.- As the Church begins the final week of Lent, the young people of the Diocese of Rome will have the opportunity to meet with their bishop – Pope Benedict XVI. The Holy Father will hold a vigil for prayer and penitence on Palm Sunday, April 1st, the day when the Church also celebrates the 22nd World Youth Day.
According to the Fides news service the Holy Father will meet with thousands of young people in St. Peter’s Basilica on Thursday, in preparation for the large gathering on Sunday. During the Liturgy, the youth will spend time in prayer and have an opportunity for private confession, during which the Pope himself will hear the confessions of a representative group of young people.
Planners from the Diocese of Rome plan on having around 200 priests present to hear confessions.
The Holy Father chose the theme of this year’s World Youth Day, which is to be celebrated individually in dioceses around the world:“Love one another as I have loved you.”
Msgr. Mauro Parmeggiani, Director of the Diocese of Rome’s Youth Pastoral Services told Fides that penitential Liturgy at St. Peter’s will, “truly an opportunity for young Catholics together with their Bishop to encounter the grace and love of God.”