Thousands of pilgrims are holding prayers in Rome as Pope Francis and Benedict XVI prepare to confer sainthood on John Paul II and John XXIII in a historic effort to unite the Catholic Church on Sunday.
Pope Francis will be on a spiritual retreat with his top aides for the first anniversary of his election, which will be held in a small town outside Rome in a break with tradition, the Vatican said on Thursday.
Pope Francis visited his predecessor Benedict XVI on Monday for an informal Christmas greeting, as the Argentine pontiff prepares to celebrate his first Christmas as leader of the world`s Roman Catholics.
Pope Francis on Sunday praised his predecessor Benedict XVI`s decision to resign as courageous, and called on pilgrims to follow the former pontiff`s example and put aside their egos to listen to their conscience.
In a rare event, newly elected Pope Francis of Argentina on Saturday met his predecessor for lunch in a palace at Castel Gandolfo, as per BBC report. For the first time such a meeting has been made possible after Pope Benedict XVI resigned from his post.
The Sistine Chapel closed to visitors and construction work got under way to prepare it for the conclave, where cardinals from around the world will gather to elect the new pope after Benedict XVI`s resignation last month.