Thursday, February 29, 2024

Pope Francis’ schedule for Holy Week and Easter 2024 at the Vatican

Here is Pope Francis' schedule for Holy Week and Easter 2023

The Vatican has released Pope Francis’ schedule for Holy Week 2024, which will include five papal liturgies, Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum, and other traditions to mark the most sacred week of the year.

Easter is the highest feast in the Catholic Church, known as the “solemnity of solemnities,” celebrating Jesus’ resurrection and defeat of sin and death, and the Vatican celebrates Holy Week with pomp, reverence, tradition, and a busy schedule.

The 87-year-old pope is scheduled to preside over liturgies on each day of the Easter Triduum as well as Palm Sunday. 

The Holy See Press Office published the pope’s Holy Week schedule one day after Pope Francis visited the hospital for diagnostic tests. 

Reuters reported that the pope had a CT scan during the hospital checkup. 

Last year, Pope Francis was discharged from the hospital one day before presiding over Palm Sunday Mass.

Holy Week 2024 begins on March 24 with Palm Sunday and culminates with Easter on March 31. 

Here is the Vatican’s full schedule:

Palm Sunday

On Sunday morning, March 24, Pope Francis is scheduled to preside over Mass for Palm Sunday, also known as Passion Sunday or the Commemoration of the Lord’s Entrance into Jerusalem.

The Mass, which will be in St. Peter’s Square at 10 a.m. local time, will kick off with a grand procession of deacons, priests, bishops, cardinals, and laypeople carrying palms.

The procession includes olive tree branches, palm fronds, and the large, weaved palms called “parmureli,” all blessed by Pope Francis.

Holy Thursday

Pope Francis is set to start Holy Thursday with a chrism Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at 9:30 a.m. in the presence of cardinals, bishops, and priests living in Rome.

During the Mass, Pope Francis, as the bishop of Rome, will bless the oil of the sick, the oil of catechumens, and the chrism oil to be used in the diocese during the coming year.

The Vatican has yet to release the details for where Pope Francis will celebrate Holy Thursday Mass 2024. 

Last year, the pope offered Mass at the juvenile detention center Casal del Marmo, the same detention center where he offered Holy Thursday Mass in 2013 shortly after his election.

Good Friday

Continuing the liturgies of the Triduum, Pope Francis is also scheduled to preside over a celebration for the Passion of the Lord on Good Friday at 5 p.m. in St. Peter’s Basilica.

During this liturgy, which is not a Mass, Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa, the papal preacher, typically preaches instead of the pope.

In the evening, Pope Francis will lead the Stations of the Cross devotion at 9:15 p.m. in Rome’s Colosseum illuminated by candlelight.

Holy Saturday

On Holy Saturday, Pope Francis is set to preside over the Easter Vigil at 7:30 p.m. in St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Easter Vigil, which takes place on Holy Saturday night, “is the greatest and most noble of all solemnities,” according to the Roman Missal.

The liturgy begins in darkness with the blessing of the new fire and the preparation of the paschal candle. At the Vatican, cardinals, bishops, and priests process through the dark basilica carrying lit candles to signify the light of Christ coming to dispel the darkness.

Pope Francis also typically baptizes new Catholics at this Mass.

Easter Sunday

The morning of Easter Sunday, Pope Francis will preside over Mass in St. Peter’s Square at 10 a.m. on a flower-decked parvise.

After Mass, he will give the annual Easter “urbi et orbi” blessing at noon from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.

“Urbi et orbi” means “to the city [of Rome] and to the world” and is a special apostolic blessing given by the pope every year on Easter Sunday, Christmas, and other special occasions.

In 2023, local authorities estimated that there were close to 100,000 people present in St. Peter’s Square for the blessing.