News reports about Pope Benedict’s health invariably mention that he has taken on a lighter schedule over the past several months. This is only partly true. While it’s indisputable that the Pope made only two international trips in 2012 — to Mexico and Cuba in March, and Lebanon in September — his daily schedule could hardly be considered relaxing. Even for those of us who work in Catholic media, it has been difficult to keep track of the speeches, meetings and liturgies that fill his agenda. Most of these events barely register in the news.
Yet, all of a sudden, the end of the pontificate looms, and each of the Pope’s final appointments command our full attention. Today, the Holy Father attended the General Audience and presided at Mass for Ash Wednesday. (S+L will rebroadcast these events Wednesday evening and Thursday. Consult the online schedule
for air times.)
On Thursday, the Pope will meet with the parish priests of Rome. At this same event one year ago, Benedict warmly described the diocesan clergy as “his priests” and gave an off-the-cuff Scripture reflection in the style of “lectio divina”. S+L will air this event at 9:00 am ET / 6:00 am PT, repeating at 8:00 pm ET / 5:00 pm PT.
The general public can catch a glimpse of the Holy Father on the next two Sundays, as he recites the Angelus from his window in the Apostolic Palace. S+L will air the Angelus at noon ET / 9:00 am PT.
His schedule also includes a number of appointments behind closed doors: meetings with bishops, Cardinals and heads of State, along with a week-long Lenten retreat with the Roman Curia.
The Pope’s last public event before his retirement will be his General Audience on Wednesday, February 27 – an emotional event that promises to fill St. Peter’s Square.
For an updated list of broadcast times for each of these events, visit S+L’s special Benedict XVI website
Credit: CNS photo/Paul Haring