VATICAN CITY (AP) – Pope Francis opened the last days of Holy Week with a morning service at St. Peter’s Basilica, but planned to skip the traditional Thursday afternoon service commemorating Jesus’ last supper with his apostles.
The Vatican did not explain why the dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal ovan ovanni Batista Ren, would instead head the Vatican’s main service on Holy Thursday.
Francis, 84, who suffers from frequent sciatica attacks, may have preferred to order the service, given his busy litigation schedule for the coming days, which ended with Easter Sunday Mass. In other years, Francis was sent to prison or a refugee center for Holy Thursday worship, which usually involves a foot-washing ritual to symbolize Jesus’ willingness to serve.
For the second year in a row, the foot wash procedure was canceled due to coronavirus health restrictions. And all Vatican Holy Week events were celebrated with a limited number of masked believers in honor of COVID-19 health և social exclusion norms.
On Thursday, Francis actually celebrated the morning Mass to bless the oils that will be used in various church services throughout the coming year. In his sermon, Francis offered a personal memory to hear a nun confess, asking her to pray for her as her repentance.
“He paused for a moment, as if praying, then said to me, ‘The Lord will surely give you that grace, but make no mistake about it. He will give it to you in his divine horse, ”Francis recalled. “It did me a very good job to hear that the Lord always gives us what we ask for, but that He does it in His divine way.”
Francis concludes a blessing each Sunday with a request for believers to pray for him. He did it again during the oil blessing ceremony on Thursday, saying: “I need”: