The Holy Father thus breaks with a pattern set by Pope John Paul II (bio - news), who issued his first Holy Thursday letter to priests on 1979, then provided a new message each year from 1982 to 2005.
In recent years the Vatican has held a press conference before Holy Week to release the papal text. The Pope's letter to priests was introduced by the prefect of the Congregation for Clergy. This year, no such press conference was scheduled.
"It certainly seems that the letter will not appear," said one informed Vatican official. However, the Congregation for Clergy is not ruling out the possibility that some other papal text, of interest to priests, could be released this year on Holy Thursday itself, April 13.