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Vatican: Full Easter program for the ailing pope

Vatican: Full Easter program for the ailing pope


Pope Francis remains in poor health. However, the 87-year-old church leader has a busy schedule on the upcoming Holy Days and Easter. According to the Vatican, he will preside over an Easter Vigil celebration on Saturday evening (March 30, 7:30 p.m.) in St. Peter's Basilica.

On the morning of Sunday, March 31, Easter Mass will be celebrated in St. Peter's Square from ten in the morning. Then, at lunchtime, he gives the universal blessing “Urbi et Orbi” from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica.

Carthage's weather highlight in Rome – the Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum on Good Friday evening (March 29, 9:15 p.m.) – is also on the papal calendar. Last year, Francis skipped that appointment due to bronchitis and the relatively cold temperatures in Rome at the time. Its cancellation came a few hours before the start of the Stations of the Cross. But he participated in other celebrations.

Pre-Easter program of Palm Sunday

The Pope has been suffering from the effects of influenza for more than three weeks. He still attends appointments and public appearances, where Vatican staff read texts to him over and over again. Because of his illness, Francis is currently having problems giving long speeches.

The Pope's pre-Easter program begins on Palm Sunday (March 24, 10 a.m.) with a Mass in St. Peter's Square. On Maundy Thursday morning (March 28, at 9:30 a.m.) the so-called Chrismation Mass takes place in St. Peter's Basilica, during which the oils of Baptism, Confirmation and Anointing of the Sick are consecrated.

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Next, Francis wants to wash the feet of female prisoners in a Rome prison in the late afternoon (4 p.m.). The washing of feet in memory of Jesus' Last Supper is a tradition in the Roman Catholic Church.