Vatican says Pope skips Good Friday services to stay healthy ahead of Easter

ROME (AP) — Francis The Vatican said he did not take part in the traditional Good Friday procession at the Colosseum in Rome to protect his health, a last-minute decision that heightened concerns that he was frail during a particularly busy worship period.

Francis had been expected to preside over processions of the cross, reenacting Christ’s Passion and Crucifixion, and composing a meditation to be read aloud at each station. But just as the event was about to begin, the Vatican announced that Francis was following the event from his home. Holy See.

Pope Francis skips traditional Palm Sunday homily during Mass

A statement from the Vatican Press Office said: “In view of tomorrow’s vigil and Easter Sunday Mass, and in order to preserve his health, Pope Francis will tonight from the Casa Santa Marta along the Cross of the Colosseum. Road walking.”

Vatican ushers carry Pope Francis’ chair before the start of Good Friday (Way of the Cross) on Good Friday at the Colosseum in Rome, Friday, March 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

While Francis also missed the 2023 event because he was recovering from bronchitis and it was a particularly cold night, his last-minute decision to stay home this year was reminiscent of what St. John Paul II had just said Good Friday viewing at the Apostolic Palace. before his death in 2005.

Francis, 87, had a partial lung removed as a young man and spent the winter battling what he and the Vatican described as flu, bronchitis, or a cold. Over the past few weeks, he has occasionally asked aides to read his speeches aloud and skipped his Palm Sunday sermons entirely.

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decided not to attend good friday The procession seemed to take place at the last minute: Francis’ chair was placed on the platform where he was to conduct the ceremony. His closest aide, Monsignor Leonardo Sapienza, was present and moved a television screen on the platform so Francis could better understand what was happening inside the Colosseum.

But at 9:10 p.m., five minutes before the procession officially started, the Vatican Press Office announced on Telegram that he would not appear. The chairs were quickly taken away.

The hasty announcement was reminiscent of Francis’ last-minute decision on Palm Sunday, when the Vatican released the pope’s homily to reporters in advance and his aide stood up to hand him his glasses and let him read the sermon. sermon, but Francis made it clear he was skipping the homily.

Earlier in the day, Francis performed well at the Good Friday liturgy in St. Peter’s Basilica, but he remained seated throughout and it was not a particularly onerous event that required him to speak at length.

On Saturday, he will preside over the long Easter Vigil in St. Peter’s Church, one of the most solemn events in the liturgical calendar. He will also celebrate Easter Sunday Mass in the square and deliver the “Urbi et Orbi” (To the City and the World) speech, summarizing global crises and threats to humanity.

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In addition to his respiratory issues, Francis had a large chunk of his large intestine removed in 2021 and was hospitalized twice last year, including once to remove scar tissue from his intestines from previous surgeries to address diverticulosis, or bulges in the intestinal wall.

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Francis said in his recently published memoir, “Life: The Story of My History,” that he had not suffered any health problems that would have required him to quit his job, and that he still had “many projects to realize.”

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By Ali Raza

I am a dedicated and skilled News Content Writer with a passion for delivering accurate and engaging stories to a diverse audience. With a solid background in journalism and a keen eye for detail, I bring a commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of the evolving media landscape.

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