The Vatican has this week published Pope Francis’ calendar for Holy Week and Easter, which due to coronavirus restrictions, will be celebrated primarily in St Peter’s Basilica with a very small congregation.
While the Holy Father is expected to preside over most of the liturgical celebrations, he is not expected to preside over the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on 1 April.
According to Vatican News, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, dean of the College of Cardinals, will celebrate the Mass at the Altar of the Chair in St Peter’s Basilica.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Holy Father had made it a tradition to celebrate the Mass and foot-washing ritual at a prison or detention centre, refugee centre, or rehabilitation facility.
The Vatican did not give a reason for Pope Francis’ absence, which – if he does not celebrate the liturgy elsewhere – would mark the first time he does not preside over the Mass of the Lord’s Supper.
The Vatican also announced that the pontiff asked two troops of Italian scouts from Rome and Umbria to prepare the meditations for the Way of the Cross.
Youngsters from two group homes for disadvantaged young people in Rome – “Mater Divini Amoris” and “Tetto Casal Fattoria” – have drawn the illustrations to accompany the prayer.
The young people’s “words and colours convey the complexity of a world made up of small and large crosses, but also of trust and hope for the future,” the Vatican said.
Here is the schedule of papal liturgical ceremonies for Holy Week according to Vatican News (times listed are Central European Standard Time):
– March 28, Palm Sunday, 10.30am Mass at the Altar of the Chair in St Peter’s Basilica.
– April 1, Chrism Mass, 10am in St Peter’s Basilica.
– April 2, Good Friday, 6pm liturgy of the Lord’s Passion in St Peter’s Basilica.
– April 2, Way of the Cross, 9pm in front of St Peter’s Basilica.
– April 3, Easter vigil Mass, 7.30pm St Peter’s Basilica.
– April 4, Easter morning Mass, 10am St Peter’s Basilica, followed at noon by the Pope’s blessing “urbi et orbi” (the city and the world).