Vatican: Pope Francis will not attend Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum due to cold weather


Pope Francis prays the Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum in Rome, Italy, on Good Friday, April 14, 2017. / Vatican Media.

Rome Newsroom, Apr 7, 2023 / 09:10 am (CNA).

Pope Francis will not be attending the annual Good Friday Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum this year due to cold weather, according to the Vatican.

The Holy See Press Office released a statement on April 7 saying that the pope will follow the meditations for the Way of the Cross from his residence, Casa Santa Marta, and will join his prayers with those who will gather at the Colosseum for the Roman Holy Week tradition.

The pope’s canceled Good Friday appearance comes one week after he was hospitalized for three nights in Rome’s Gemelli hospital, where he was treated for bronchitis.

Despite last week’s sickness and hospitalization, the Vatican had originally announced that the 86-year-old pope would maintain a full schedule of liturgies and audiences for Holy Week.

The Vatican’s most recent statement cited the “intense cold” as the reason why the pope was opting out of the outdoor Stations of the Cross, which will take place at 9:15 p.m. local time.

Italian meteorologists have predicted that Easter Sunday could be colder than Christmas in many parts of country. In Rome, the temperature is forecasted to dip down to 50 degrees Fahrenheit on Friday night with wind and thunderstorm warnings in place during the Stations of the Cross.

Pope Francis will still attend the veneration of the cross during the celebration of the Lord’s passion inside St. Peter’s Basilica earlier on Good Friday at 5 p.m.

Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa, the preacher of the papal household, will give the homily at the service, as he did last year.

The Vatican has not announced any other changes to the scheduled liturgies for the Easter Triduum. Pope Francis is scheduled to preside over the Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday night, as well as an outdoor Mass and Easter blessing on Sunday morning in St. Peter’s Square.

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