Celebrating Blessed Pope John Paul II

Celebrations have been planned in Rome and in Poland for next weekend, Oct. 22.

Oct. 22 celebrations are planned in Rome and in Poland.

Blessed Pope John Paul II’s first feast day will be celebrated this coming Oct. 22 in Rome and Poland.

In Rome, Cardinal Angelo Comastri, the archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica, will lead a procession to the St. John Lateran basilica, where he will celebrate Mass with Cardinal Agostino Vallini — the archpriest of the Lateran basilica and vicar of Rome.

The procession will begin at 5pm, with the memorial Mass taking place at 7pm, according to a spokesman for the Vicariate of Rome.

Earlier this year, the Vatican decreed that an Oct. 22 liturgical memorial be automatically inserted into the liturgical calendars of the Diocese of Rome and all the dioceses of John Paul’s native Poland. It also decreed that other local churches and religious families may request permission to do the same.

For those churches where this liturgical memorial is observed, the Vatican said that a church may be named after John Paul II, but in other dioceses an indult must be granted by the Vatican.

Oct. 22 was chosen as the day to remember the late Pope because it is the anniversary of the liturgical inauguration of his papacy in 1978.

The Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, which published the decree, also provided the text of the Collect (opening prayer) to be used in the liturgical memorial.

The text of the prayer reads: “O God, who are rich in mercy and who willed that the Blessed John Paul II should preside as Pope over your universal Church, grant, we pray, that instructed by his teaching, we may open our hearts to the saving grace of Christ, the sole redeemer of mankind, who lives and reigns.”

Confining feast days to a local area is one of the most noticeable differences between being beatified and being canonized. However, once canonized, John Paul II’s feast day is likely to remain the same.

Edward Pentin writes from Rome.