By Junno Arocho Esteves
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican published Pope Francis’ calendar for Holy Week and Easter, which includes the Way of the Cross at Rome’s Colosseum for the first time in two years.
The annual commemoration of Christ’s passion at the Colosseum was canceled in 2020 due to restrictions on outdoor gatherings to prevent the spread of COVID-19. And in 2021, there was a pared-down Way of the Cross service in St. Peter’s Square.
The Vatican said that Masses on Palm Sunday, Easter Sunday, as well as a canonization Mass May 15 will be celebrated outdoors for the first time since the pandemic began.
As is customary when first publishing the pope’s calendar for Holy Week, the Vatican did not provide the time or place for his celebration of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, April 14.
Before the pandemic, Pope Francis had made it a tradition to celebrate the Mass and foot-washing ritual at a prison or detention center, refugee center or rehabilitation facility.
Last year, the pope celebrated a private Mass on Holy Thursday with Cardinal Angelo Becciu, the former prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, who was forced to resign amid an investigation into suspected financial malfeasance.
The evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper in St. Peter’s Basilica that year was instead celebrated by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, dean of the College of Cardinals.
Here is the schedule of papal liturgical ceremonies and events for April and May released by the Vatican March 21:
— April 2-3, Apostolic visit to Malta.
— April 10, Palm Sunday, Mass in St. Peter’s Square.
— April 14, Holy Thursday, morning chrism Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.
— April 15, Good Friday, afternoon liturgy of the Lord’s passion in St. Peter’s Basilica.
— April 15, Way of the Cross at night in the Colosseum.
— April 16, Easter vigil Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.
— April 17, Easter morning Mass in St. Peter’s Square, followed at noon by the pope’s blessing “urbi et orbi” (the city and the world).
— April 24, Divine Mercy Sunday, Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.
— May 15, Canonization Mass in St. Peter’s Square.