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Tuesday April 16, 2024

Pope Francis skips Palm Sunday homily but continues service

It is very unusual for a pope to totally skip a homily at a major event such as Palm Sunday

By REUTERS
March 25, 2024
Pope Francis presides over the Palm Sunday mass at St Peter’s square in the Vatican. — AFP/File
Pope Francis presides over the Palm Sunday mass at St Peter’s square in the Vatican. — AFP/File

LONDON: Pope Francis at the last minute skipped reading his homily during a Palm Sunday Mass for tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square but continued presiding at the service, read his noon prayer and was driven around the crowd in a popemobile.

In recent weeks the 87-year-old pope has been suffering on and off from bronchitis and influenza and has delegated an aide to read his addresses for him, but on Sunday his prepared text was not read at all.

It is very unusual for a pope to totally skip a homily at a major event such as Palm Sunday, which marks the start of Holy Week, a busy period leading to Easter.

The Vatican gave no immediate explanation for why the pope skipped the homily. Vatican Television coverage showed only the crowd for a few minutes, instead of a close-up of the pope.

An announcer on Vatican Radio then said the pope had decided to not read the homily. The pope, dressed in red vestments, continued presiding, reading parts of the Mass.

Cardinals, priests and bishops took part in the service that commemorates what the Bible says was Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem days before he was betrayed, put on trial and executed by crucifixion.