.- On Saturday, the Vatican released a summary of the busy winter schedule awaiting Pope Benedict. Several groundbreaking events, including the 11th General Synod of Bishops, marking the close of the Year of the Eucharist, and a number of beatifications which the Holy Father will preside over, are scheduled for the coming months. The calendar was produced by the Holy See's Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff, and commences with the opening of the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which will be held on the morning of October 2nd in the Vatican Basilica.
On Saturday, the 15th, the Pope will meet and pray in St. Peter's Square with children who are receiving their First Communion.
He will preside over the closing of the Bishop's Synod and officially close the Year of the Eucharist, originally instituted by John Paul II, on Sunday October 23rd at 10 a.m. in St. Peter's Square. World Mission Day will also be held that day as well as the canonization of Blesseds Jozef Bilczewski, Gaetano Catanoso, Zygmunt Gorazdowski, Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga, and Felice da Nicosia.
In November, on Friday the 11th, the Holy Father will offer a Mass for the repose of the souls of cardinals and bishops who died during the year at the altar of Cathedra at the Vatican Basilica. Likewise, he will offer first vespers on Saturday the 26th at 5 p.m. in the Basilica.
For December, the schedule includes the celebration of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on the 8th. That same day at 10 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, the Pope will offer Mass for the 40th anniversary of the closing of Vatican Council II. Then, at 4 p.m. in Rome's Piazza di Spagna, he will offer traditional homage to Mary Immaculate.
On Sunday the 18th, the 4th Sunday of Advent, he will make a pastoral visit to a Roman parish.
Christmas celebrations will commence on Saturday, the 24th with the Vigil for the Solemnity of the Birth of Our Lord. He will preside over Midnight Mass in St. Peter's Basilica.
The next day, on Sunday the 25th, he will celebrate the Solemnity of the Birth of Our Lord, and will give the "Urbi et Orbi" blessing at midday from the central loggia of the Basilica.
On the 31st, the Pope will close the year with first vespers, in which he will offer thanksgiving for the past year.
The Liturgical Celebration office also announced a number of beatifications approved by the pontiff for October through December.
On Sunday, October 9th at 10 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, the beatification of Servant of God Cardinal Clemens August von Galen will take place, followed by the beatification of Servants of God Josep Tapies, six companions martyrs, and Maria de los Angeles Ginard Marti on the 26th.
On Sunday, the 6th of November, the beatification of Servant of God Eurosia Fabris will take place in the Cathedral of Vincenza, Italy. Then, on November 13th, Servants of God Charles de Foucauld, Maria Pia Mastena, and Maria Crocifissa Curcio will each be beatified at the Vatican.
Lastly, on Sunday, the 20th, the 34th Sunday in Ordinary Time and Solemnity of Christ the King, the beatification of Servants of God Anacleto Gonzalez Flores and seven companions, Jose Trinidad Rangel, Andres Sola Molist, Leonardo Perez, Dario Acosta Zurita, and Jose Sanchez del Rio will all take place in the Cathedral of Guadalajara, Mexico.