December 27, 2012. (Romereports.com)
Looking ahead it becomes clear what stories from the Vatican will likely top headlines in Rome and around the world in 2013.
One of the biggest stories of the year will be undoubtedly the Pope's visit to the Brazil for World Youth Day 2013 in Rio de Janeiro. The massive event is expected to draw nearly 2 million youths.
Benedict XVI will arrive on Monday, June 22 and take off on that Sunday. The Vatican is also analyzing possible visits to other Latin American countries
, with Colombia and Panama allegedly at the top of the list.
In 2013, Benedict XVI will also publish a new encyclical on faith. It will be the fourth of his pontificate and will likely be published in January.
The Pope is expected to continue pushing forward the Year of Faith, with a number of gatherings to mark it.
For example, on June 15 he will host at the Vatican the world gathering on the right to life, described as the defense of a person's dignity from conception to their natural death.
On May 18, the Pope will welcome representatives and members from all Catholic movements at St. Peter's Square. They are the institutions and groups that propose ideas and methods to live out the faith and have millions of followers. Among the largest of these groups are the Focolare Movement, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, and Communion and Liberation.
On June 2, Benedict XVI will participate in an Eucharistic adoration ceremony, which for the first time in history, will be observed simultaneously across the world.
He also called on families globally to come to Rome to reflect, on October 26 and 27, on how faith helps them overcome everyday challenges.
In June, one of the biggest headlines will be when he meets with all his nuncios, for the first time ever. They are expected to discuss what it means to represent the Pope, political and religious leader.
During October, the Pope has traditionally created new saints. This upcoming year, he could break a record and canonize 802 people in the same ceremony. They are the 800 martyrs from Otranto (Italy), killed out of hatred for their faith in 1480; plus the first Colombian saint, Mother Laura; and Mexican nun Blessed Mother Maria Guadalupe.
The Pope is expected to maintain a full schedule, despite turning 86 years old in April. That would make him the fourth oldest pontiff in the history of the Church.
In 2013, 10 cardinals will turn 80, therefore losing their right to vote in the next conclave. As it stands now, there will be 109 papal electors by December 25 of next year. That's perhaps the reason why the Pope could create new princes of the Church at the end of November, the conclusion of the Year of Faith.
JMB @JavierMbrocal VIC /RCarr