.- Cardinal Severino Poletto, Archbishop of Turin and Guardian of the Holy Shroud, has announced the schedule for Pope Benedict XVI's visit this spring to the Shroud. Among the encounters through the day, the Pope will meet with young people, and the elderly and sick of the northern Italian city.
On the morning of May 2, the Holy Father will fly to Turin where he will arrive in time to share greetings with the mayor and Cardinal Poletto in St. Charles Square before the celebration of the Mass at 10 a.m.
Following Mass with cardinals, bishops, priests and the faithful, Benedict XVI will lead the Regina Caeli prayer and offer a reflection. After having lunch with the bishops of the Piedmont region in the nearby chancery, he will return to the square for an encounter with the youth. Cardinal Poletto and two young people will speak before the Holy Father's discourse.
At the conclusion of this meeting in the square, the Pope will then go to the Cathedral of Turin to venerate the Shroud and offer a meditation themed "Passio Christi, Passio hominis." Among many others, cloistered nuns from different monasteries throughout the diocese will be present.
Rounding out the afternoon, Benedict XVI will pay a visit to the residents and the sick at a local care facility before heading back to Rome around 7:30 p.m.
In a communique announcing the schedule, Cardinal Poletto called for the people of the region to live the time of anticipation for the visit in prayer for the Holy Father and his intentions.
He noted that on May 2, no Masses would take place at the same time as the Pope's to promote the participation of priests and faithful from the archdiocese in the celebration.
Cardinal Poletto concluded the announcement by highlighting the importance of the occasion as "a new, glorious page" in the history of the diocese.
The 2010 Holy Shroud exposition committee announced last week that the total number of visitors who have booked tickets to date is close to 1.2 million. The committee has also decided to extend the hours that the exhibit is open on Fridays and during the final week of the rare exposition to make it more available to possible pilgrims.
The Shroud will be on exposition in the Cathedral of Turin from April 10 to May 23.