No menu items!


HomeTopicsArts and CulturePope Francis to Preside Over Easter Vigil Amid Health Concerns

Pope Francis to Preside Over Easter Vigil Amid Health Concerns

Pope Francis will be present on Saturday night at the Easter Vigil in Rome despite having canceled his participation in the Way of the Cross the day before, a sudden decision that increases fears about his increasingly fragile health.

The 87-year-old pontiff will preside over the Easter Vigil at 6:30 pm GMT in St. Peter’s Basilica, in the presence of thousands of pilgrims from around the world, before the Sunday morning Mass and the “Urbi et Orbi” blessing.

His presence on Saturday was confirmed by the Vatican at noon, despite the last-minute cancellation on Friday night of his visit to the Way of the Cross, which was held at the Colosseum before 25,000 people.

“In order to preserve his health in view of tomorrow’s Vigil and Easter Sunday Mass, Pope Francis will follow this afternoon’s Way of the Cross at the Colosseum from the Santa Marta residence,” the Vatican announced on Friday without further details.

The timing of the announcement – shortly before the start of the ceremony, forcing the organizers to hastily remove the Pope’s chair – and the laconic communication from the Vatican contributed to reviving concerns about Jorge Bergoglio’s health. “The frail Pope’s Way of the Cross,” headlined Saturday’s La Stampa newspaper, while Il Messaggero sees it as a “renunciation by Francis.”

“It is a simple measure of prudence,” a Vatican source told AFP, assuring that the Pope’s health did not give rise to “any particular concern.” The Argentine Jesuit had already canceled his participation in the Way of the Cross in 2023, but that decision was made after a three-day hospitalization due to bronchitis and was communicated beforehand.

Busy week

A central pillar of the Catholic calendar, Holy Week, which involves numerous ceremonies culminating in Easter, can resemble a marathon for an octogenarian who has been moving around in a wheelchair for two years. In recent days, he had fulfilled his commitments until presiding, as planned, over the office of the Passion of Christ on Friday afternoon.

But recently he seemed tired and was forced on several occasions to delegate the reading of his speeches, citing bronchitis, for which he underwent tests at a hospital in Rome at the end of February.

Friday’s cancellation threatens to revive questions about his ability to continue governing the Catholic Church and its 1.3 billion faithful. Despite a major abdominal operation in 2023, Francis, who never takes vacations, continues to subject himself to a frenzied work pace at the Vatican, where he can receive a dozen interlocutors in a morning.

However, he has not made any trips since his visit to Marseille (southern France) in September and had to cancel his presence at COP28 in December in Dubai due to bronchitis.

His announced trip to the far reaches of Asia and Oceania this summer, which the Vatican has not formalized until now, seems more uncertain than ever.

Francis always leaves “the door open” for a possible resignation, in line with his predecessor Benedict XVI. But in an autobiography published in mid-March, he reiterated that he had no “serious reasons” to resign from his position, a “distant hypothesis” that would only be justified in case of “serious physical impediment.”

Weekly Recap

Costa Rica Coffee Maker Chorreador
Costa Rica Coffee Maker Chorreador
Costa Rica Travel Insurance

Latest Articles