.- The Press Office of the Holy See made public today the schedule for all the liturgical events of Holy Week to be celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI, from Palm Sunday through the Easter Triduum.
According to the press release, on Sunday April 1st the Holy Father will celebrate Palm Sunday, also known as Passion Sunday, which recalls both the triumphant reign of Jesus and the announcement of his passion and death.
At 9:30 a.m. (local time) Pope Benedict will offering the traditional blessing of palms and olive branches in St. Peter’s Square. Following a procession, he will celebrate Holy Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.
The Vatican communiqué notes that on the same day the Church also celebrates the 22nd World Day for the Youth, on the theme, “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another (Jn 13:34).”
On the 5th of April, Holy Thursday, at 9:30 a.m. in St. Peter’s, the Holy Father will preside over the celebration of the Chrism Mass, with the Cardinals, bishops, and priests present in Rome, “as a sign of the intimate communion between the Pastors of the Universal Chruch and between their brothers in the ministerial priesthood.”
Later that day, he will enter into the Holy Triduum of the Passion and Resurrection of the Lord, “the highpoint of the liturgical year,” which begins with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, has the Easter Vigil as its nucleus and ends with Vespers on Easter Sunday.
At 5:30 p.m. on Holy Thursday, in the Basilica of St. John Lateran Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate the Holy Mass, at which he will reenact Jesus’ washing of the feet of the twelve Apostles by washing the feet of twelve men. At the conclusion of the celebration he will process with the Blessed Sacrament to the Chapel of reposition. The Church will also take a collection at this Mass to provide medical assistance to the suffering people of Somalia.
On “Good Friday,” the day which the Church meditates on the Passion and Death of the Lord in its adoration of the Cross, the Holy Father will preside at the Liturgy of the Word, the Veneration of the Cross and a Communion service, beginning at 5 p.m.
At 9:15 p.m. in the ancient Coliseum of Rome the Holy Father will lead the Stations of the Cross, which will conclude with the Pope offering words to the faithful and imparting his Apostolic Blessing.
According to ancient tradition, the press release says, the night of the Easter is “in honor of the Lord” and the Vigil commemorates the holy night on which Christ was risen, and is considered the “mother of all vigils.” On this night, in fact, the Church waits in hope for the Resurrection of the Lord and celebrates the Christian Sacraments of Initiation.
On Holy Saturday, the Holy Father will celebrate the Easter Vigil at 10 p.m. in St. Peter’s Basilica. The celebration will begin with a procession with the Easter candle and the singing of the Exsultet. The Mass, which will be concelebrated by several Cardinals will include the Rites of reception into the Church.
After offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on Easter Sunday, the Pope will impart his “Urbi et Orbi” blessing over the city of Rome and the world, from the central loggia of the Basilica.