Pope will preside over Easter Vigil Saturday evening, Vatican confirms

Pope Francis

ROME — The Vatican said that Pope Francis is expected to be involved in an Easter Vigil service after he canceled participating in the Good Friday procession from the Colosseum.

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The Easter Vigil at St. Peter’s Basilica is listed as the pope’s only engagement on Saturday, according to a statement from the Vatican obtained by Reuters.

The Vatican’s daily bulletin confirmed that Francis, 87, would lead the vigil, according to The Associated Press. It is expected to start at 7:30 p.m. and go on for about two hours.

Francis skipped a Good Friday procession at the Colosseum, Reuters reported.

“To conserve his health in view of the vigil tomorrow and Mass on Easter Sunday, Pope Francis will follow the Via Crucis at the Colosseum this evening from the Casa Santa Marta,” a statement from the Vatican press office said, according to the AP.

He also recently skipped delivering the traditional homily on Palm Sunday to kick off the Catholic faith’s Holy Week, The New York Times reported.

Francis was hospitalized in late February for the flu. For more than a year, he had been using a wheelchair and a walker because of strained ligaments in his knee.

The pontiff had surgery for intestinal blockage in June 2023. That came two years after Francis had 13 inches of his colon removed because of a narrowing of his large intestine.

He was hospitalized for five days at Rome’s Gemelli Hospital in late March 2023 with a lung infection.

Francis had part of one lung removed when he was younger.

He was elected the 266th pope in history on March 13, 2013, after the surprising resignation of Pope Benedict XVI two weeks earlier.

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