April 1 - Pope Benedict leads Roman Catholics into Holy Week celebrations, presiding over Palm Sunday service in St. Peter's Square. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Pope Benedict, freshly returned from a six-day visit to Mexico and Cuba, preached a message of unity as he opened Holy Week celebrations on Palm Sunday before tens of thousands of faithful packed into St. Peter's Square. In a homily built on the story of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem the week before he was crucified, Benedict said the underlying resonance of the Easter celebration was the shared destiny of humanity. The German pontiff, who celebrates his 85th birthday on April 16 and who has appeared frail, now faces an intense week of church celebrations that follow his physically testing trip to Latin America. The celebrations on Palm Sunday, a moveable feast held on the first Sunday before Easter, mark the start of Holy Week, leading up to Easter Sunday, the most important date in the church calendar.