Pope Francis will not be able to attend the traditional Way of the Cross procession in Rome due to health concerns.
The procession, which takes place every Good Friday at the Colosseum in Rome, will be unseasonably cold, according to weather forecasts.
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Pope Francis presides over the Passion of the Lord mass on Good Friday at St. Peter’s basilica in The Vatican as part of celebrations of the Holy Week. (TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images)
The pope, who was just released from Gemelli Hospital on Saturday after battling a case of bronchitis, will not be able to participate due to concerns the cold weather could negatively impact his recovery.
Instead, Pope Francis will be viewing the event remotely from the Vatican and praying alongside the crowd.
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Pope Francis will not be able to preside over the Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) torchlight procession at the ancient Colosseum (Colosseo) on Good Friday in Rome. Christians around the world are marking the Holy Week, commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, leading up to his resurrection on Easter. (Stefano Costantino/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Good Friday is the day on which Christians remember the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ.
The Way of the Cross is a Catholic worship service in which those gathered meditate on the Passion of the Christ — the final moments of Jesus’s life recorded in the Bible.
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Pope Francis arrives in St. Peter’s Basilica at the end of Chrism Mass. The Chrism Mass is one of the most important liturgies in the Christian calendar. Ancient Christian Apostolic records (c. 200 A.D.) describe “ceremony taking place during the Easter Vigil at which two holy oils were blessed and one was consecrated.”. (Stefano Costantino/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
The form of service can vary slightly by region, but maintains the same 14 images and moments — beginning with Jesus agonizing in the garden of olives and ending with Christ’s body being laid in the tomb.
Earlier in the day, the pontiff presided over a Good Friday celebration inside St. Peter’s Basilica. Fully robed in his vestments, the pope remained in a wheelchair as he continues to recover from his illness.
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Pope Francis (Rear L on platform) presides over the Passion of the Lord mass on Good Friday at St. Peter’s basilica in The Vatican as part of celebrations of the Holy Week. (TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images)
Pope Francis met with patients and their loved ones before departing Gemelli Hospital, stopping to pray with the mother of a five-year-old who had died during the night previous.
He took time to sign a young boy’s arm cast before departing, and also visited with and thanked the staff of the hospital for the health care he received.