May 18th, less than a week away, is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Pope Saint John Paul II, born Karol Wojtyła in 1920.

Yesterday, the Vatican announced Pope Francis will offer his morning Mass at the late pontiff’s tomb in Saint Peter’s Basilica. Holy See Press Office Director Matteo Bruni said,

“In memory of the centenary of the birth of Saint John Paul II, the Holy Father will celebrate the morning Mass live at 7:00 am in the chapel of the saint’s tomb in the Vatican Basilica.”

May 18th also happens to be the first day that public Masses will resume in Italy, meaning Pope Francis’ morning Mass will be his last to be live streamed as he had been doing throughout the pandemic. However, the Vatican made no comment when his weekly general audiences or Sunday addresses will be held to the public again.

“The pope hopes that the People of God will thus be able to return to community familiarity with the Lord in the sacraments, participating in the Sunday liturgy, and resuming, also in churches, the daily attendance of the Lord and his Word.”

It’s presumed that given Italian authorities allowing access to Saint Peter’s Square, the Faithful and pilgrims will be able to attend liturgies inside the Vatican’s Saint Anne’s parish – as well as Saint Peter’s Basilica.

To celebrate the birth of JPII, Polish bishops’ created the hashtag #ThankYouJohnPaul2 to be shared on social media in thanks of the late pontiff’s pontificate. President of the Polish bishops’ conference Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki said:

“In this way we can express our gratitude to the Polish Pope for all that he has brought and brings [to] younger generations who have not had the opportunity to get to know him more closely, but who are very present on social networks. [We can thank him for] all the encounters we have had with him, which we have had the opportunity to participate in; for his words, the ones we remember most; for the inspirations he has evoked in us and which he continues to evoke.”

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