Hopefully Pope Benedict was sitting down when he read his agenda for the month of May.
He naturally knows about and approves all activities and audiences and travels, but when you wrap everything up into a calendar month, instead of viewing one event or audience at a time, the overall picture could be rather daunting.
The early part of the month gave him no time to breathe and prepare for the second half of May, including as it did a visit on May 1 to the Shrine of Divine Love a few miles outside of Rome, participation in some of the festivities for the 500th anniversary of the Pontifical Swiss Guards and a Mass with the ordination of priests on May 7.
Presidents and royalty occupy the
Pope’s calendar for a two-week period, starting with the May 8 visit of Grand
Duke Henri of the Duchy of Luxembourg, a constitutional monarchy whose
population is 87% Catholic. Three days later President Hugo Chavez of
President Enrique Bolanos Geyer of
Lech Kaczynski, president of Poland, whose country the Pope will visit from May 25-28, will meet the Holy Father May 18, 19 or 20 — the date has not been finalized at this writing.
The schedule for the Holy Father’s
It will surely be an emotional time for Pope Benedict as he was an extraordinarily close collaborator and friend of John Paul II, the man whose country he will visit, for more than two decades. May 18 was Karol Wojtyla’s birthday.
The symbolism of this trip is also
remarkable and will undoubtedly provide additional emotions: A German Pope,
whose country invaded
The Pope leaves
The next day, the Holy Father will
celebrate Mass in
There, he will meet with
religious, seminarians and representatives from Catholic movements and
institutes of consecrated life before traveling to
On May 27, Benedict s scheduled to
visit Wadowice, John Paul’s birthplace. Following a
meeting with the populace in the main town square, the Pope will go to Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, a noted
cultural landscape and place of pilgrimage in
A United Nations World Heritage site, the pilgrimage site is a totally natural setting where a series of symbolic places of worship relating to the Passion of Christ and the life of the Virgin Mary was laid out at the beginning of the 17th century.
On his return to Krakow, the Holy
Father will visit the shrine of Divine Mercy and Wawel
Cathedral and, at 7 p.m., meet with young people in the city’s
Benedict is scheduled to celebrate
Mass May 28 in
At 6.30 p.m., the Pope will travel
directly from Birkenau to