The Holy See Search



5-8 November 1999

celebrated by
His Holiness


I. The Apostolic Journey of the Holy Father

From 5-8 November 1999 the Holy Father will make an Apostolic Journey to New Delhi for the solemn promulgation of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation “Ecclesia in Asia”, the fruit of the special Assembly for Asia of the Synod of Bishops held in Rome from 19 April to 14 May 1998. His visit is an occasion and a privilege for the Church in Asia to implement the Synod’s proposals, and to express solidarity with the Universal Church.

The promulgation of the Apostolic Exhortation is the main reason for the Journey, which is meant to embrace the whole Asian continent and will culminate in a solemn Eucharistic celebration on Sunday 7 November at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi.

The Pastoral Visit of the Successor of St. Peter is the second visit to India and is limited only to the capital city, New Delhi. This visit is a special blessing to the Archdiocese of Delhi, the Church in India and the Asian Continent in their preparation for the celebration of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, “that the power of salvation may be shared by all” (Apostolic Letter “Tertio Millennio Adveniente”, 16).

On his return journey to Rome, Pope John Paul II will stop briefly in the country of Georgia for a Pastoral Visit.

II. The Celebrations

During the Apostolic Journey, two celebrations are planned:

– New Delhi, sacred heart cathedral, 6 November

The Synodal Session. The close of the Special Assembly for Asia of the Synod of Bishops.

– New Delhi, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, 7 November

Holy Mass. Theme: Jesus Christ, the Light of the world.

Beside the public Mass at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, two more Eucharistic celebrations will take place in Delhi. Both these Masses will be celebrated in the Chapel of the Apostolic Nunciature. On Saturday, 6 November, before His Holiness calls on the President of India, and on Monday, 8 November, before the flight to Georgia.

On Sunday afternoon, 7 November, the Holy Father will meet the Leaders of all religions in Asia and India at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi. The leaders will greet the Pope and then His Holiness will address an important message to all present and to the world.

This meeting is important since the Christian community in Asia and India live in the midst of many religions and so the meeting of the Holy Father with these leaders would manifest the Church’s openness to inter-religious dialogue.

III. The Synodal Celebration

This celebration, which will be held in the afternoon of 6 November at the Sacred Heart Cathedral, follows an academic exercise carried out in a context of prayer. It has the following structure:

– A hymn at the beginning followed by the liturgical greeting of the Holy Father and the Synod prayer, which is recited by all present.

– After the prayer, a text from Sacred Scripture will be proclaimed.

– A number of speeches, interventions by Synod Fathers and experts on the theme of the post-Synodal Document.

This will be followed by the main event of the Session, the address by His Holiness, Pope John Paul II.

– The concluding part of the Synodal Session consists of the Prayer of the Faithful, the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostolic Blessing and a final hymn.

There will be musical interludes during the Session.

IV.The Eucharistic Celebration at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium

During this celebration the Holy Father will present to the Catholic Church in Asia the Apostolic Exhortation crowning the work of the Synod of Bishops for Asia. The presence of a number of Cardinals, Bishops and priests concelebrating with the Holy Father will signify the participation of all the particular Churches of the continent. Taking part in the celebration will also be a great number of consecrated persons and lay faithful.

The Votive Mass of Christ the Light of the World is being celebrated precisely because the whole of India celebrates the Festival of Lights on 7 November. It is a happy coincidence.

The festival is so called because of the illuminations that form its main attraction. The month of Karttika (the lunar month coming between October and November is the twelfth of the year), the most favourable time and atmosphere in the whole cosmos for a great celebration encompassing God, neighbour and nature in harmony.

This month marks the end of rains and the beginning of new life; people of all walks of life begin afresh. People have time to build up their divine and human relationship under the benign gaze of nature. In the backdrop of this holistic atmosphere the ancestors of India started the non-sectarian feast of lights to celebrate life and thank God for all his blessings and the righteousness of his dealings with human beings.

The Christian relevance of this festival of lights may be conceived thus: Jesus, who is the light of the world (Jn 8:12), by his death-resurrection-ascension, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, transferred us from the grip and Kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of Light (1 Pt 2:9) and made us “Children of the light”. Paul says: “Live as children of the light” (Eph 5:8).

The Gospel imperative is therefore: Let your light shine so that all people may glorify God. Jesus says: “you are the light of the world” (Mt 5:14). Christians celebrate this feast to thank God for this wonderful gift.

Adaptations for India:

The Mass at the Stadium will have three Indian dances. Two win be at the entrance. The first will be a tribal dance leading the priests and bishops to the podium before the arrival of the Holy Father.

The second will be a prayer dance leading the Cardinals after the arrival of the Pope into the Stadium.

The third will be an offertory dance leading the persons with the offertory gifts to the altar.

At the Doxology when the Holy Father takes the chalice and paten with the host, the Aarati, which is a sign of veneration, will be performed by a group of young ladies. The Aarati will consist of the following: Pushpa arati, waving a tray of flowers with deepak (light) in the center and the showering of flower petals; Dhupa Aarati—the homage of incense; Deepa Aarati—the homage of light, waving of camphor fire and the ringing of the bell.

The two Holy Masses concelebrated by the Synod Fathers at St. Peters’s Basilica were the most significant moments of the Synod.

These Masses were enriched in the spirit of the liturgical reform of Vatican II by the various languages and ritual expressions of Asia. In these celebrations the Particular Churches of Asia expressed their faith, history and tradition through prayer, song, dance, ritual gestures and at the same time they demonstrated their solidarity with the Universal Church, which is manifested by the presence of the Holy Father.

The Presentation of the Apostolic Exhortation

The presentation of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation takes place before the Final Blessing of the Eucharistic cel-ebration.

The rite is introduced briefly by a Synod Father. The Holy Father then presents, the text to the Presidents of the Synod, the Relator, the two special Secretaries and a group of persons representing the countries and the various groups which make up the Church in Asia. The Holy Father recites a formula of presentation and the assembly demonstrates its acceptance of the papal document by a sung acclamation.

V. The Missal

As is customary for all the Journeys of the Holy Father, the Office of Papal Liturgical Celebrations, in co-operation with the local liturgical authorities, has prepared a Missal for his visit to New Delhi. This Missal is meant for the use of the Holy Father and the concelebrating Bishops. It can also serve for the proclamation of the Word and for the Prayer of the Faithful.

The Missal is divided into three parts:

– Proper texts for the scheduled liturgical celebrations, in chronological order.

– Complete texts of the Order of Mass, including Eu-charistic Prayers II and III.

– The texts of the Masses which the Holy Father will celebrate in the Apostolic Nunciature and the texts of blessings and prayers.

VI. Conclusion

The Apostolic Journey to New Delhi takes place in the context of the universal Church’s preparation for the Great Jubilee Year 2000 and in a special way, the celebration of the Continental Synods (cf. Apostolic Letter “Tertio Millennio Adveniente”, 20).

The Missal for the Holy Father’s Visit testifies to the vitality and richness of the Particular Churches of Asia.

The Missal also bears witness to the fact that the Church’s preparations for the Third Millennium take on full life and meaning when they have as their origin and end the celebration of the Liturgy. It is in the midst of the Church that Christ encounters his people and gives them a share in his work of salvation.

Finally the Missal is a symbol and sign of hope for the future, as in the words of the Synodal prayer:

“May each of us, thus inspired and strengthened,
work together to build,
through word and example,
the civilisation of love,
where charity triumphs over selfishness,
peace over war, and unity over division”.

Vatican City, 23 October 1999.

Piero Marini
Titular Bishop of Martirano
Master of Papal Liturgic al Celebrations


Diebus 8-9 Novembris a. D. 1999

quibus præest Summus Pontifex


On 8-9 November 1999 His Holiness Pope John Paul II, the Bishop of Rome, will ake an Official Visit to the Caucasian country of Georgia. As well as celebrating the harist with the Catholic community, he will meet the Authorities of the State and of the Orthodox Church in Georgia, as well as people from the various ethnic groups, Churches and religious confessions in the country. The Papal Visit, which takes place on the tenth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, will be an incentive to efforts to increase unity between all peoples. The Catholic Church in Georgia can only express gratitude to Almighty God for having brought about this long-awaited event.

The central moment of the Holy Father’s brief stay will be the Holy Mass which he will celebrate in the Sport Complex of Tbilisi, together with the Cardinals and Bishops from many dioceses, the Apostolic Nuncio, the Apostolic Administrator and the clergy of the Latin, Armenian and Chaldean rites serving this part of the Caucasus.

The Mass will be that of the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, which according to the Roman Calendar is celebrated each year on November 9. The Mass prayers and the prescribed liturgical readings invite the assembly to reflect on the unity of the faithful throughout the world who are gathered in the name of the Blessed Trinity and form the one Church of Christ, symbolized by the Lateran Basilica, the Cathedral of the Bishop of Rome and the “Mother of all the Churches”.

The Eucharistic Liturgy will make the greatest possible use of the Georgian language in its songs, readings and responses. Together with Latin, other languages spoken by the different communities—English, Russian, Armenian, Azeri and Assyrian —will also be used.

The celebration will include certain moments of particular significance:

— Following the proclamation of the word of God and the homily of the Holy Father, there will be a solemn renewal of faith, using the formula of the promises made at Baptism. To the questions: “Do you believe in God...?”, “Do you believe in Jesus Christ...?”, “Do you believe in the Holy Spirit...?”, the faithful will be asked to manifest their assent by responding: “I believe”.

The Catholic communities in Georgia have sought to grow in knowledge and appreciation of this faith, particularly in the months following the announcement of the Pope’s visit. This renewal builds in turn upon the remarkable revival of faith which has occurred over the last decade, following the long and trying years when churches were closed, the voice of the clergy silenced and communities dispersed.

This is the faith brought to this land by the Apostles, celebrated in the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist, witnessed to by the blood of so many martyrs and by a tradition of charity towards the poor. It is the faith which united this land for so many centuries and was then preserved in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, albeit divided, according to different traditions and formulations. The Eucharist celebrated by the Holy Father is meant to be the Church’s thanksgiving to God for the gift of this faith and a heartfelt prayer that it will inspire and sustain an ever more perfect communion between believers.

— The Prayer of the Faithful, offered in different languages, and the presentation of the gifts are meant to evoke the native traditions of the Georgian people and to represent the peoples of the Caucasus. Bread and salt, basic elements of nutrition, will be presented by the Armenian communities. Grapes and wine in a characteristic horn symbolizing festivity and prosperity, together with water and fish from the Black Sea, will be presented by the Georgian people. A lamb will be presented by the Assyrian community, and a rug by Azerbaijani community.

— The Eucharistic Prayer in which the Holy Spirit descends upon the bread and wine which become the Body and Blood of Christ, making us sharers in the Lord’s death and Resurrection and strengthening us on our pilgrim way to the Kingdom of heaven. Through the invocation of the Spirit in the Eucharistic Prayer, the assembly is united more closely with the Risen Lord and grows in that communion with the Blessed Trinity which is sacramentally present in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church over which Church of Rome presides in charity.

In addition to the texts of the Eucharistic Celebration, the present Missal also makes provision for two other brief moments of prayer:

— the prayer in which the Holy Father will bless the new Home for the Poor built by Caritas;

— the prayer which the Holy Father will offer at the beginning of his meeting in Saints Peter and Paul Church with the priests, men and women religious and representatives of the Catholic communities, associations and movements. The meet-ing will conclude with the chanting of the Our Father in Latin and the Apostolic Blessing.