Catholics and Lutherans joined together in prayer and celebration, both in Rome and in Stockholm, to commemorate the sixth centenary of the death of St. Brigid, the Swedish founder of the Brigittine Order.
Pope Paul led the Church of Rome in paying tribute to the qualities of this "wife, mother and widow". Cardinal John Wright, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, flew to Stockholm for parallel ceremonies there.
Two Swedish l.utheran bishops led two groups of some 120 people, including 50 Swedish pastors, for the series of services and lectures in Rome which marked the occasion.
Cardinal Jan Willebrands, president of the Vatican's Secretariat for Christian Unity, celebrated Mass in the chapel of the Brigittine convent in Rome's famous liarnese Palace Piazza.
In the afternoon, Pope Paul drove to the convent to greet its 24 Italian, Swedish, Danish and Indian nuns in the cloister gardens.
He praised the life of St. Brigid, who lived from 1303 to 1373. "St. Birgitta", he said using the Swedish name — "is Sweden's glory and the glory also of our City of Rome."
In the evening the Lutheran bishops celebrated a religious service in the small 1.utheran chapel which was built last year in the convent crypt.
Pope Paul also sent a special message to Bishop John Taylor of Stockholm, who concelebrated Mass on Sunday with Cardinal Wright in Stockholm's Catholic Cathedral.