From Alan McElwain
POPE PAUL will personally usher in the vernacular in the sacraments for Italy when he continues the tradition of saying Mass in Roman suburban churches during Lent.
The substitution of Italian for Latin in key sections of the Mass and other sacraments is scheduled to begin on the first Sunday in Lent, March 7, when, as Bishop of Rome, the Pope will also start his round of
He is to make a point, this year as in the past, of including poor areas in his itinerary.
The late Pope John was the first modern Pope to introduce Lenten papal visits to suburban churches in Rome. It was his custom to walk with local clergy in outdoor Lenten processions. As a preliminary to the introduction of Italian into the sacraments, Cardinal-elect Giovanni Colombo, who succeeded Pope Paul as Archbishop of Milan, officiated at a Mass in Italian in his cathedral on January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany.
Pope Paul gave special permission for the Mass, which created great interest. Archdiocesan authorities reported later that most people seemed to favour the vernacular, although there were some who preferred the Latin to which they were accustomed because, they said, it sounded "more solemn".