Taking cognizance of the Covid-19 pandemic, Catholic Pontiff, Pope Francis will this year celebrate Holy Week under restrictions, without the crowds of faithful who have normally been a part of papal ceremonies at the Vatican for centuries.
The pope, who has been stymied from travel due to COVID restrictions, will celebrate all but one Holy Week ceremony inside St. Peter’s Basilica with only a number of cardinals, Vatican officials and a “limited” number of congregants present.
The Stations of the Cross on Good Friday will be the only ceremony to take place outside — in St. Peter’s Square — but not at the Colosseum in Rome as is traditionally done.
Since his election and before the COVID-19 pandemic, Pope Francis has commemorated the Last Supper and foot-washing ceremony on Holy Thursday at a prison, detention or refugee center in Rome. This will be the first year the pope did not celebrate this ceremony; the dean of the College of Cardinals, Giovanni Battista Re, will perform the ritual instead. The Vatican did not explain the change.
In addition, the Easter vigil mass in Rome has been moved up to 7:30 p.m. to allow all to get home before curfew three hours later. The Pope will recite the “Urbi et Orbi’ (the city and the world) blessing after the Easter morning mass.