VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI (search) plans to give his first Sunday noontime blessing from the papal apartment overlooking St. Peter's Square, the Vatican said, greeting the faithful from the same third-floor window where Pope John Paul II welcomed pilgrims for nearly 27 years.
Benedict was moving into the apartment on Saturday, formally taking possession of the official papal residence that was sealed after John Paul died April 2, Vatican Radio said.
Benedict broke the seal — a red ribbon tied around the doorknob — on April 20, the day after he was elected. But he chose to remain at the Vatican hotel where he was sequestered during the conclave before moving in on Saturday.
On Sunday, he plans to give a noontime blessing to the faithful from the apartment window, greeting pilgrims from the spot where John Paul appeared for the last time in public on March 30.
Vatican Radio said the event will be particularly emotional for the new pope, since it coincides with May Day (search) as well as Orthodox Easter and will be the first time the faithful will see a figure at the studio window since a "clearly suffering" John Paul tried to bless them a few days before he died.
"If tomorrow at noon the eyes of the faithful are pointed toward the third floor of the Apostolic Palace, many will return to the memory of the Sunday Angelus and Regina Coeli (prayers) that John Paul II never wanted to miss in his near 27-year pontificate," Vatican Radio said.
On Saturday, Benedict held a series of meetings with cardinals and approved the appointment of the Vatican No. 2, Cardinal Angelo Sodano (search), as dean of the College of Cardinals, the powerful position that Benedict had held before his April 19 election.
The Italian-born Sodano, 77, is also the Vatican's secretary of state, a position he has held since 1991.
The dean of the College of Cardinals has a prominent role inside the Vatican, and one that becomes especially important after the death of a pope since he presides over the conclave to elect a new one.
As dean, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (search) delivered the homily at John Paul's funeral as well as at a Mass at the opening of the conclave — and used both to set the tone for the secret balloting that eventually elected him the 265th leader of the Roman Catholic Church (search).
Cardinal Roger Etchegaray of France will serve as Sodano's deputy, the Vatican said in a statement. Sodano had been Ratzinger's deputy as vice-dean of the college.
Also Saturday, Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said the pope would meet with Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi at the Vatican on Tuesday, his first formal audience with a head of state since his election.
The pope briefly greeted Ciampi and hundreds of other dignitaries who had attended his installation Mass in St. Peter's Square last Sunday.