Pope Francis Skips Palm Sunday Homily At Last Minute

The 87-year-old pope did not deliver the sermon during Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square due to his recent illness, including bronchitis and influenza.

Halfway through the ceremony, the 87-year-old pontiff was supposed to deliver a sermon. However, as an aide brought him his spectacles to start reading, the pope chose not to, leaving the congregation in anticipation. A statement from the Vatican later stated that “a moment of silence and prayer” had taken the place of the sermon.

Francis uttered prayers during the event and concluded with a lengthy call for peace. Among the individuals he prayed for were the relatives of the victims of the “inhuman” assault on a music theater in Moscow’s suburbs, as well as “martyred Ukraine” and the Gaza Strip.

According to Vatican officials, the Mass was conducted under a beautiful, breezy spring sky in front of an estimated sixty thousand worshippers. Francis took a few moments to greet people from the popemobile before completing multiple circuits of the square to conclude the ceremony.

Francis has a packed schedule, starting on Palm Sunday and ending on Easter Sunday, when Christians celebrate Christ’s resurrection. On Thursday, he will visit a Rome women’s jail for the customary washing of the feet ceremony. On Friday, he will reenact Christ’s crucifixion at the Colosseum during the torchlit Way of the Cross procession.

Easter Sunday begins with Mass in St. Peter’s Square and Francis’s benediction at noon from the loggia above. After that, the basilica has a somber, nocturnal liturgy during the Easter Vigil the next day. Because Pope Francis has been dealing with what he and the Vatican have characterized as a cold, flu, or bronchitis on and off during the winter, the Holy Week schedule is notoriously hectic for popes.

Not from a window in the Apostolic Palace looking out over the Piazza, but from the altar, Francis gave his weekly Sunday Angelus address and blessing following the Mass.