.- The Vatican Press Office released today the schedule of Holy Week activities to be presided over by John Paul II.
On April 4, Palm Sunday, which is also the19th World Youth Day, 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 at St. Peter’s Square at 10:00 a.m.
On April 8, Holy Thursday, the Pope will preside at the concelebration of the Chrism Mass with cardinals, bishops, diocesan and religious priests of Rome, at St. Peter's Basilica at 9:30 a.m.
The Easter Triduum of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection will begin in the Basilica at 5:30 p.m. with the Mass of Our Lord's Last Supper. The Holy Father will preside at the concelebration of the Mass.
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.
On April 9, Good Friday, the Holy Father will preside at the celebration of the Passion of Our Lord in the Vatican Basilica at 5 p.m.
He will lead the Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum at 9:15 p.m. and, in conclusion, will address the faithful and impart his apostolic blessing.
This year, the meditations have been entrusted to Fr. Andre Louf of Belgium, a Cistercian monk of strict observance who was responsible for the publication of the writings of the Flemish mystics.
On April 10, the Easter Vigil will begin at 7:00 p.m. in St. Peter's Basilica –much earlier than usual,- 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.
On April 11, at 10:30 a.m., 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.