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No homily at Pope’s Palm Sunday Mass (photos)

Pope Francis presides the Palm Sunday mass at St Peter's square in the Vatican on March 24, 2024

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

I.Media - published on 03/24/24

Holy Week begins at the Vatican with a procession of 400 people, including 55 cardinals and bishops.

Inaugurating Holy Week in St. Peter’s Square with the Palm Sunday Mass, one of the most important celebrations of the year for Catholics, Pope Francis chose not to deliver his homily on March 24, 2024.

Instead, he left a long period of silence following the chanting of the Passion according to St. Mark.

As is the case every year on Palm Sunday, St. Peter’s Square was the setting for one of the most beautiful liturgies of the year. To commemorate Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, a few days before the people turned against Him, the tens of thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter’s waved olive branches, while a procession of 400 people stretched around the obelisk in the center of the main square. Among them, 55 cardinals and bishops brandished the famous “parmureli” — large palms bleached and braided.

Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office, gave no information about the Pope’s decision to omit the homily. A Vatican press statement released afterward simply noted that a “moment of silence and prayer” took place after the Gospel reading.

As it was not delivered by the Pope, the homily prepared for the Palm Sunday Mass and distributed to the press in advance “does not exist,” according to the Holy See, which declined to comment further.

At the end of Mass, the Holy Father did make various appeals following the Angelus prayer.

Left short of breath for the past month due to a respiratory infection, the Pope has regularly delegated the reading of his speeches and catecheses to third parties. Yesterday, however, at a meeting with several hundred employees of the Italian public broadcasting group, the Pontiff read out his speech in full and gave his guests a lengthy greeting.

During the Palm Sunday celebration, Pope Francis presided at Mass, but delegated the sequence of the Eucharistic liturgy to a cardinal – as he has done regularly since beginning to use a wheelchair.

After Mass, the Holy Father assured the victims of the “cowardly attack in Moscow” of his prayers, and asked for prayer for Ukraine and Gaza. He said:

Dear brothers and sisters, Jesus entered Jerusalem as a humble and peaceful king; let us open our hearts to Him! Only He can free us from wickedness, hatred, and violence, because He is mercy and the forgiveness of sins. […]

And now, let us turn in prayer to the Virgin Mary: may we learn from Her how to stay close to Jesus in the days of Holy Week, so as to arrive at the joy of the Resurrection.

Finally, he took a long ride in the popemobile through the aisles of St. Peter’s Square to greet the many faithful present in Rome for Holy Week.

Holy WeekPope FrancisVatican
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