The Mass in St Peter's square in Rome for the installation of the new pope, Benedict XVI, will take place at 10.00 on Sunday 24 April. More than 500,000 pilgrims are expected to attend the Mass. Special security measures will be in place and there will be several thousand volunteers from all over Italy, including some from the German-speaking regions of the north, to assist the crowds and ensure that the event runs smoothly. Some of the central city streets will be closed to make access to the Vatican City safe and easy for the visiting foreign delegations, and public transport will be diverted. The area around St Peters will be for pedestrians only.
In a break with tradition the new pope has decided that his first visit outside the Vatican City, on Monday 25 April at 18.30, will be to the basilica of S. Paolo fuori le Mura instead of to S. Giovanni in Laterano, which is his seat as the bishop of Rome. This is being seen by many as a sign of encouragement to the rest of the world and to other Christian denominations. It was from this basilica, dedicated to St Paul, known as the apostle of the gentiles (or to the rest of the world), that John XXIII announced he would convene the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council soon after he was elected pope. It was also here that John Paul II invited the heads of other Christian denominations to pray with him for Christian unity at the beginning of the millennium holy year of 2000.