VATICAN CITY (CNA) -- Pope Francis will follow a slightly modified schedule this year for the liturgies of Holy Week and Easter, which will all take place inside St. Peter’s Basilica and without the presence of the public, the Vatican announced Friday.
The Vatican published the pope’s revised schedule March 27, after the coronavirus pandemic forced a change to the papal Masses and services, usually attended by thousands of people.
The Masses of Holy Week and the Easter Triduum, April 5-12, will now take place at the Altar of the Chair inside St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican announced, confirming that they will be celebrated “without the participation of the public.”
Besides the change in location, Pope Francis will also not celebrate the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday, but only the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, which in recent years he had offered at different prisons in and around Rome.
According to instructions issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments March 25, dioceses may transfer the Chrism Mass to a later date in the year.
The pope’s schedule still includes Mass for Palm Sunday, which is April 5 this year, and the celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday.
Instead of praying the Stations of the Cross at the Coliseum, Francis will lead them from the parvis, the area in front of the basilica.
The Easter Vigil at night and Easter Sunday Mass will take place as planned, both celebrated within the basilica.
Following Easter Sunday Mass, Pope Francis will give the traditional “Urbi et Orbi” blessing.
The Prefecture of the Papal Household, the office tasked with distributing the free tickets for attending papal events, put out an online notice March 14 that there would be no public at the Easter liturgies in 2020, due to the global coronavirus emergency.