More than 200 priests, wearing the violet stole for Lent, heard confessions in the Basilica after the Mass. Some sat in simple chairs because there are not that many confessional booths.
While the confessions took place, the choir and orchestra of the Diocese of Rome performed meditative music for Lent alternating with spiritual readings, including the message of the Pope for this World Youth Day.
Earlier, the Pope described the penitential liturgy as "an encounter around the Cross, a celebration of the mercy of God whom each of you can experience personally through the sacrament of confession."
"God's love for man," the Pope said in his homily, "is best described by the word agape - which is sacrificial love, which seeks only the good of the other."
But it can also be described as eros, he continued, citing his Lenten message. "The heart of God, the omnipotent, waits for the Yes from his creatures as a young husband awaits his wife's yes." Papa Ratzinger Forum March 29, 2007, 20:57