Pope Francis Leads Easter Vigil Following Unexpected Absence on Good Friday

Pope Francis presides over Easter Vigil after sudden absence on Good Friday

Pope Francis oversaw Saturday’s Easter vigil at St. Peter’s Basilica, stepping in after canceling a scheduled Good Friday appearance due to health concerns.

The Vatican affirmed that Francis would lead the extensive vigil marking the resurrection of Jesus, an event central to the Christian faith. Notably, the ceremony featured the baptism of eight individuals converting to Catholicism.

The 87-year-old pontiff opted out of the Good Friday service at the Coliseum, citing health considerations aimed at preserving his well-being for the subsequent obligations, including Saturday’s vigil and Easter Sunday commitments, as communicated by the Vatican.

Pope Francis
Pope Francis (Credits: The Cumberland Times-News)

His unexpected absence prompted apprehension among aides who were anticipating his participation until the Vatican’s announcement, just five minutes prior to the service’s commencement, clarified his non-attendance.

Earlier on Saturday, Francis presided over the Celebration of the Passion of the Lord at St. Peter’s Basilica, where he drew parallels between the crowd’s judgment during Jesus’ crucifixion and contemporary issues of online animosity.

On Sunday, the Pope is slated to lead a morning Easter Mass in St. Peter’s Square, accompanied by a prayer addressing global crises, advocating for their resolution.

Francis, who underwent abdominal surgery last year and had a portion of his lung removed in his youth, has grappled with respiratory challenges throughout the winter season, impacting his ability to engage in public appearances. In recent weeks, he has canceled some commitments, delegating the delivery of several speeches to aides while contending with respiratory issues.