Vatican releases pope's Holy Week, Easter schedule

Vatican releases pope’s Holy Week, Easter schedule

Vatican releases pope’s Holy Week, Easter schedule

Pope Francis blesses the faithful with incense as he celebrates the Easter Vigil in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican April 15, 2017. (Credit: Paul Haring/CNS.)

The Vatican released Pope Francis's liturgical schedule for March and April, including Holy Week and Easter.

ROME — The Vatican released Pope Francis’s liturgical schedule for March and April, including Holy Week and Easter.

The schedule includes a special Mass April 8 with priests who served as “missionaries of mercy” during the Holy Year of Mercy 2015-2016. More than 1,000 priests received a special mandate from Francis to preach and teach about God’s mercy and be a living sign of God’s welcome to all those in search of his forgiveness during the holy year. The pope has invited the priests back to Rome April 8-11 for moments of sharing and formation.

As usual, the Vatican schedule does not say where the pope will celebrate the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper; normally the location is announced closer to the celebration. Since the start of his pontificate, Francis has celebrated the Holy Thursday Mass and foot-washing ritual with people who are often marginalized, such as prisoners, refugees, the elderly and disabled.

The calendar released by the Vatican Feb. 15 included:

— March 9: Penitential liturgy in St. Peter’s Basilica.

— March 17: Pastoral visit to San Giovanni Rotondo, the town 200 miles southeast of Rome where St. Padre Pio lived and ministered.

— March 25: Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square.

— March 29: Holy Thursday, morning chrism Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.

— March 30: Good Friday afternoon liturgy of the Lord’s Passion in St. Peter’s Basilica. Nighttime Way of the Cross at Rome’s Colosseum.

— March 31: Easter vigil at 8:30 p.m. in St. Peter’s Basilica.

— April 1: Easter morning Mass in St. Peter’s Square, followed by the papal blessing “urbi et orbi” (to the city and the world).

— April 8: Divine Mercy Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square concelebrated with “missionaries of mercy.”

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