Due to the cool weather in Rome, Pope Francis will not attend the Stations of the Cross traditionally led by the pope on Good Friday at the Colosseum, the Vatican press office announced on April 7, 2023. The Holy Father will instead follow the devotion from his residence at Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican. According to I.Media’s information, this is a “simple measure of prudence.”
Before the Stations of the Cross, scheduled for 9:15 p.m. at the Colosseum, Pope Francis is due to lead the celebration of the Passion of Christ in St. Peter’s Basilica at 5 p.m. According to a Vatican source, the Pope is still expected to be present.
The 86-year-old Pontiff was hospitalized for three days last week because of bronchitis. In the last couple of days, there have been rumors in the Pope’s entourage that his presence at the Colosseum could be canceled to preserve his good health.
The Pope ultimately decided not to attend as a precautionary measure but the Holy See’s statement assures that he will be “joining in prayer.”
The temperature tonight in Rome is not forecast to exceed 50°F (10°C). The Colosseum is also often subject to gusts of wind. Last year, Pope Francis went to the celebration despite his knee pain. The Stations of the Cross lasted almost 1.5 hours.
In 2005, John Paul II was also unable to join in this annual celebration at the Colosseum due to his health, following it instead from his private chapel in the Vatican.