Benedict XVI will preside over all Holy Week celebrations. For 8 days, thousands of pilgrims will visit the Eternal City, to mark the death and resurrection of Jesus, in the heart of the Church.
On Palm Sunday the Pope will bless palms and olive branches in St. Peter's Square to commemorate Jesus' entry into Jerusalem.
On Holy Thursday, the day that honors the institutions of the Eucharist and the priesthood, the Pope will celebrate the Chrism Mass with cardinals, bishops, priests and religious in Rome. During the celebration he will bless the oils to be used the rest of the year for the anointing the sick and during confirmation ceremonies.
In the afternoon, Benedict XVI will preside over the Easter Triduum liturgies, which include rich symbolic elements such as the washing of the feet of twelve priests at St. John Laternan’s Basilica, the same way Jesus did at the Last Supper.
There will also be a collection to raise money for the rebuilding of the seminar in Port au Prince, Haiti, which was destroyed by the January earthquake that also killed 26 seminarians. The 200 others who survived were left with nothing and need urgent help.
Good Friday recalls the crucifixion of Jesus. At a the moving ceremony hundreds will join the pope in adoring the Cross.
At night, standing under the light of countless candles, the pope will preside over the Via Crucis at the Colosseum in Rome, the place which recalls the martyrdom of many Christians.
The resurrection of Jesus will be celebrated Saturday night at the Easter Vigil Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. The pope will celebrate over adult baptisms and will bless the fire for ceremonies at the basilica.
On Easter Sunday, the morning mass will be celebrated in St. Peter's Square followed by the Urbi et Orbi blessing and Easter greetings delivered in over 60 languages.