Vatican publishes full papal schedule for Holy Week, Easter

By Justin McLellan
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis’ calendar for Holy Week and Easter is just as full as in previous years despite a mild illness which has caused him to cancel meetings in the days leading up to the release of his liturgical calendar for March.

The pope canceled meetings Feb. 24 and Feb. 26 due to “flu-like symptoms,” the Vatican said. Although he held his general audience Feb. 28, an aide read Pope Francis’ prepared remarks, and the Vatican said he briefly visited a Rome hospital after the audience for medical tests.

The pope is scheduled preside over all the major liturgical celebrations of Holy Week.

As is customary when first publishing the pope’s calendar for Holy Week, the Vatican did not provide the time or place for his celebration of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, March 28.

Pope Francis has made it a tradition to celebrate the Mass and foot-washing ritual at a prison or detention center, refugee center or rehabilitation facility; last year he did so at a prison for minors in Rome.

Here is the schedule of papal liturgical ceremonies and events for March released by the Vatican Feb. 29:

– March 24, Palm Sunday, morning Mass in St. Peter’s Square.

– March 28, Holy Thursday, morning chrism Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.

– March 29, Good Friday, afternoon liturgy of the Lord’s passion in St. Peter’s Basilica.

– March 29, Way of the Cross at night at Rome’s Colosseum.

– March 30, Easter vigil Mass in the evening in St. Peter’s Basilica.

– March 31, Easter morning Mass in St. Peter’s Square, followed at noon by the pope’s blessing “urbi et orbi” (to the city and the world).