Up to 500,000 people along with state leaders from around the world are expected to attend the inaugural mass of Pope Benedict XVI at St. Peter’s Basilica, said Walter Veltroni, Rome’s Mayor, on Thursday.
Starting time for the mass is 10:00 local time (09:00 BST), announced the Vatican on Tuesday. The 78-year-old former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany will be inaugurated as the Roman Catholic Church’s 265th pontiff. The name comes from the Latin word for "blessing".
From the UK, the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams will travel to Rome on Saturday, accompanied by the Rev Andrew Norman, Archbishop’s Secretary for International and Ecumenical Affairs, and the Rev Jonathan Jennings, the Archbishop’s Press Secretary.
The Archbishop has confirmed in a statement released today that he will be wearing the ring presented to his predecessor, Archbishop Michael Ramsey, by Pope Paul VI and a pectoral cross presented to him by Pope John Paul II.
Chinese State-approved and underground Catholics gave also expressed their joy in the birth of a new pope.
An estimated 700,000 other pilgrims are also expected to fill the surrounding streets near St Peter's Square to watch the ceremony on giant screens.