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As public Masses return, Pope Francis urges obedience to safety norms

© Vatican Media
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Pope invites everyone to remember St. John Paul II on the centenary of his birth with ‘great affection and gratitude.’

“Tomorrow will be the centenary of the birth of Saint John Paul II, in Wadowice, Poland,” said Pope Francis on Sunday, speaking after the midday Regina Caeli prayer, and he invited Christians to remember him “with great affection and gratitude.”

Addressing the faithful linked via live-streaming to the Apostolic Libary where he prayed the Regina Caeli, the Pope said that on Monday morning, at 7 o’clock, he will celebrate Holy Mass, which will be broadcast throughout the world, from the altar where the Saint’s mortal remains lie in rest.

“From Heaven may he continue to intercede for the People of God and peace in the world,” he said.

Karol Wojtyla was born on May 18, 1920, in Wadowice, Poland. Catholics across the world have scheduled celebrations in his honour and the Secretary-General of the Polish Bishops’ Conference announced that for the occasion, the Episcopate will be issuing a special Message to the faithful highlighting the topical relevance of Pope John Paul II’s Magisterium.

Resumption of liturgical celebrations

Pope Francis then went on to note that as measures to curb the Covid-19 pandemic enter a second phase in many countries,  liturgical celebrations in the presence of the faithful have resumed in some of them while this possibility is being considered in others.

In Italy, he said, from Monday 18 May, it will be possible to celebrate Holy Mass with the people.

He urged everyone to continue to observe indications regarding the norms given to safeguard the safety and health of all, and added, “I share in the joy of the communities that can finally reunite as liturgical assemblies, a sign of hope for all society.”

May, the month of First Communions

The Pope recalled that traditionally, in many parishes, May is the month in which First Communion Masses are celebrated.

“Clearly, due to the pandemic, this beautiful moment of faith has had to be postponed,” he said, and he expressed his closeness to the boys and girls who should have received the Eucharist for the first time.

“Dear boys and girls,” he said, “I invite you to live this time of waiting as an opportunity to prepare yourselves better: praying, reading your catechism to deepen your knowledge of Jesus, and growing in goodness, and service to others.”

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