Despite the ongoing ailments that prevent him from walking and at many times speaking before his crowd of admirers, the Pope John Paul II announced that he would preside over the extensive list of holiday events throughout the holiday season.
The newly adopted schedule includes presiding over the Midnight Mass on Dec. 24, delivering his Christmas message on Dec. 25, heading the vespers on Dec. 31 and presiding over the celebration of the solemnity of Mary on Jan 1.
Television channels worldwide will transmit several of the events, including the Christmas blessing, “urbi et orbi” to the city of Rome and the world.
In the following week, the Pope will make his traditional visit to Piazza di Spnga in Rome, Dec. 8, to honor the Immaculate Conception. On Dec. 11, John Paul is to preside at the Mass in St. Peter's Basilica for students attending pontifical universities in Rome.
The schedule is reduced from its original form, which included an ordination of bishops in the Vatican basilica on Jan. 6, for the sake of the Pontiff’s health.