Leicester Mercury

Change of Easter plans for Francis


POPE FRANCIS opened the solemn final days of Holy Week with a morning Mass in St Peter’s Basilica, above, but skipped yesterday’s traditiona­l 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, was instead presiding 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.

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