The Vatican is preparing for another busy spring. Pope John Paul II has almost completed his ambitious plan to visit all of the parishes in the Rome diocese. There are only 33 parishes left unvisited of the 336 in the city, and since the ailing pontiff is no longer able to get to them, he is inviting the parishioners to him in the Vatican.

On Saturdays 6, 20 and 27 March he will receive the congregations of 14 parishes from the outskirts of Rome.

The Pope will also hold four beatifications on 21 March, and a further six on 25 April. In a single service on 16 May, he will proclaim six saints (four of whom are Italians). This brings the total to 1,337 beatifications and 482 cannonisations during the 25 years of his pontificate.