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Pope Francis will not celebrate Mass for the Solemnity of Corpus Domini on Sunday, June 19, 2022, in Italy because of his knee problems, the Vatican announced June 13, just three days after the cancellation of the trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, officially for the same reasons.
Traditionally, the feast of Corpus Domini is celebrated by the Bishop of Rome in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome.
In 2018 and 2019, the 85-year-old Pontiff departed from this custom by choosing to visit two other Roman parishes: in 2018 at Santa Monica Parish in Ostia, a seaside town on the outskirts of Rome, and in 2019 at Santa Maria Consolatrice, in the Casal Bertone neighborhood.
The Covid-19 pandemic then forced the Pope to preside over the ceremonies from St. Peter’s Basilica in 2020 and 2021.
Mass on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi is usually followed by a procession through the streets of Rome, during which the Blessed Sacrament is exposed.
Last year, when the procession through the streets could not take place, the Pope recalled its significance in his homily: “We are called to go out and bring Jesus. To go out with enthusiasm to bring Christ to those we meet in our daily lives.”
Because of his health, the Argentine Pontiff will not be able to preside over these celebrations. On June 10, the Holy See Press Office announced that the Pope had to postpone his trip to the DRC and South Sudan, scheduled for July 2-7. The statement said the 85-year-old pontiff had agreed to the request of his doctors and did not want to jeopardize the results of the knee therapies still underway.
On Sunday, on the sidelines of the Angelus, Pope Francis asked for “forgiveness” from the Congolese and South Sudanese people for the postponement.