News by email Donate


Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

Vatican News
Vatican News
World News

Pope opens final Holy Week services but will skip Last Supper rite

Pope Francis has opened the solemn final days of Holy Week with a morning Mass in St Peter’s Basilica but planned to skip the traditional Thursday afternoon service that commemorates Jesus’s Last Supper with his apostles.

The Vatican did not explain why the dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, would preside instead over the Vatican’s main Holy Thursday afternoon service.

Francis, who is 84 and suffers frequent bouts of sciatica nerve pain, may have opted to delegate the service given his busy liturgical schedule over the coming days that culminates with Easter Sunday Mass.

In other years, Francis travelled to a prison or refugee centre for the Holy Thursday service, which usually involves a foot-washing ritual that is meant to symbolise Jesus’s willingness to serve.

For the second year in a row, the foot-washing ceremony was cancelled due to coronavirus health restrictions.

And all the Vatican’s Holy Week events were being celebrated before limited numbers of masked faithful to respect Covid-19 health and social distancing norms.

Francis did celebrate a morning Mass on Thursday to bless the oils that will be used over the coming year in various church sacraments.

In his homily, Francis offered a personal memory of hearing a confession from a nun and having asked her, as her penance, to pray for him.

“She paused for a moment and seemed to be praying, then told me, ‘The Lord will certainly give you that grace, but make no mistake about it: He will give it to you in his own divine way’,” Francis recalled.

“This did me much good, hearing that the Lord always gives us what we ask for, but that he does so in his divine way.”

Francis concludes every Sunday blessing with a request that the faithful pray for him.

He did so again on Thursday during the oil-blessing Mass, saying: “I need it.”

Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Set up a monthly gift

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email