The Holy Father will absent himself from the meeting only to carry out previously scheduled commitments.
The program of the meeting and the Pope´s participation in its activities, as well as the names of the participants, was published today by the Vatican. The sessions will take place Tuesday and Wednesday in the Bologna Hall of the Apostolic Palace.
The sessions will begin with a welcome by its president, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state. The next speaker will be Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the U.S. bishops´ conference, followed by the American cardinals. The Holy Father will close the morning session with his address.
The first speaker in the afternoon will be Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy, who will be followed by heads of Vatican organizations. The U.S. cardinals will be able to speak again at the end of the afternoon session.
Wednesday´s meeting will be dedicated to the proposals made the previous day, which will be reviewed by Bishop Gregory. Participants will then have the opportunity to address the meeting again.
John Paul II will not attend the morning session, in order to attend his weekly general audience. The final meeting will be held in the afternoon.
The Vatican statement explains that this meeting "takes place following talks held recently in the Vatican with representatives of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and in view of the conference´s assembly, which will be held in Dallas from June 13-15."
Attending the meeting will be Cardinals Bernard Law of Boston; Roger Mahony of Los Angeles; Anthony Bevilacqua of Philadelphia; William Keeler of Baltimore; Adam Maida of Detroit; Francis George of Chicago; Theodore McCarrick of Washington, D.C.; Edward M. Egan of New York; James Hickey, archbishop emeritus of Washington; and Avery Dulles, Jesuit theologian.
The Pope has also invited the U.S. cardinals working in the Curia: William Baum, archbishop emeritus of Washington and Major Penitentiary emeritus; Edmund Casimir Szoka, president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and archbishop emeritus of Detroit; and James Francis Stafford, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and archbishop emeritus of Denver.
The U.S. bishops´ conference will be represented by Bishops Gregory; William Skylstad, vice president; and William P. Fay, executive secretary.
Other cardinal-prefects of Vatican congregations who will attend are Joseph Ratzinger, Doctrine of the Faith; Eduardo Martínez Somalo, Institutes of Consecrated Life and for Societies of Apostolic Life; Giovanni Battista Re, Bishops; Jorge Arturo Medina Estévez, Divine Worship and the Sacraments; and Zenon Grocholewski, Catholic Education. Archbishop Julian Herranz, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, will also attend.