Pope's Holy Week schedule announced

 The Vatican Information Service has just sent the following schedule of Holy Week activities to be presided over by Pope John Paul II: SUNDAY, April 4: Palm Sunday and Our Lord's Passion. 19th World Youth Day on the theme: "We want to see Jesus." At 10 am in St Peter's Square, the Holy Father will bless palms and olive branches and, at the end of the procession, will celebrate the Mass of the Lord's Passion. THURSDAY, April 8: Holy Thursday. In St Peter's Basilica at 9.30 am, the Holy Father will preside at the concelebration of the Chrism Mass with cardinals, bishops, diocesan and religious priests present in Rome, as a sign of the close union between the pastor of the universal Church and his brothers in the priestly ministry. The Easter Triduum of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection begins in the Vatican Basilica at 5.30pm with the Mass of Our Lord's Last Supper. The Holy Father will preside at the concelebration of the Mass. After the homily, the rite of the washing of the feet of 12 priests will take place. During this rite, those present will be invited to give alms for sick children in Rwanda and Burundi. The sum collected will be given to the Holy Father at the presentation of the gifts. At the end of the celebration the Blessed Sacrament will be transferred to the chapel of reposition. FRIDAY, April 9: Good Friday. The Holy Father will preside at the celebration of the Passion of Our Lord in the Vatican Basilica at 5 pm He will lead the Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum at 9.15 pm and, in conclusion, will speak to the faithful and will impart his apostolic blessing. This year, the meditations have been entrusted to Fr Andre Louf of Belgian, a Cistercian monk of strict observance who was responsible for the publication of the writings of the Flemish mystics. After 35 years as abbot of the monastery of Notre Dame de Mont-des-Cats, France, he retired to a hermitage in the south of France where he currently resides, dedicating prayer and study to the Fathers of the Church. SATURDAY, April 10: The Easter Vigil will begin at 7 pm in St Peter's Basilica, when the Pope will bless the new fire in the atrium of the church. After the entrance procession with the Easter candle and the singing of the "Exultet," he will preside at the Liturgy of the Word and the baptismal and eucharistic liturgies, which he will concelebrate with the cardinals. SUNDAY, April 11. At 10.30 am, John Paul II will celebrate Mass in St Peter's Square, after which he will impart the "Urbi et Orbi" ("to the city and the world") blessing.

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