Throughout Britain this evening Catholics will be going to Mass — and many to Holy Communion — to celebrate the Holy Father's 80th birthday and the 17th anniversary of his election.
Throughout the world, indeed, it will be a day of prayer for Hiss Holiness.
All the priest-members of a number of religious orders will at the request of their Generals offer their Masses for the Pope, and in religious houses everywhere there will be special prayers. Evening Masses will be offered in many countries, His Holiness is holding a reception on Sunday for the diplomats eccredited to the Holy See. And then the children of the diplomats will present the Holy Father with a huge birthday cake decorated with 80 candles.
In Westminster Cathedral at 6 p.m. Cardinal Griffin will preside at High Mass attended by members of the Diplomatic Corps, peers, M.P.s, Knights of the Holy Sepulchre and other distinguished people.
At 7.30 p.m. Archbishop Godfrey, formerly Apostolic Delegate, will preside and preach at High Mass in the Liverpool Pro-Cathedral.
On Sunday, March 11, to celebrate the anniversary of the Pope's coronation, His Holiness will preside at Pontifical Mass celebrated in St. Peter's by Cardinal Tisserant, Dean of the Sacred College.
Other celebrations for the Pope's birthday : King Baudouin of the Belgians will attend Cardinal van Roey's Mass in Malines, Cathedral. President Koerner and his Government will attend Mass in Vienna Cathedral. All the Archbishops and Bishops of France will go to Notre Dame, Paris. Cardinal Gracias will celebrate an open air Mass in Bombay.
Cardinal Gilroy of Sydney has urged all Australian children to " storm heaven for the Holy Father " with spiritual bouquets.
Representatives of 47 nations attended a reception for the Holy Father's birthday given in London last week by the Apostolic Delegate, Archbishop O'Hara.
Members of the Papal Academy of Science are to present the Pope with a book dedicated to him and entitled " Galileo, Unjustly Condemned."