Cardinal Angelo De Donatis / Daniel Ibáñez/CNA

Rome, Italy, Dec 29, 2022 / 07:30 am (CNA).

The Diocese of Rome will offer a special Mass for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at the Basilica of St. John Lateran on Friday afternoon.

The Mass was announced Dec. 29 by Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, following a sudden turn in the 95-year-old pope emeritus’ health.

Pope Francis, at the end of his general audience on Dec. 28, asked for prayers for a “very ill” Benedict XVI, who, “in silence, is sustaining the Church.”

The Vatican confirmed later the same day that Benedict was under medical care following a decline in his health.

On Thursday, the Vatican gave a further update on Benedict XVI’s health.

“The Pope Emeritus was able to rest well last night; he is absolutely lucid and alert, and today, although his condition remains serious, the situation at the moment is stable,” Vatican Spokesman Matteo Bruni said Dec. 29.

In a statement Thursday morning, Vicar of Rome Cardinal De Donatis invited church communities in Rome “to join in prayer for Benedict XVI” in response to Pope Francis’ request.

“In the celebration of Holy Masses today and in the coming days, let us accompany our dear bishop emeritus in his moment of suffering and trial,” he said.

The Dec. 30 Mass will be celebrated at 5:30 p.m. by Bishop Guerino Di Tora, vicar of the cardinal archpriest of the Basilica of St. John Lateran.

The Lateran basilica is Rome’s cathedral and the seat of the bishop of Rome, Pope Francis.