Pope Francis to participate in Easter vigil

Story by  ATV | Posted by  Sumana | Date 30-03-2024
Pope Francis
Pope Francis



Pope Francis will attend the Easter Vigil at St Peter's Basilica on Saturday evening, the Vatican announced.

This follows a last minute decision of the 87-year-old Pope to not attend Good Friday service "to preserve his health" before the major Easter events over the weekend.

Earlier on Good Friday, he had presided at the two-hour Solemn Liturgy of the Lord's Passion at St Peter's Basilica.

Just before the Stations of the Cross service was slated to begin at Rome's Colosseum on Friday evening, the Vatican said that Pope Francis will follow it from his home instead of attending in person.

"In order to preserve his health in view of tomorrow's Vigil and Easter Sunday Mass, this evening Pope Francis will follow the Way of the Cross at the Colosseum from Casa Santa Marta," according to the Vatican press office.

The stations mark various stages of Jesus Christ's suffering and death, with the pontiff seeking to apply the biblical account to contemporary concerns.

On Sunday, the Pope is expected for Easter Mass in St Peter's Square and then for the Easter Message and 'Urbi et Orbi' (to the city and the world) blessing from the central balcony of Saint Peter's Basilica. Easter is the most important day in the Church's liturgical calendar and celebrates the Christian belief that Jesus rose from the dead.

The pontiff's well-being has been watched closely after he underwent abdominal surgery in 2023. In recent weeks, Francis has had aides read out several of his speeches as he has been battling bronchitis, cold and flu, and he has been in the hospital for undergoing tests.

In his Good Friday mediations in 2024, war, online hatred and the exploitation of women are among the themes tackled by Pope Francis. In them, Pope Francis speaks on the judgement of the people watching the crucifixion, connecting it to online hatred.

While appealing for an end to "hasty judgement, gossip, and violent and offensive words," Pope Francis writes, "All it takes is a keyboard to spew insults and condemnation," as per the CNN report.

In his reflections, he also criticised the "madness" and "trauma" of war, and expresses solidarity with those "demeaned by the arrogance, injustice and power of those who exploit the poor amid general indifference," CNN reported.

During his meditations, Pope Francis also spoke about women who accompanied and helped Jesus before the crucifixion. The Pontiff said, "Help us to recognize the dignity of those women who remained faithful and stood by you in your passion, and those who in our own day are exploited and endure injustice and indignity."

During the traditional Maundy Thursday ritual that recalls Jesus' washing his Apostles feet at the Last Supper, Pope Francis, seated in a wheelchair, visited with inmates at Rome's Rebibbia female prison where he washed the feet of 12 women inmates.