithful knelt down, many with tears in their eyes.
These memories will be relived with the rosary, presided over by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the vicar for Rome.
Beginning at 8:30 p.m., the choir of the Diocese of Rome, directed by Monsignor Marco Frisina, will accompany the prayer with Marian songs and the reading of texts of Karol Wojtyla, according to a communiqué issued today by the Vicariate of Rome.
“At 9 p.m., the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, will appear at the window of his study and the holy rosary will be prayed,” it added.
During the prayer, passages will be read taken from John Paul II’s apostolic letter “Rosarium Virginis Mariae” and other of his magisterial texts.
Around 9:37 p.m., the time of John Paul II’s death, Benedict XVI will address the faithful present and will conclude the prayer with the apostolic blessing.
On Monday, a Mass marking the first anniversary of John Paul II’s death will be celebrated in St. Peter’s Square. Benedict XVI will preside over that Mass at 5:30 p.m.
That Mass is being celebrated on Monday since April 2 this year falls on a Sunday of Lent, which takes liturgical precedence.
In addition, Benedict XVI will remember his predecessor at a meeting with young people of Rome, on Thursday, April 6, in St. Peter’s Square.
The pilgrim Cross from Cologne, Germany, will be received, in the context of this year’s celebrations of World Youth Day, which will be held at the diocesan level worldwide on Palm Sunday.